Bram Fischer

by Bekah, Erik, and Wayne from North Eugene High School

Bram Fischer was a traitor of the Apartheid movement. He was born in 1908. He was a Rhodes scholar from Oxford University and could have played college Rugby for Free State. Rejecting the South African view on race, Fischer joined a communist party of South Africa. He was known as a brilliant man and possibly could have become the prime minister of South Africa if he was to follow the same route as the political view of an orthodox. His grandfather had fought in the Boer War against British imperialism, and his father had defended the Afrikaner rebellion of 1914 and Bram looked at himself as a traditional rebel.

Bram Fischer and Molly Fischer got married in 1937 they had 3 children. In 1960 Molly Fischer was one of more than 1,000 people detained without trial in the state emergency after the Sharpeville massacre. Molly Fischer had a fatal accident in 1963, just after her husband and the Rivonia trial made international headlines. Bram wrote a letter to a court in South Africa that went like this: "What is needed is for White South Africans to shake themselves out of their complacency, a complacency intensified by the present economic boom built upon racial discrimination. Unless this whole intolerable system is changed radically and rapidly, disaster must follow. Appalling bloodshed and civil war will become inevitable because, as long as there is oppression of a majority, such oppression will be fought with increasing hatred."

He died in May of 1975 a few weeks after he moved to Bloemfontein to live with his brother because of cancer. The truth of his death came out; he died because he was denied medical treatment for a fractured neck femur, caused by a fall related to cancer that was eating away his brain. After months of agonizing pain and being nursed by a prison inmate he was unable to speak or even go to the bathroom. He died a few months later on May 8th. The prison department demanded that his ashes were returned to them after his funeral.

Bram Fischer was a member of the South African communist party. As an opponent of apartheid he gave up a life of privilege as an Afrikaner lawyer and an almost guaranteed position in apartheid government to represent anti apartheid leaders. He believed that all South Africans black and white should have equal rights and opportunities. After he lost his wife be began to focus even more on his work with the communist party against apartheid. He quickly became high up in the party. He worked tirelessly for the cause he believed in. Nelson Mandela once said:
“He was so much braver than the rest of us, he paid so much more, his life seems to have touched the lives of so many people-even after his death”.

He was involved with both violent and non-violent anti apartheid groups. Though he believed non-violence was the best course of action. He wanted a free South Africa for all people. Though he never saw apartheid lifted his efforts made it possible and his belief in what’s right, fair, just and good lives on and inspires.

"Fischer played an important role on the defense team in the Treason Trial and led Nelson Mandela's legal defense team at the Rivonia Trial." (wikipedia) The sentence to life in prison was given to Mandela, instead of the death penalty that the state prosecutor asked for. At this time, Fischer being a Communist leader at this time while planning to overthrow the apartheid government was unknown even to his friends. He was arrested in September 1964 and charged with the crime of being a member of an illegal communist party. He was released on bail to handle a case in London, he had promised to return to face trial. He returned to South Africa and went to his trial. His next trial, he did not arrive at Court but instead sent a letter to his counsel that was read out in court. "My decision was made only because I believe that it is the duty of every true opponent of this Government to remain in this country and to oppose its monstrous policy of apartheid with every means in his power. That is what I shall do for as long as I can..."

Page created on 3/8/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 3/8/2010 12:00:00 AM

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Unknown. "Bram Fischer." [Online] Available

Unknown. "Bram Fischer." [Online] Available