alt.obituaries Memorial Deadpool
William J. Fishman
William (Bill) Fishman's writings,
like East End Jewish Radicals, 1875–1914, and his
broadcasts, and his walking tours, did something no one thought possible. He
made the East End of London a subject for serious scholarship. The Jews came by
the thousands, escaping persecution from points east, and settled into a
slightly better style of life that featured overcrowding and squalor, racism
and terrible working conditions. And yet, they persevered and ultimately
Fishman was born in the East End, to
an immigrant tailoring family, originally from Ukraine. He left grammar school
at 14 to work and joined the Labor League of Youth. He was in attendance at the
Battle of Cable Street in 1936, which, for you young ones, was when the
multitudes prevented uniformed
marchers from Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists from threatening
Jewish neighborhoods. You remember the Mosleys. Some good, some bad. This was
one of the bad ones.
Anyway, the East End was Fishman's beat, and
he took it seriously. From his obituary by David Rosenberg in The
Guardian (the only one so far—phew): "The complete experience,
though, was to accompany Fishman on a tour, as I did in 1984. Anarchists Rudolf
Rocker and Peter Kropotkin, socialists Annie Besant and Eleanor Marx, and
Yiddish poets Morris Winchevsky and Avrom Stencl were among a stunning cast
brought back to life in two exhilarating hours as we reached the sites of
momentous events. Fishman's spellbinding and booming narration placed us in
their shoes. It was an incredibly powerful history lesson. But Fishman did not
leave history safely in the past. He constantly drew present-day parallels with
the struggles of East London's newer immigrant communities." One wonders
what he would have made of recent events in Paris.
My hit, for 7 points.
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