Ruth Fischer

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Ruth Fischer (11 December 1895 – 13 March 1961) was a German Communist, a co-founder of the Austrian Communist Party in 1918. She later became a staunch anti-Communist activist and, according to secret information declassified in 2010, was a key agent of the American intelligence service known as "The Pond".

Life and work[edit]

Fischer was born Elfriede Eisler in Leipzig in 1895, the daughter of Marie (née Fischer) and Rudolf Eisler, a professor of philosophy at Leipzig. Her father was Jewish and her mother was Lutheran.[1][2][3]

She was the elder sister to noted film and concert composer Hanns Eisler and fellow communist activist Gerhart Eisler. She studied philosophy, economics and politics at the University of Vienna where her father was working.[4] She moved to Berlin in 1919 and she was a leader of the Communist Party of Germany from 1924 to 1925.

Heinrich Brandler was the leader of the Communist Party of Germany. In the early months of 1923, Ruth Fischer and Arkadi Maslow urged Brandler to organize an uprising on the model provided by the Bolsheviks in 1917. [5] Together they developed the "theory of the offensive". Fischer denounced the leadership for "making concessions to social democracy", for "opportunism" and for "ideological liquidationism and theoretical revisionism". Chris Harman, the author of The Lost Revolution (1982) has pointed out: "Articulate and energetic, they were able to gather around them many of the new workers who had joined the party." [6]

Ruth Fischer argued that the Communist Party of Germany leaders were saying: "In no circumstances must we proclaim the general strike. The bourgeoisie will discover our plans and destroy us before we have moved. On the contrary, we must calm the masses, hold back our people in the factories and the unemployed committees until the government thinks the moment of danger has passed." [7] Joseph Stalin arranged for her to be expelled from the party in 1926.

Espousing left-wing positions, she was a member of the Reichsrat from 1924 to 1928. She fled to Paris in 1933 and then to the United States in 1941. In the late 1940s, she testified before HUAC against her brother, Hanns, resulting in his blacklisting and deportation.

She also testified that another brother, Gerhart, was a major Communist agent. The Communist press denounced her as a "German Trotskyite". She propounded critical views of Stalinism and called for a rebirth of Communism after Stalin's death. Before this period of anti-Stalinism, she had reportedly been instrumental in the rise to power of the Triumvirs (Stalin, Grigory Zinoviev, and Lev Kamenev), viciously denouncing Trotsky at the fifth congress of the Communist International.[citation needed]

Isaac Deutscher, a biographer of Trotsky and Stalin, described her as a "young, trumpet-tongued woman, without any revolutionary experience or merit, yet idolized by the Communists of Berlin."[8] In 1955, she returned to Paris and published her books Stalin and German Communism and Die Umformung der Sowjetgesellschaft. From eight years after the second World War, Fischer, code-named "Alice Miller", was a key agent for "The Pond".[9] She died in Paris in 1961, aged 65, from undisclosed causes.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Profile of Ruth Fischer
  2. ^ Google Books references to Ruth Fischer
  3. ^ New York Times abstract (incomplete)
  4. ^ a b "Fischer, Ruth". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Chris Harman, The Lost Revolution (1982) page 217
  7. ^ Pierre Broue, The German Revolution, 1917-1923 (1971) page 735
  8. ^ Deutscher, Isaac, "The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky 1921-1929", Oxford University Press, 1980, ISBN 0-19-281065-0
  9. ^ Herschaft, Randy, and Cristian Salazar, "Before the CIA, there was the Pond" Associated Press (29 July 2010). Retrieved 11 November 2011.

Further reading[edit]