William J. Fishman

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For the American film director, see Bill Fishman.

William J. Fishman (1 April 1921 – 22 December 2014) was a British academic. He was the author of several books on topics ranging from revolutionary advocacy in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the history of the East End of London.

Fishman was born in London in 1921.[1] The son of an immigrant tailor, he spent his formative years in the East End of London.[2] At 15, he was an eyewitness to the Battle of Cable Street, and recalled,


He was educated at the Central Foundation Grammar School for Boys, Wandsworth Teachers Training College and the London School of Economics. He served in the British army in the Second World War, completing his service in the Far East.[2] After the war he worked as a teacher and was appointed principal of Tower Hamlets College of Further Education. In 1965 he was elected to a studentship at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1967 he was Visiting Professor of History at Columbia University, New York.

He was visiting professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison from 1969–70 and was awarded an Acton Society Fellowship. In 1972 he was appointed Barnet Shine Senior Research Fellow in Labour Studies with special reference to Jews at Queen Mary, University of London. He was made an honorary fellow of Queen Mary in 1999. He was Visiting Professor to the Centre for the Study of Migration at Queen Mary.[citation needed] On 22 December 2014, he died at the age of 93.[4]


  • The Insurrectionists (1970); Publ: Methuen
  • East End Jewish Radicals 1875-1914 (1974); Publ: Duckworth
  • East End 1888: Life in a London Borough Among the Labouring Poor (1988); Publ: Duckworth
  • Streets of East London (1992) (with photographs by Nicholas Breach);
  • Into The Abyss: The Life and Work of G. R. Sims (2008); Publ: Elliott & Thompson


  1. ^ Rubinstein, William D. (2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 283. ISBN 0230304664. 
  2. ^ a b William J.Fishman, East End Jewish Radicals, London: Duckworth, 1975.
  3. ^ "Day the East End said 'No pasaran' to Blackshirts" by Audrey Gillan, The Guardian, 30 September 2006. Retrieved 23 October 2006
  4. ^ Walker, David. "Bill Fishman: A life dedicated to compassion and scholarship". Jewish East End Celebration Society. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 

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