Ruth Fischer

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Ruth Fischer
Born Elfriede Eisler
11 December 1895
Died 13 March 1961 (1961-03-14) (aged 65)
Alma mater University of Vienna
Occupation politician, member of Reichsrat (1924–1928)
Years active 1919–1961
Known for charter member of the Austrian Communist Party, anti-communism
Parent(s) Rudolph Eisler (father), Marie Edith Fischer (mother)
Relatives Gerhart Eisler and Hanns Eisler (brothers)

Ruth Fischer (11 December 1895 – 13 March 1961) was a German Communist and 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".


Fischer was born Elfriede Eisler in Leipzig in 1895, the daughter of Marie Edith Fischer and Rudolf Eisler, a professor of philosophy at Leipzig but of Austrian nationality.[1] Her father was Jewish and her mother was Lutheran.[2][3][4]

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 University of Vienna, where her father was working.[5]

At an undisclosed time, she adopted her mother's maiden name as part of her writer's name, "Ruth Fischer."[1]


Fischer moved to Berlin in 1919 and 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. [6] 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." [7]

In 1923, Fischer appealed to a group of Nazi students, proclaiming that "Those who call for a struggle against Jewish capital are already, gentlemen, class strugglers, even if they don’t know it. You are against Jewish capital and want to fight the speculators. Very good. Throw down the Jewish capitalists, hang them from the lamp-post, stamp on them."[8]

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." [9] 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.


In 1941, Fischer left France for the United States.[1]

In 1947, she testified before HUAC against her brothers Gerhart and Hanns. Her testimony against Hanns resulted in his blacklisting and deportation. She testified that Gerhart was an important Comintern agent.[1]

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 supported the rise to power of the Triumvirs (Stalin, Grigory Zinoviev, and Lev Kamenev), 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."[10]

In 1955, Fischer returned to Paris and published her books Stalin and German Communism and Die Umformung der Sowjetgesellschaft.

The Pond[edit]

From eight years after the second World War, Fischer, code-named "Alice Miller", was a key agent for "The Pond".[11]

Death and afterwards[edit]

Fischer died in Paris in 1961, aged 65, from undisclosed causes.[5]

She had one child, Ger(h)ard Friedländer, a mathematician, who died in the United Kingdom in 2001.[12]

The International Institute of Social History has an archive of her papers.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Bentley, Eric (1971). Thirty Years of Treason. New York: Viking Press. pp. 59–73. 
  2. ^ Profile of Ruth Fischer
  3. ^ Google Books references to Ruth Fischer
  4. ^ New York Times abstract (incomplete)
  5. ^ a b "Fischer, Ruth". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Chris Harman, The Lost Revolution (1982) page 217
  8. ^ Bourrinet, Philippe. The Dutch and German Communist Left (1900–68) (PDF). p. 186. [meeting of 25th July 1923, reported in Die Aktion No. 14, 1923). The KAPD gave a florilège of this kind of nationalist prosa in its pamphlet: Die KPD im eigenem Spiegel. Aus der Geschichte der KPD und der 3. Internationale, (Berlin-Brandenburg, 1926), pp. 59–79. 
  9. ^ Pierre Broue, The German Revolution, 1917–1923 (1971) page 735
  10. ^ Deutscher, Isaac, "The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky 1921–1929", Oxford University Press, 1980, ISBN 0-19-281065-0
  11. ^ Herschaft, Randy, and Cristian Salazar, "Before the CIA, there was the Pond" Associated Press (29 July 2010). Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Ruth Fischer Papers". International Institute of Social History. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 

Further reading[edit]