alt.obituaries Memorial Deadpool
est. 2005
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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 thrived.

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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