Adolph Fischer was born in Bremen, Germany in 1858. Fischer emigrated to the United States in 1873 and settled in Chicago. He became involved in trade union activities and worked as a typesetter for the anarchist journal, Arbeiter Zeitung.
On 1st May, 1886 a strike was began throughout the United States in support a eight-hour day. Over the next few days over 340,000 men and women withdrew their labor. Over a quarter of these strikers were from Chicago and the employers were so shocked by this show of unity that 45,000 workers in the city were immediately granted a shorter workday.
The campaign for the eight-hour day was organised by the International Working Peoples Association (IWPA). On 3rd May, the IWPA in Chicago held a rally outside the McCormick Harvester Works, where 1,400 workers were on strike. They were joined by 6,000 lumber-shovers, who had also withdrawn their labour. While August Spies, one of the leaders of the IWPA was making a speech, the police arrived and opened-fire on the crowd, killing four of the workers.
The following day August Spies, who was editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, published a leaflet in English and German entitled: Revenge! Workingmen to Arms!. It included the passage: "They killed the poor wretches because they, like you, had the courage to disobey the supreme will of your bosses. They killed them to show you 'Free American Citizens' that you must be satisfied with whatever your bosses condescend to allow you, or you will get killed. If you are men, if you are the sons of your grand sires, who have shed their blood to free you, then you will rise in your might, Hercules, and destroy the hideous monster that seeks to destroy you. To arms we call you, to arms." Spies also published a second leaflet calling for a mass protest at Haymarket Square that evening.
On 4th May, over 3,000 people turned up at the Haymarket meeting. Speeches were made by August Spies, Albert Parsons and Samuel Fielden. At 10 a.m. Captain John Bonfield and 180 policemen arrived on the scene. Bonfield was telling the crowd to "disperse immediately and peaceably" when someone threw a bomb into the police ranks from one of the alleys that led into the square. It exploded killing eight men and wounding sixty-seven others. The police then immediately attacked the crowd. A number of people were killed (the exact number was never disclosed) and over 200 were badly injured.
Several people identified Rudolph Schnaubelt as the man who threw the bomb. He was arrested but was later released without charge. It was later claimed that Schnaubelt was an agent provocateur in the pay of the authorities. After the release of Schnaubelt, the police arrested Samuel Fielden, an Englishman, and six German immigrants, Fischer, August Spies, George Engel, Louis Lingg, Oscar Neebe, and Michael Schwab. The police also sought Albert Parsons, the leader of the International Working Men's Association (the First International), in Chicago, but he went into hiding and was able to avoid capture. However, on the morning of the trial, Parsons arrived in court to standby his comrades.
There were plenty of witnesses who were able to prove that none of the eight men threw the bomb. The authorities therefore decided to charge them with conspiracy to commit murder. The prosecution case was that these men had made speeches and written articles that had encouraged the unnamed man at the Haymarket to throw the bomb at the police.
The jury was chosen by a special bailiff instead of being selected at random. One of those picked was a relative of one of the police victims. Julius Grinnell, the State's Attorney, told the jury: "Convict these men make examples of them, hang them, and you save our institutions."
At the trial it emerged that Andrew Johnson, a detective from the Pinkerton Agency, had infiltrated the group and had been collecting evidence about the men. Johnson claimed that at anarchist meetings these men had talked about using violence. Reporters who had also attended International Working Men's Association (the First International), meetings also testified that the defendants had talked about using force to "overthrow the system".
During the trial the judge allowed the jury to read speeches and articles by the defendants where they had argued in favour of using violence to obtain political change. The judge then told the jury that if they believed, from the evidence, that these speeches and articles contributed toward the throwing of the bomb, they were justified in finding the defendants guilty.
All the men were found guilty: Fischer, Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engel and Louis Lingg were given the death penalty. Whereas Oscar Neebe, Samuel Fielden and Michael Schwab were sentenced to life imprisonment. On 10th November, 1887, Lingg committed suicide by exploding a dynamite cap in his mouth. The following day Parsons, Spies, Fisher and Engel mounted the gallows. As the noose was placed around his neck, Spies shouted out: "There will be a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today."
I was tried here in this room for murder and I was convicted of Anarchy. I protest against being sentenced to death, because I have not been found guilty of murder. I have been tried for murder, but I have been convicted because I am an Anarchist. If the ruling classes think that by hanging us, hanging a few Anarchists, they can crush out Anarchy, they will be badly mistaken, because the Anarchist loves his principles more than his life. An Anarchist is always ready to die for his principles.
Seldom, if ever, have four men died more gamely and defiantly than the four who were strangled today. Spies had scarcely taken his place on the scaffold when his place when he was followed by Fischer. He, too, was clad in a long white shroud that was gathered in at the ankles. His tall figure towered several inches over that of Spies, and as he stationed himself behind his particular noose his face was very pale, but a faint smile rested upon his lips. He only spoke eight words: "This is the happiest moment of my life."
On this date in 1887, the Chicago political machine hanged four at Cook County Jail to defend civilization from the eight-hour day.
The Haymarket martyrs, as they would be remembered ere the hysterical atmosphere of their sentencing had passed, were four from a group of eight anarchist agitators rounded up when a never-identified person threw a bomb at Chicago police breaking up a peaceful rally. The bomb killed one cop the indiscriminate police shooting that followed killed several more in friendly fire, plus an uncertain number of civilians.
The incident occurred just days after nationwide strikes began on May 1, 1886, in support of the eight-hour day. Nowhere were the tensions greater than Chicago, an epicenter of militant organizing. When tens of thousands poured into the streets on May 1, the Chicago Mail darkly said of high-profile radicals Albert Parsons and August Spies,
Mark them for today. Hold them responsible for any trouble that occurs. Make an example of them if trouble does occur.
Most of the eight hadn’t even been present at the time the bomb was thrown, but the state put anarchism itself on trial under the capacious umbrella of “conspiracy,” in a proceeding so absurdly rigged that a relative of a slain cop was on the jury. Quoth the prosecutor,
Law is upon trial. Anarchy is on trial. These men have been selected, picked out by the grand jury and indicted because they were leaders. They are no more guilty than the thousand who follow them. Gentlemen of the jury convict these men, make examples of them, hang them and save our institutions, our society.
That was the argument for hanging them. And right-thinking burghers applauded it.
Seven of the eight were condemned to die two had their sentences commuted, but the other five refused to ask for clemency on the grounds that, innocent, they would “demand either liberty or death.” One of those five, Louis Lingg, painfully cheated the hangman by setting off a blasting cap in his mouth the night before his execution. (Lingg might have made, though seemingly not thrown, the mysterious bomb.)
The others — Parsons and Spies, along with Adolph Fischer and George Engel — hanged together, with their epitaphs upon their lips — literally so for Parsons, whose parting remark is at the base of the Haymarket Martyrs Monument*
“The time will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you are throttling today.”
“Throttle” was right, as the Chicago Tribune reported the next day, taking up when the trap was sprung:
Then begins a scene of horror that freezes the blood. The loosely-adjusted nooses remain behind the left ear and do not slip to the back of the neck. Not a single neck is broken, and the horrors of a death by strangulation begin.
Six years later, Illinois Gov. John Altgeld granted the free pardon the hanged men had demanded to the three surviving Haymarket anarchists. There is no institutional mechanism to determine erroneous executions in American jurisprudence — a fact that occasionally leads to smugly circular avowals that nobody recently executed has ever been “proven” innocent — and death penalty researchers Michael Radelet and Hugo Bedau believed as of this 1998 paper (pdf) that Altgeld’s executive statement flatly asserting the injustice of the Haymarket convictions was the most recent official acknowledgment of a wrongful execution in U.S. history. If true, its uniqueness would be understandable: the gesture cost Altgeld his political career.
Long gone as all these principals are, the legacy of Haymarket remains very much with us, and not just as a magnet for digital archives like this, this and this (don’t miss the brass gallows pin).
May 1, now rich with the symbolism of the Haymarket Passion, was soon selected by the international labor movement as the date to resume the eight-hour-day push — thus becoming the global workers’ holiday it remains to this day.
* Opposing interpretations of the Haymarket affair — which can be the “Haymarket riot” or the “Haymarket massacre,” depending on where you line up — were marked by opposing memorials. The police memorial was itself eventually bombed by the Weather Underground, and subsequently squirreled away from easy public view. Paradoxically, the Haymarket Martyrs Monument has been federally dignified as a National Historic Landmark.
Adolph Fischer - History
Obit: Fischer, Adolph #2 (1864 - 1942)
Surnames: Fischer, Urban, Prange, Schulte, VenRooy, Dietrich
----Source: Spencer Record, Spencer, Wis.) 07/16/1942
Fischer, Adolph (03 OCT 1864 - 30 JUL 1942)
ADOLPH FISCHER DIES AT COLBY LAST THURSDAY
Adolph Fischer, aged 77, who lived in Colby for the past 23 years, died Thursday at his home of gallstones and heart failure. He had been ill about four days. Mr. Fischer was born Oct. 3, 1864, in Germany and married Miss Elizabeth Urban there in October, 1892. They came to American in 1907, and lived in the state of Kansas until 1915, when they moved to Unity. For the past 23 years they have lived in Colby. Surviving besides his wife are five sons, Herman of Chelsea, Fred of Rib Lake, and Carl, Walter and William of Colby four daughters, Mrs. Anna Prange of Unity, Mrs. Ernest Schulte, Mrs. Lambert VenRooy of Milwaukee, and Mrs. Fred Dietrich of Colby. Five children preceded him in death.
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Fischer, Adolph, 1858-1887: autobiography
Autobiography of Haymarket martyr and anarchist Adolph Fischer.
On the banks of the Weser, in Germany, almost seven miles above the place where its waters lose themselves in the North Sea, lies the old city, Bremen. In the middle ages Bremen was one of the free cities which formed the Hanseatic Union a combination famous because of its constant war against the free-booters and for its wealth and power. These cities monopolized the trade of the world in those days. Bremen is still one of the most important commercial centers of the European continent, and has today a population of about 140,000. This is the place of my birth. It would be of very little interest to the readers of this journal were 1 to extensively describe the history of my childhood. It is the same as that of the average child. Therefore I may only state that I attended school eight years and a half and that I sailed for the United States when a lad of fifteen. Soon after my arrival on these shores, I entered apprenticeship as compositor in the printing office of my brother, William B. Fischer, at Little Rock, Ark., at which place he published a weekly German journal. Since the termination of my apprenticeship I have been working at my trade in different cities of this country. In the month of June, 1883, destiny landed me in Chicago, where I have resided with my family hitherto, occupying a situation as compositor in the office of the Arbeiter Zeitung until arrested on the 5th of May for alleged participation in the Haymarket affair. I am a member of the German Typographical Union, which organization I joined in 1879 in St. Louis, Mo. At the latter place in 1881, I also entered into matrimonial engagement, the result being three children—one girl and two boys—who are with my wife in this city.
Being familiar with the doctrines of socialism from my earliest youth, I have held it my duty to spread these principles so dear to me whenever and wherever I could. What induced me to become a socialist, you may ask? This I will relate in a few words:
It happened during the last year of my school days that our tutor of historical science one day chanced to refer to socialism, which movement was at that time beginning to flourish in Germany, and which he told us meant "division of property." I am inclined to believe now that it was a general instruction given by the government to the patriotic pedagogues to periodically describe to their elder pupils socialism as a most horrible thing. It is, as is well known, a customary policy on the part of the respective monarchial governments of the old world to prejudice the undeveloped minds of the youth against everything which is disagreeable to the despots through the medium of the school teachers. For instance, I remember quite distinctly that before the outbreak and during the Franco-German war44 we were made to believe by our teachers that every Frenchman was at least a scoundrel, if not a criminal. On the other hand, the kings were praised as the representative of God, and obedience and loyalty to them was described as the highest virtues.
Thus the minds of the children are systematically poisoned, and the fruits of this practice are made use of when the little ones become men and women. (Enough at the mentioned occasion our teachers told us that the socialists were a lot of drunkards, swindlers and idlers, who were opposed to work.) "The time draws nigh," that worthy said, placing his forefinger significantly alongside of his roman nose, "when you young men will have to earn your daily bread in the sweat of your brow. Some of you may acquire wealth, while others will be less fortunate. Now, these socialists—mark you, who are a lazy set of people—intend to forcibly make you divide with them everything you possess at the termination of every year. For instance, if you should call two pairs of boots your own, one of these socialistic scoundrels will kindly relieve you of one pair. How would you like this?" Certainly, we thought we did not like this at all. Neither would I consent to anything of that sort to-day. Most decidedly not. Such an arrangment, I fancied, would be absurd.
Now I knew it to be a fact that my father took part in socialistic meetings very frequently, and I wondered that day why he—whom I thought to be so good—should have intercourse with such a bad class of men, whose object it was to lead a lazy life and to make the sober, industrious working people, at the termination of each year, divide their earnings with them. When I reached home that day I intimated to my father what (according to what my teacher had told us) bad people the socialists must be. Much to my surprise my dear father laughed aloud and embraced me very affectionately. "Dear Adolph," he said, "if socialism is what your teacher explained it to be, why then the very same institutions which prevail now would be socialistic." And my father went on to show me how, in fact, there were so many idlers and indolent people under the now existing form of society, who were residing in palatial houses and living luxuriously at the expense of the sober and industrious working people, and that socialism had the mission to abolish such unjust division. After this day I accompanied my father to socialistic gatherings, and soon became convinced of the truth of what he had said. I began to study. Wandering about the streets I often saw groups of hard-fisted men who were working in quarries and other places of toil, and handling heavy picks and clumsy shovels from early morning until late at night. Standing a little aside I would notice an elegantly dressed individual, smoking a Havana, and seemingly interested in the work of the toilers. The hands of the idler were covered with kid gloves, in the bosom of his snow-white shirt glittered a diamond pin, and from his vest dangled a valuable gold watch chain. You can guess, dear reader, who this gentleman was—the "employer." The busy toilers, notwithstanding the many hours of strained work, could scarcely earn enough to keep themselves and family from want. I saw they inhabited miserable hovels, and the pleasures and comforts of life were unknown to them. Their children were hollow-eyed and resembled fence-posts—covered with human skin more than human beings.
Following, on one occasion, the fine gentleman whom I had seen standing idly by, and who had commanded the workingmen, I saw him enter a wonderfully beautiful house—a palace. Costly pictures decorated the massive walls of its parlors, precious carpets covered the floors and golden chandeliers were suspended from the ceilings. The safes and pantries were bursting with its tempting contents, and the tables covered with choice wines and delicacies. In short, everything good and agreeable could be enjoyed here in abundance. This contrast between the busy toiler and the idle bystander did not fail to impress itself upon my mind, especially as I observed that these conditions existed everywhere and in all branches of industry. I perceived that the diligent, never resting human working bees, who create all wealth and fill the magazines with provisions, fuel and clothing, enjoy only a minor part of their products and lead a comparatively miserable life, whilst the drones, the idlers, keep the ware-houses locked up and revel in luxury and voluptuousness.
Was I wrong, or was the world wrong? I saw men who manufactured shoes and boots and had helped fill the store-houses with these products ever since their boyhood, and yet they lingered to leave their shanties after rainy weather for fear of getting wet feet, and in many cases the toes of their children's feet peeped speakingly out of the top of the shabby shoes. Bricklayers were busy building houses from sunrise until sunset for several decades, yet as I looked about me, I discovered but very few who called a house their own they were bound to pay rent for the very same houses which they had built. The clothing stores I knew to be crammed with goods, but it was not a rare spectacle in my native city to see tailors walk about in the streets with pants patched to such an extent, that they resembled chess-boards. Whilst the journey bankers were half-roasting in the hot bake-house, sixteen out of twenty-four hours a day, their wives in many instances did not know where to get a loaf of bread. My father's neighbor worked in a butcher shop, but his wages were so low that his family could afford the luxury of one pound of meat only once a week-on Sunday. All these circumstances convinced me that "there must be something rotten in the state of Denmark," and it did not even require a profound thinker or a sorcerer to discover that the prevailing social institutions were based upon the extortion of one class by another.
But now, after I had come to this conclusion I wondered whether the workingmen were conscious of their real situation. I found that the overwhelming majority were not. Instead of hating those who enslaved them, they looked upon their masters as their benefactors. Many incidents which I observed proved this to be a fact. For instance, I remember visiting a cousin of mine one Sunday, who worked in a gigantic sugar refinery together with thousands of other men and women, the owner of said factory being a well-known millionaire. My cousin could not help at every occasion to speak in high terms of praise of his "benefactor," as he styled his employer. On this day especially he endeavored to make the generosity of his "benefactor" plausible to me. "Why," my enthusiastic cousin explained, clapping his hands, "besides employing so many people, who would otherwise be compelled to starve, he donates annually an enormous sum of money to charitable purposes, and, furthermore, he was so noble-hearted as to give employment to the widow and children of the two unfortunate working men who lost their lives last month by being crushed by the machinery." But ungrateful as I was I saw nothing noble in this. I had read in novels (secretly, my father having forbidden me such literature) that Schinderhannes (a noted German "outlaw"), and other famous highwaymen, had given part of their booty to the poor, and therefore I saw nothing extraordinary in the "charity" of my cousin's "benefactor." I not only thought so, but I also communicated my thoughts to my esteemed relative, who in return got very angry because of this comparison, and muttered something which sounded like "that lad is getting too smart."
This is only one example. Thus I found the brains of the toilers to be molded everywhere. Oh, these stupid fools! They were slaves without knowing it. They stood still like innocent sheep while their masters sheared them. Aye, more than that, they looked upon them as their noble benefactors, who employed them for the reason of saving them from starvation.
Years have elapsed since the time of my first inquiries into the causes of social inequalities. I have traveled comparatively a good deal, and have come in contact with people of all classes, and was enabled to study and learn. The whole of life is but a school. That which is commonly called a school is merely an introduction into this practical school of life. A good many of the toilers, like myself, have profited by the lessons of the serious school of experience, they are beginning to discover the real causes of the diseases of society. The reigning classes do not like this a bit. The capitalists and profit-mongers are dependent on social diseases for their harvest. Without them they would be what physicians are without physical diseases. This being the case, they try to prevent the toilers, their slaves, to awake from their mental torpor. And what means do the human drones employ to accomplish their schemes, in other words, to keep the wage-slaves in ignorance?
Let us investigate the matter. From their earliest childhood the working men are being prepared for their destiny like the dancing bears brought up for the profession by his master. In the schools and churches they are told that it is the will of God that there should be rich and poor people. God knows and sees everything and nothing exists without His knowledge. The doings of the Almighty being wise and inscrutable, He has a special purpose in bestowing wealth and riches upon some of His children, whilst others perish in want of the indispensible necessities. Now, some narrow-minded people may think that this is very partial of God but they are mistaken. For those who are seemingly neglected on this miserable earth, will be given the more recognition in heaven, so that everything will be balanced after all. Humility and meekness are qualities which are highly agreeable to God and therefore highly recommendable to the workingmen. Patience and obedience are also becoming to the toilers. Work and pray for God Himself has demanded of sinful humanity to eat their daily bread in the sweat of their brow.
These and similar "advisers" do not fail to make an impression upon the susceptible mind of the child, and thus they pass into manhood being obedient, unassuming and ignorant slaves, without being aware of it. Being raised in ignorance they suspect no wrong, but believe that the form of society under which they live is the natural order of things. No wonder, therefore, that the dominating classes call these people "good, honest, law-abiding" workingmen. They have but too much reason to thus dominate them, for they are really as obedient as a flock of geese and as gentle as lambs.
But if these blind, ever-dreaming slaves would only glance behind the curtains they would discover that they are infamously duped. They would find that those who yell into their ears, "Work and pray," condescend to pray, indeed, but do not work, and that those who never tire of reminding the toilers of the "demand of God," that they should eat their daily bread in the sweat of their brow, do not apply this adage to themselves. To be sure, these hypocrites sweat some times, but not from work they do so amid wild orgies and debauchery.
The capitalistic papers of this country sneered at a certain Indian chief I think Red Cloud,45 who, they reported, had said: "What we (the Indians) want is white men to plant our corn, hoe it, harvest it, and put it in to barns which they will build for us." Now, I cannot comprehend why the capitalistic press considers this utterance of Red Cloud as a peculiar one. Have not the capitalists put this very same idea into practice? Let us investigate. Instead of the words "white men," use the expression "workingmen," and it will read thus: "What we (the capitalists, the privileged class) want is workingmen to plant our corn, hoe it, harvest it, and put it into barns which they will build for us." Well, nevertheless, these conditions exist to-day. The wage-slaves really produce everything, and store their products away into warehouses which they build for their masters and besides they build for them, also palaces such as Red Cloud never had on his programme. Yes and the toilers do more than that they decorate their masters with diamonds, and over-burden them with luxuries and riches of which Red Cloud never dreamed. Who can deny this fact?
In order to illustrate the existing social "order," I will draw the following parable:
A long time ago the forests of a tropical land were populated by a happy lot of monkeys. They lived together like a large family and quarreling and discontentedness were qualities totally unknown to them. For a livelihood they searched the surroundings for food for themselves and their young ones in a harmonious way and without grudge. They were happy, indeed. One day some cunning monkeys were overcome by a very smart idea. They erected fences around the best parts of the forests and forbade their fellow-monkeys to hunt for food inside of the hedged regions. They named these pieces of land "property." Now, the propertyless monkeys were in utter despair, for they did not know where to get food for themselves and families. They called upon the property-owners and complained of their impossibility of making a livelihood. The propertied monkeys said unto them: "We may allow you to seek food on our property under the condition that you will give us half of the result of your labor." This offer the poor propertyless monkeys were compelled to accept, as there was no other way of making a living. No other choice was left open to them as either to accept or starve. The propertyless monkeys had to build large warehouses for their "employers," into which to store away their services as was sufficient to keep themselves and families alive. This was called "means." The property-owning monkeys became very wealthy, and were living in luxury and idleness. And why should they not? Did not the poor monkeys work for them, and thus enable them to be idle and yet debauch in abundance?
For a long time the working monkeys did not grumble, but were very obedient. Generations thus passed, and the monkeys thought that the "social institutions" could not be otherwise and that there had to be rich and poor monkeys, because these were the conditions which existed already when they were born. But the employers grew continually richer whilst the portion of the products of the workers, which they received as a compensation, were reduced to the lowest standard. Consequently the poor working monkeys were living in destitution and misery, notwithstanding the fact that the warehouses were filled with food. Discontentedness among the workers was the natural result of the growing wealth on one side and increasing poverty on the other. In order to keep the grumbling monkeys in subjection and maintain the respect for the existing institutions (which were called "law and order") the propertied classes hired numbers of able-bodied monkeys from the ranks of the propertyless classes. Those men were called police, sheriffs, militia, a. s. f.
Now, the dissatisfied monkeys assembled frequently for the purpose of seeking remedy for the existing evils. As the opinions as to ways and means to secure better conditions were very different, they formed various organizations. Some of the workers aimed at "higher wages" and others wanted to work less time. Still another class of workers held that the "wage-system" should be abolished entirely. They said that the propertied monkeys had accumulated their riches by robbing the workers out of the major part of the results of their labor. Furthermore, they claimed that the wealthy classes had no right to monopolize the natural resources of existence and thereby force their fellow-monkeys into their services, but that the mother-earth and her products belonged to the monkey race in common. The monkeys who confessed the latter ideas were considered very dangerous by the privileged classes. "Law and order is endangered," the wealthy cried. "Those anarchists want to overthrow our glorious institutions and turn everything tipsy-topsy. We must do away with those blood-thirsty rascals, who want to take our property and who are undermining our free and glorious institutions." These propertied monkeys were also opposed to that part of the working monkeys who only demanded a larger compensation for their work but their hate against those who wanted to abolish their privileges altogether was immeasurable.
The capitalistic press, and even numerous labor journals, define anarchism as murder, plunder, arson and outrage upon society in general. These "learned" journalists, or at least a majority of them thus defining anarchism, misrepresent the objects and aims of this teaching maliciously. Anarchism does not mean plunder and outrage upon society contrarily, its mission is to outroot the systematical plunder of a vast majority of the people by a comparatively few-the working classes by the capitalists. It aims at the extermination of the outrages committed by the reigning classes upon the wage-slaves, under the name of "law and order." Murder, plunder, robbery, outrages. "Is an anarchist really the impersonation of all crimes, of everything dastardly and damnable?" The "International Working People's Association," the organization of the anarchists, has the following platform, which was agreed upon at the congress at Pittsburgh in October, 1883. Let this platform be the answer to the questions I have raised before:
1. Destruction of the existing class rule, by all means, i.e., by energetic, relentless, revolutionary and international action.
2. Establishment of a free society based upon co-operative organization of production.
3. Free exchange of equivalent products by and between the productive organizations—without commerce and profit-mongery.
4. Organization of education on a secular scientific and equal basis for both sexes.
5. Equal rights for all without distinction to sex or race.
6. Regulation of all public affairs by free contracts between the autonomous (independent) communes and associations, resting on a federalistic basis.
Does this sound like outrages and crime?
In the course of my observations I will dwell more thoroughly on the aims and objects of anarchy.
Many people undoubtedly long to know what the relationship between anarchism and socialism is, and whether these two doctrines have anything in common with each other. A number of persons claim that an anarchist cannot be a socialist, and a socialist not an anarchist. This is wrong. The philosophy of socialism is a general one, and covers several subordinate teachings. To illustrate, I will cite the word "Christianity." There are Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, and various other religious sects, all of whom call themselves Christians. Although every Catholic is a Christian, it would not be correct to say that every Christian believes in Catholicism.
Webster defines socialism thus: "A more orderly, equitable and harmonious arrangement of social affairs than has hitherto prevailed." Anarchism is aiming at this anarchism is seeking a more just form of society. Therefore every anarchist is a socialist, but every socialist is not necessarily an anarchist. The anarchists again are divided into two factions the communistic anarchists and the Proudhon or middle-class anarchists.46 The "International Working People's Association" is the representative organization of the communistic anarchists. Politically we are anarchists, and economically, communists or socialists. With regard to political organization the communistic anarchists demand the abolition of political authority, the state, we deny the right of a class or single individual to govern or rule another class or individual. We hold that, as long as one man is under the dictation of another, as long as one man can in any form subjugate his fellow man, and as long as the means of existence can be monopolized by a certain class or certain individuals, there can be no liberty. Concerning the economical form of society, we advocate the communistic or co-operative method of production.
As to the distribution of products, a free exchange between the organizations of productions without profit-mongery would take place. Machinery and the means of production in general would be the common servant, and the products certainly the common property of the whole of the people. The Proudhon anarchists, however, although being opposed to the state and political authority, do not advocate the co-operative system of production, and the common ownership of the means of production, the products and the land.
In what respect do the social-democrats differ from the anarchists? The state socialists do not seek the abolition of the state, but they advocate the centralization of the means of production in the hands of the government, in other words, they want the government to be the controller of industry. Now, a socialist who is not a state-socialist must necessarily be an anarchist. It is utterly ridiculous of men like Dr. Aveling to state that they are neither state-socialists nor anarchists. Dr. Aveling has to be either one or the other.47
The term "anarchism" is of Greek origin and means "without government," or, in other words, "without oppression." I only wish that every working man would understand the proper meaning of this word. It is an absurd falsehood if the capitalists and their hired editors say that "anarchism" is identical with disorder and crime. On the contrary, anarchism wants to do away with the now existing social disorder, it aims at the establishment of the real—the natural—order. I think every sensible man ought to conceive, that where ruling is existing on one hand, there must be submission on the other. He who rules is a tyrant, and he who submits is a slave. Logically there can be no other outlet, because submission is the antithesis of rule. Anarchists hold that it is the natural right of every member of the human family to control ourselves. If a centralized power—government—is ruling the mass of people (no matter whether this government "represent the will of the majority of the people" or not) it is enslaving them, and a direct violation of the laws of nature.
Where laws are made there must be certain interests which cause their issue. Now every statute law, and consequently every violation thereof— crime—can be traced back to the institution of private property. The state protects the interests of the owners of private property (wealthy class), and therefore does not and cannot possibly protect the interests of the non-possessing people (the wage-workers), because the interest of both are of an opposite nature. The capitalists who have taken possession of the means of production—factories, machinery, land, etc.—are the masters, and the workingmen who have to apply to the capitalists for the use of the means of production (for which they receive a small compensation) in order to live, are the slaves. The interests of the capitalistic class are backed by the state (militia, sheriffs, and police) while the interests of the non-possessing people are not protected. Anarchists say that there should be no class interests, but that every human being should have free access to the means of existence and that the pantries of mother-earth should be accessible to all of her children. One part of the great human family has no right to deprive their brothers and sisters of their legitimate place at the common table, which is set so richly by generous mother-nature for all. Anarchists, as well as all other thinking people, claim, that in the present society, a great number of people are deprived of a decent existence.—We demand the re-installation of the disinherited! Is this a crime? Is this an outrage upon society? Are we therefore dangerous criminals, whose lives should be taken in the interests of the common good of society?
Yes, the anarchists demand the re-installation of the disinherited members of the human family. It is, therefore, quite natural that the privileged classes should hate them. Why, do not wrong-doing parties always hate those who disclose the natures of their transactions and open the eyes of their ignorant victims? Certainly they do. The anarchists are very much hated by the extortioners indeed, they are proud of it. To them, this is a proof that they are on the right road. But the ruling classes very cunningly play the role of the thief, who, when pursued by his discoverers, cried out, "stop the thief," and by this manipulation succeeded in making good his escape.
The anarchists have proven that the existing form of society is based upon the exploitation of one class by another in plain words, upon legalized robbery. They say that few persons have no right whatever, to monopolize the resources of nature and they urge the victims, the toilers, to take possession of the means of production, which belong to the people in common, and thus secure the full benefit of their toil. Anarchists do not want to deprive the capitalists of their existence, but they protest against the capitalists depriving the toilers of their right to a decent existence. Should the communistic form of production prevail, the capitalists of to-day would not starve they would be situated just as comfortably and would be just as happy (yea, happier than they are now) as the rest of the people. But certainly, they would have to take an active part in the production and be satisfied with their respective share of the results of labor, performed in common with their fellow-men.
The strongest bulwark of the capitalistic system is the ignorance of its victims. The average toiler shakes his head like the incredulous Thomas, when one tries to make plausible to him, that he is held in economic bondage. And this is so easily to be seen if one only takes the pains to think a little. Working at my trade alongside my colleagues, whom I tried to convince of my ideas, I used to tell them a story about some foxes: "Several foxes, in speculating about some scheme, which would enable them to live without hunting for food themselves succeeded at last in discovering one. They took possession of all the springs and other water-places. Now, as the other animals came to quench their thirst, the foxes said, unto them: The water-places belong unto us if you want to drink, you must bring us something in return, you must bring us food for compensation.' The other animals were foolish enough to obey, and, in order to drink they had to hunt the whole day for food for the foxes, so that they themselves had to live very meagre." I asked one of my colleagues, who was prominent as a denunciator of socialism, what his opinion was concerning the just-mentioned story. He told that the animals who were thus swindled by the foxes were very foolish in obeying them, and ought to drive the latter away from the water-places. When I directed his attention to the fact that a similar practice was being cultivated in modern society, with the only difference that the role of the foxes was occupied by the capitalists, and the water-places were represented by the means of production, and that he (my colleague) was very inconsistent in condemning the one and defending the other, he owed me the answer. This, for instance, illustrates the ignorance and indifference of the average workingmen. In the case of the foxes, they see no more and no less than robbery in their schemes, whilst in the case of the capitalists they approve of their methods.
Many inconsistent objections to anarchism are being made by its opponents. Some people have the impression that in an anarchistic society, where there is nobody to govern and nobody to be governed, every person would be isolated. This is false. Men have implanted by nature an impulse to associate with their fellow men. In a free society men would form economic as well as social association but all organizations would be voluntary, not compulsory. As I have asserted before, laws and the violation thereof, crimes, are attributed to the institution of private property, especially to the unequal distribution of the means of existence, to degradation and want. When the institution of private property will be abolished when economic and social equalities will be established when misery and want will belong to the past, then crime will be unknown and laws will become superfluous. It is a wrong assertion when people claim that a man is a criminal because of a natural disposition to crime. A man, as a rule, is but the reflex of the conditions which surround him. In a society, which places no obstacle in the road of free development of men, and which gives everybody an equal share to the pursuit of happiness, there will be no cause which will induce men to become bad.
The legalized private property system gives birth to crime and at the same time punishes it because it exists. The mother punishes her own child because it is born. Do away with the systems that produce evils and the latter will vanish. The removal of the cause is synonymous with the removal of the effects but the social diseases will never be cured if you declare war against the victims and on the other hand defend the causes which produced them. If one has the small-pox it would not cure the disease if one would scratch the scabs off. The disease in this case is system of private-property, and the scabs its evil effects.
How will the anarchists realize their ideas? What means do they intend to employ to accomplish the realization of a free society? Much has been written and talked on this subject, and, as an avowed anarchist, I will in plain terms give my individual opinion to the readers of this journal. The "anarchism" itself does not indicate force on the contrary it means peace. But I believe that everybody who has studied the true character of the capitalistic form of society, and who will not deceive himself, will agree with me that now and never will the ruling classes abandon their privileges peaceably.
Anarchism demands a thorough transformation of society, the total abolition of the private-property system. Now, history shows us that even reforms within the frame of the existing society have never been accomplished without the force of arms. Feudalism received its death blow through the great French revolution a century ago, which at the same time gave form to modern capitalism. Capitalism now is speedily attaining its most extreme character, that is, it is developing into monopolism. Wealth concentrates itself more and more in a few hands and the misery and poverty of the great mass of people is consequently enlarging in the same degree. The rich get richer and the poor poorer. Like the ruling classes in the eighteenth century, so the same classes at the eve of the nineteenth century are deaf to the complaints and warnings of the disinherited, and blind to the misery and degradation which surround their luxuriously outfitted palaces. The natural result will be that perhaps before the nineteenth century will wing its last hours the people will arise en masse, expropriate the privileged and proclaim the freedom of the human race. It is wrong if people assert that the anarchists will be responsible for the coming revolution. No, the drones of society are the parties who will have to answer to the charge of being the cause of the prospective uprising of the people for the rich and mighty have ears and hear not, and eyes and yet see not.
To abolish chattel slavery in this country a long and awful war took place. Notwithstanding the fact that indemnification was offered for their losses, the slaveholders would not bestow freedom upon their slaves.48 Now, in my judgment, he who believes that the modern slave-holders-the capitalists-would voluntarily, without being forced to do so, give up their privileges and set free their wage-slaves, are poor students. Capitalists possess too much egotism to give way to reason. Their egotism is so enormous that they even refuse to grant subordinate and insignificant concessions. Capitalists and syndicates, for instance, rather lose millions of dollars than to accept the eight-hour labor system. Would a peaceable solution of the social question be possible, the anarchists would be the first ones to rejoice over it.
But is it not a fact that on occasion of almost every strike the minions of the institutions of private property—militia, police, deputy sheriffs yes, even federal troops—are being called to the scenes of conflict between capital and labor, in order to protect the interests of capital? Did it ever happen that the interests of labor were guarded by those forces? What peaceable means should the toilers employ? There is, for example, the strike? If the ruling classes want to enforce the "law" they can have every striker arrested and punished for "intimidation" and conspiracy. A strike can only be successful if the striking workingmen prevent their places being occupied by others. But this prevention is a crime in the eyes of the law. Boycott? In several states the "courts of justice" have decided that the boycott is a violation of the law, and in consequence thereof, a number of boycotts have had the pleasure of examining the inner construction of penitentiaries "for conspiracy" against the interests of capital. "But," says some apostles of harmony, "there is something left which will help us. There is the ballot." No doubt many people who say this are honest in their belief.
But scarcely did the workingmen participate in the elections as a class, many representatives of "law and order" advocate a limitation (in many instances even the total abolition) of the right of the proletarians to vote. People who read the Chicago Tribune and Times and other representative capitalistic organs, will confirm my statement. The propaganda among capitalists in favor of limiting the right to vote to taxpayers—property owners—only, is increasing constantly, and will be realized whenever the political movement of the workingmen becomes really dangerous to the interests of capital. The "Law and Order League" of capitalists recently organized all over the country to defeat the demands of organized labor, has declared that the workingmen must not be allowed to obtain power over the ballot box. They have so resolved everywhere.
The anarchists are not blind. They see the development of things and predict that a collision between the plebians and patricians is inevitable. Therefore, in time for the coming struggle—to arms! If threatening clouds are visible on the horizon, I advise my fellow-man to carry an umbrella with him, so he will not get wet. Am I then the cause of the rain? No. So let me say plainly that, in my opinion, only by the force of arms can the wage slaves make their way out of capitalistic bondage.
The Haymarket Meeting and Its Consequences.
I have mentioned in the course of this article before, that again and again, when conflicts between capital and labor occurred, militia, police sheriffs and Pinkertons have thrust their weight into the scale in the interest of capital. These interferences have in many cases resulted in most unprovoked slaughterings of workingmen and women, yes, even innocent children and the capitalistic newspapers have in a beastly manner applauded these massacres of the "canaille." No single instance is known to me where the perpetrators have been punished for such dastardly and cowardly crimes. I need only to point to the atrocious actions of deputy sheriffs in East St. Louis last spring in killing seven or eight men, women and children without the slightest provocation the perpetrators were not even indicted, much less tried. How the militia raved in Lemont, Illinois, some time ago, the widows and orphans of the slain can tell the murderers were not prosecuted for their crime, but highly praised for their "bravery."49 Without any pretense whatever, militia men inaugurated a scene of horror in Belleville, Illinois, a few years ago no punishment followed the outrage. In the various coal regions of this country hundreds of widows and orphans mourn over their husbands and fathers who have been slaughtered by the minions of capital. Would I name and give a description of all crimes thus committed in the name of "law and order," I would have to write a book as large as the bible. Chicago herself can sing a sad song about the outrages of her police. Scores of her citizens, who were mere spectators, had their skulls broken at the time of the last strike of the street-car employes, and several persons have lost their reason as a consequence of the merciless clubbing.50 As a reward the leader of the clubbing hordes was advanced from a mere captain to inspector of police. Hundreds of other "American sovereigns" have had their ribs broken and are crippled every year without any provocation by drunken and brutal despots of "law and order," and the grave-yards harbor the dead bodies of not a few workingmen, who were killed by the police, while endeavoring to secure a higher compensation for their toil.
On all these occasions the "International Working People's Association" has never failed to raise a protest against the outrages and to demand a conviction of the guilty parties. Now, the McCormick affair on the 3rd day of May led to the meeting on the Haymarket. In a meeting on the evening of the 3rd of May, in 54 West Lake street, of which Waller (who testified during the trial on behalf of the state) was chairman,5! the meeting of the following night was arranged on the suggestion of Waller himself for the purpose of protesting against the brutal behavior of the police. The presiding officer (Waller) appointed me as a committee to look after the printing of hand—bills and the invitation of speakers, which duty I performed. On Tuesday the 4th of May, I had the hand-bills printed and distributed.
The meeting took place and was a very quiet and orderly one. Even several witnesses for the state testified that the speeches were of a more conservative character than those made by the speakers on previous occasions. I was present and listened to the speeches until about ten minutes past ten o'clock at which time dark clouds moved up, indicating a rain-storm. Fielden was speaking at this time, but Parsons interrupted him, making the remark that the people present had better adjourn to Zepf's hall, which was near by, on account of the threatening rain. Fielden, taking up his speech again, urged the audience to have patience for a few minutes yet, as he would have finished his speech in a short while, and then the listeners all could go home. I, however, in the company of a friend proceeded to Zepf's saloon, where a few moments later, Parsons put in an appearance also. I had been in the saloon scarcely four or five minutes, when we all heard the sound of an explosion, and simultaneous volleys of shots. Before I could realize what had happened, people came rushing into the saloon, apparently to seek shelter from the bullets, some of which whistled even through the saloon. Now, I comprehended the situation but I had at first supposed that the police or the militia had attacked the meeting with a gatling gun, so tremendous was the report of the explosion. At once the doors of the saloon were locked, and thus I was compelled to remain in the building perhaps ten or fifteen minutes, before I succeeded in gaining the sidewalk and making my way home.
The first details of the real character of the occurrence at the Haymarket, I learned the following morning, when I bought a morning paper on a Milwaukee avenue car on my way down town. On the same morning, about half past ten o'clock, I was arrested in the office of the Arbiter Zeitung, 107 Fifth avenue, together with all other compositors of that paper, and I have breathed prison air ever since.
What caused the police to attack the meeting? Certainly not the attitude of the assembled people for it was proven during the trial that the meeting had been an orderly one, and that there was no indication that trouble would arise from the gathering. Even Mayor Harrison, who was present, testified to that fact. S2
A few months ago the Chicago Times compared the anarchists and socialists with the murdering and plundering bands of Apaches, and especially the "convicted" anarchists with Chief Geronimo and his staff. I, in return, ask of an unprejudiced public, whether this omen cannot with more justice be applied to the police, or at least to the commanders of the same. I think such a comparison would be more accurate. So be it then. The police-Apaches had spilled workingmen's blood already on Monday afternoon and at intervals on Tuesday but they thirsted for more. On the night of the memorable 4th of May they lay crouching in their wigwams on Desplaines street. They would had rather surprised the meeting at the beginning but Mayor Harrison was there and they did not wish the mayor to be an eye-witness of the intended Bartholomew night. With impatient strides chief Geronimo Bonfield measured his wigwam and said: "The trouble with these d - - - socialists is that they always have their wives and children with them. I wish I could have three or four thousand of them in a bunch, without their families, and then I would make short work of them."
(It was testified by a trustworthy person, during the trial, that Bonfield used words to this effect), Mayor Harrison had left the meeting at last and had gone home, but not until he had told Bonfield not to undertake an attack upon the gathering, because it was orderly and peaceable. But hark! hasty steps approach the wigwam! Who is it? Scouts (detectives). "Mighty chief," they exclaim, " if you want to make an attack, now is the time for you, for the meeting will soon adjourn. Fielden said just now that he would be through with his speech, and if you linger any longer the socialists will be on there way home!" (The police-station is only a block distance from the Haymarket). The eyes of the chief sparkle in delight, and he gives to his warriors the signal to march. Rapidly they approach the meeting. The braves, with one hand clenching their clubs, with the other their pistols, were just ready to commence their bloody work, when the deathly bomb came through the air with a known awful result. Who threw the missile? I do not know I was not in the meeting at that time. But still I am sentenced to death!
There remains but little for me to relate, for I assume that the readers of this journal are familiar with the farce in Judge Gary's court room. I do not believe that there is a trial on record in this country which equals this trial with regard to unfairness and the use of all possible corrupt means, including perjury and bribery, in order to procure a conviction. The prosecution knew that I was in Zepf's saloon at the time of the expolsion of the bomb, and five unimpeached and trustworthy witnesses, against whose character not a word could be said, testified to this fact. But Gilmer ascends the witness box and swears (for cash) with the dryest air in the world that he saw me in the alley together with Spies, who, he claimed, lit a match the moment the missile was thrown. Furthermore, this hired tool of Grinnell swore that Schnaubelt, whom he claimed to be the bomb thrower, was five feet eight inches tall, so that he (Gilmer) could look over his head.53 Now, everybody who knows Schnaubelt will confirm that he is a man of more than medium height 6 feet and 2 inches tall! In this style the whole trial was managed. The defense had witnesses in the witness-box (not "ignorant, lying foreigners," as the state's attorney pleased to express himself, but "law-abiding and intelligent American—born citizens") to whom officials of the Desplaines street station had said on the evening of the trouble, that they better had stay away from the meeting, because blood would flow in the streets that night. But the court rejected their testimony as "not admissible."
Notwithstanding the false testimony which was manufactured by the state by the bushel, the court admitted in pronouncing the sentence, that "it was not proven that any one of the defendants was directly connected with the throwing of the bomb at the Haymarket, and also not, who threw the missile but that defendants had for years advocated violence, which agitation had induced the perpetrator to commit the act at the Haymarket." Did you, unprejudiced reader, ever hear any similar words uttered by a court of justice? It is astonishing. If Judge Gary admits that it is not known who threw the bomb, what law authorizes him to put us to death, because he supposes that the unknown perpetrator was encouraged to commit the act by our teachings!
But, alas! I forgot one fact: Seven policemen have died and, therefore, seven somebodies must pay the penalty. Now, as the anarchists are hated by a great many people—on the one hand by the aristocrats and on the other by a number of foolish workingmen—the agents of the ruling class thought it the easiest way to capture the ones of their number who seemed to be the most "dangerous" to society, place a noose around their necks and let them hang until they are dead. Well, it remains to be seen whether the people of this country are so degraded as to permit the commission of a sevenfold judicial murder.
There is one factor which played a damnable part before, during and after the trial: the capitalistic press. I dare say that even the newspapers in despotic Russia and Germany are not so unfair, lying and hypocritical as the press of "the land of the free and the home of the brave." It would consume too much space were I to nail all the lies which have been manufactured and published by the press against us. But I will take this opportunity to show that I do not exaggerate when I speak of the hypocrisy of the capitalistic lying sheets. I will quote a few sentences from an article which appeared in a Chicago morning paper a few weeks after the Haymarket affair. This article was published as a rebuke of an order given by Mayor Harrison to all city officials, that reporters should be excluded from police stations and other centres when news items were to be had: "Carter's Big Scheme.--An Order that is a Boomerang and that may lead to Sensational Developments." Here are a few quotations:
"The force has paled it exceedingly fine on the press and the public," said a gentleman long identified with police matters yesterday. "The department has never had any love for the papers, but it would not do for the mayor to show his hand while the surprised people were busy swelling the cash testimonials to the police. I say the 'surprised people' deliberately, because that was the sentiment which actuated the men who made the contributions and bought bundles of tickets for the benefits. The papers made heroes of the police, and for a while it was fashionable to idolize them. For what? Simply because they did not run. What they did was well enough done, but that was what they were paid for. They did nothing but their duty, and in their grateful surprise that they did that the people showered money upon them, dragooned as they were by the papers, which gave up columns to their praise. But a good many things about the riots remain to be told, and now that the boys have been shut out the stories may come to the surface. The policemen were not all as brave as lions by any means, and they were nearer being stampeded in Haymarket than any of them will now admit. Would you believe me if I were to tell you that when the race began after a bomb exploded a flying newspaper man dashed into a house near-by and discovered a dozen officers frantically trying to barricade themselves in? Well, now, that is said to be the cold fact, and the reporter who is responsible for the statement can break into one of the big papers with it any morning. That is by no means the only instance, I believe, and now that the season of heriocs is past, the suppressed truth would not be unpalatable. It would be interesting to know, for instance, how many of the wounded policemen were shot by their panic-stricken comrades in the ranks. The hospital authorities have not been particular to tell just what sort of bullet wounds were made in the bodies of the officers, and I would not be surprised if it could be easily ascertained that bullets taken from the wounds would fit the regulation revolvers. When that kind of ammunition begins to be used by the reporters it may be that the old man will realize that his order is a boomerang."
I quote these extracts in order to show that the capitalistic press and the authorities know the real facts about the Haymarket affair, but are keeping them from the public. In thus threatening the police with sensational developments, the capitalistic newspaper "lets the cat out of the bag." It is an open secret that most of the policemen who were wounded from bullets, received them from their fellow-officers. The newspapers and police know this but when a physician testified to this fact on the witness stand, they raised a howl. During the trial as well as ever since, the press gathers up all possible and impossible stories and lies which, could in any way harm us but they keep their columns closed against any appeal for justice and fairness. Pharisees!
As the court as well as the states-attorney have plainly hinted, the verdict of death was rendered for the purpose of crushing the anarchistic and the socialistic movement. But I am satisfied that just the contrary has been accomplished by this barbarous measure. Thousands of workingmen have been led by our "conviction" to study anarchism, and if we are executed, we can ascend the scaffold with the satisfaction that by our death, we have advanced our noble cause more than we could have possibly done had we grown as old as Methusalah.
When I left my native country, my dear father (who died since) advised me to always utter fearlessly whatever I might hold to be the truth, and I have followed his advice faithfully.
I have given my honest opinions to the readers of the KNIGHTS OF LABOR, regardless of all possible consequences just as I have done when yet among the people, and until death closes my eyes and shuts my mouth forever, I shall continue to preach that which I think is right. I cannot do otherwise.
I know that it is impossible to convince professional liars, such as the hired editors of the capitalistic press, who are paid for crushing the truth. But I beg all the editors of labor journals as well as all honest, intelligent workingmen, not to ape the ridiculous attitude of the capitalistic press towards the doctrines of anarchism, as this has been the case hitherto, but to make anarchism an object of thorough study.
Adolph Fisher is in the 1870 Federal Census in Missouri, Washington County, Breton Township, Osage Post Office on 26 July 1870. He worked as a clerk in the store of Abram Block, and his wife Sophia Schwartz Block. Adolph later married Celia Schwarzkopf, the niece of Abram Block.
He is in the same location ten years later in the 1880 Census.
He and his wife and children are recorded in the 1900 Federal Census for Kansas in the town of Pleasanton. He was a dry goods salesman. He and his parents were born in the country of Austria as it was known at that time in history.
In the 1910 Federal Census of Kansas he was described as a dry goods salesman living with his children and his niece Sadie Glucklich, age 20. His birthplace was recorded as Germany, and his parents were born in Germany as it was known at that time in history.
Later Census data indicates that he came to the US in 1861. He would have been only 14 years old. Some census data and his obituary state he came to the US in 1865.
Additional research may have located his arrival on the ship Athena on April 13, 1866 in New York. An Adolph Fischer, a merchant, age 17 arrived from Bremen, Germany on that date. Ship Arrival microfilm M237, Roll 263, Frame 362 of 549.
He stated his birth country was Germany on the manifest of these arrival ship records. Family tradition is that he was from Prague.
On the same ship, the Athena, arrived on the same date, April 13, 1866 is Hermann Fischer, age 17. He was recorded as a Seaman. Any connection is speculative.
A record match in My Heritage and on FamilySearch Family Tree states that he was born in Slatina, Brno South Moravia Bohemia. Record #LH8Y-Q1M by Daniel Rohrback. There is Slatina in Klatovy, and in Plzen, and in Litomerice. Litomerice is only 30 miles NorthWest of Prague. This record also states that he was buried in Pine Lawn Cemetery, Kansas. Or Bourbon, Arkansas? Error to be corrected in the future. His obituary states he was born in Slattina, Bohemia.
Possible data from his marriage record in St. Louis dated 7 November 1880.
There are many towns with this name. I selected him for the town in Prachen. Could be changed in the future to Slatina in Litomerice as he stated to his family that he was born in Prague. No Adolph Fischer has appeared in the Prague Fischer family census records. Should be checked against Slatina-Brno records for assignment there.
Acte de naissance dolphe Augustin FISCHER L𠆚n mil huit cent quarante-huit (1848) de la République franise le trentième jour du mois de septembre 7 heures du soir (19h00). Pardevant nous DESCARRIERS Louis Joseph, maire et officier de l𠆞tat civil de la commune de Beuvardes, canton de Fère-en-Tardenois, arrondissement de Château-Thierry, département de l𠆚isne, a comparu Victor Barthelemy FISCHER, âgé de 29 ans, fabricant de compas, domicilié à Beuvardes, lequel nous a présenté un enfant de sexe masculin, né hier à 19 h de lui dຜlarant et de Anastasie Mélanie LOURDEZ âgພ de 26 ans son épouse, en sa demeure auquel enfant il a été donné les prénoms de Adolphe Augustin. Le présent acte a été rຝigé en présence d𠆚ntoine DUJON âgé de 30 ans manouvrier et de Nicolas GEBERT âgé de 40 ans fabricant de compas domiciliés tous deux à Beuvardes le premier parent de l𠆞nfant au degré de bel oncle maternel et le second ami des père et mère de l𠆞nfant. Et ont les comparants et les témoins signés avec nous le présent acte après lecture faite.
Birth certificate of Adolphe Augustin FISCHER, translated: The year one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight (1848) of the French Republic the thirtieth day of September 7 pm (19h00). Pardevant DESCARRIERS Louis Joseph, mayor and registrar of the municipality of Beuvardes, canton of Fère-en-Tardenois, district of Château-Thierry, department of Aisne, appeared Victor Barthelemy FISCHER, 29 years old, manufacturer of compass, domiciled in Beuvardes, who introduced us to a male child, born yesterday at 19 pm declaring him and Anastasie Mélanie LOURDEZ at the age of 26 his wife, in his home to which child he was given the first names of Adolphe Augustin. The present deed was drawn up in the presence of Antoine DUJON, 30 years old, a manual worker and Nicolas GEBERT, 40 years old, manufacturer of compasses both living in Beuvardes, the first parent of the child to the degree of maternal uncle and the second friend father and mother of the child. And have the appearing and the witnesses signed with us the present act after reading made.
Adolph and his family were found living in Beuvardes, France in the 1851 Census. There was an older brother and a younger brother that died before they came to the US.
Adolph also went by the name Ed. He came to the US on the ship "Canvass Back" on 11/21/1854 when he was just 6 years old. The family lived in Massachusetts, and Vermont before settling in Appleton, Wisconsin where he married Bertha. He was found first in the 1860 Census in Readsboro, VT and then in the 1870 and 1880 censuses in Ironton, Wisconsin. By 1900 they were in Appleton, WI with 8 kids at home at 787 Jackson St. and he was working as a laborer in a coal and wood yard. By 1910 they had moved to Hulett, Wyoming. He was farming with 7 kids still at home and brother, Alfred, next door. They were still there in Crook County for the 1920 census, listed as Fincher with 3 kids still at home. They must have moved shortly thereafter and then later died in Nebraska.
- ^ "Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial evidence book. People's Exhibit 5. "Attention Workingmen" flier, 1886 May 4." Chicago Historical Society.
- ^ "Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial evidence book. Defense Exhibit 1. "Attention Workingmen" flier, 1886 May 4." Chicago Historical Society.
- ^ "Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1. Testimony of Godfried Waller (first appearance), 1886 July 16. Volume I, 53-75, 23 p." Chicago Historical Society.
- ^ "Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1. Testimony of Godfried Waller (first appearance resumed), 1886 July 16. Volume I, 96-100, 5 p." Chicago Historical Society.
- ^ "Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript no. 1. Testimony of Harry L. Gilmer (first appearance), 1886 July 28. Volume K, 405-497, 93 p." Chicago Historical Society.
- ^ Linder, Douglas O. "Meet the Haymarket Defendants." Famous Trials: The Haymarket Riot Trial (State of Illinois v. Albert Spies, et al.). University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law. Accessed November 18, 2008.
Adolph Fischer - History
The Accused, the accusers: the famous speeches of the eight Chicago anarchists in court when asked if they had anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon them. On October 7th, 8th and 9th, 1886, Chicago, Illinois.
Chicago, Ill.: Socialistic Publishing Society, [1886?]
88 p. 22 cm.
(CHS ICHi 31373)
Speech of Adolph Fischer, pp. 36 - 38
YOUR HONOR: You ask me why sentence of death should not be passed upon me. I will not talk much. I will only say that I protest against my being sentenced to death, because I have committed no crime. I was tried here in this room for murder, and I was convicted of Anarchy. I protest against being sentenced to death, because I have not been found guilty of murder . But, however, if I am to die on account of being an Anarchist, on account of my love for liberty, fraternity and equality, then I will not remonstrate. If death is the penalty for our love of the freedom of the human race, then I say openly I have forfeited my life but a murderer I am not. Although being one of the parties who arranged the Haymarket meeting, I had no more to do with the throwing of that bomb, I had no more connection with it than State's Attorney Grinnell had, perhaps. I do not deny that I was present at the Haymarket meeting but that meeting-
(At this point Mr. Salomon stepped up and spoke to Mr. Fischer in a low tone, but the latter waved him off and said:)
Mr. Salomon, be so kind. I know what I am talking about. Now, that Haymarket meeting was not called for the purpose of committing violence and crime. No but the meeting was called for the purpose of
PROTESTING AGAINST THE OUTRAGES AND CRIMES
committed by the police on the day previous, out at McCormick's. The State's witness, Waller, and others have testified here, and I only need to repeat it, that we had a meeting on Monday night, and in this meeting-the affair at McCormick's taking place just a few hours previous-took action and called a mass-meeting
FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROTESTING AGAINST
the brutal outrages of the police. Waller was chairman of this meeting, and he himself made the motion to hold the meeting at the Haymarket. It was he also who appointed me as a committee to have handbills printed and to provide for speakers that I did, and nothing else. The next day I went to Wehrer & Klein, and had 25,000 handbills printed, and I invited Spies to speak at the Haymarket meeting. In the original
of the "copy" I had the line "Workingmen, appear armed!" and I had my reason too for putting those words in, because I didn't want the
WORKINGMEN TO BE SHOT DOWN
in that meeting as on other occasions. But as those circulars were printed, or as a few of them were printed and brought over to me at the Arbeiter-Zeitung office, my comrade Spies saw one of them. I had invited him to speak before that. He showed me the circular, and said: "Well, Fischer, if those circulars are distributed, I won't speak." I admitted it would be better to take the objectionable words out, and Mr. Spies spoke. And that is all I had to do with that meeting. Well, I went to the Haymarket about 8:15 o'clock, and stayed there until Parsons interrupted Fielden's speech. Parsons stepped up to the stand, and said that it looked like it was going to rain, and that the assembly had better adjourn to Zepf's Hall. At that moment a friend of mine who testified on the witness stand, went with me to Zepf's Hall, and we sat down at a table and had a glass of beer. At the moment I was going to sit down, my friend Parsons came in with some other persons, and after I was sitting there about five minutes the explosion occurred. I had no idea that anything of the kind would happen, because, as the State's witnesses testified, themselves, there was no agreement to defend ourselves that night. It was only
A MEETING CALLED TO PROTEST.
Now, as I said before, this verdict, which was rendered by the jury in this room, is not directed against murder, but against Anarchy. I feel that I am sentenced, or that I will be sentenced, to death because of being an Anarchist, and not because I am a murderer. I have never been a murderer. I have never yet committed a crime in my life but I know a certain man who is on the way to becoming a murderer, an assassin, and that man is Grinnell-the State's Attorney Grinnell-because he brought men on the witness stand who he knew would swear falsely and I publicly denounce Mr. Grinnell as being a murderer and an assassin if I should be executed. But if the ruling class thinks that by hanging us, hanging a few Anarchists, they can crush out Anarchy, they will be badly mistaken, because the Anarchist
LOVES HIS PRINCIPLES MORE THAN HIS LIFE.
An Anarchist is always ready to die for his principles but in this case I have been charged with murder, and I am not a murderer. You will find it impossible to kill a principle, although you may take the life of
men who confess these principles. The more the believers in just causes are persecuted, the quicker will their ideas be realized. For instance, in rendering such an
UNJUST AND BARBAROUS VERDICT,
the twelve "honorable men" in the jury-box have done more for the furtherance of Anarchism than the convicted could have accomplished in a generation. This verdict is a death-blow against free speech, free press, and free thought in this country, and the people will be conscious of it, too. This is all I care to say.
A history of Mayday
An article looking at the ancient pagan roots of Mayday, through the Haymarket martyrs to International Workers Day and the UK anti-capitalists in the late 1990s.
The Ancient Origins of Mayday
Mayday originated as a pagan festive holy day celebrating the first spring planting. The ancient Celts and Saxons celebrated May 1st as Beltane, which means the day of fire. Bel was the Celtic god of the sun. The Saxons began their Mayday celebrations on the eve of May, April 30. It was an evening of games and feasting celebrating the end of winter and the return of the sun and fertility of the soil. Torch bearing peasants and villagers would wind their way up paths to the top of hills or mountain crags and then ignite wooden wheels, which they would roll down into the fields below.
The May eve celebrations were eventually outlawed by the Catholic Church, but were still celebrated by peasants until the late 1700's. While good church going folk would shy away from joining in the celebrations, those less afraid of papal authority would don animal masks and various costumes. The revellers, lead by the Goddess of the Hunt, Diana (sometimes played by a pagan-priest in women's clothing), and the Horned God, Herne, would travel up the hill shouting, chanting, singing, and blowing hunting horns. This night became known in Europe as Walpurgisnacht, or night of the witches.
The Celtic tradition of Mayday in the British Isles continued to be celebrated throughout the middle ages by rural and village folk. Here the traditions were similar with a goddess and god of the hunt. As European peasants moved away from hunting gathering societies their gods and goddesses changed to reflect a more agrarian society. Thus Diana and Herne came to be seen by medieval villagers as fertility deities of the crops and fields. Diana became the Queen of the May and Herne became Robin Goodfellow (a predecessor of Robin Hood) or the Green Man. The Queen of the May reflected the life of the fields and Robin reflected the hunting traditions of the woods. The rites of mayday were part and parcel of pagan celebrations of the seasons. The Christian church later absorbed many of these pagan rites in order to win over converts from the 'Old Religion'.
The two most popular feast days for medieval craft guilds were the Feast of St. John - the Summer Solstice - and Mayday. Mayday was a raucous and fun time, electing a queen of the May from the eligible young women of the village, to rule the crops until harvest. Besides the selection of the May Queen was the raising of the phallic Maypole, around which the young single men and women of the village would dance holding on to the ribbons until they became entwined, with their (hoped for) new love. There was also Robin Goodfellow - the Green Man - who was the Lord of Misrule for this day. Mayday was a celebration of the common people, and Robin would be the King, Priest or Fool for a day. Priests and Lords were the butt of many jokes mummers would make jokes and poke fun at the local authorities.
The church and state did not take kindly to these celebrations, especially during times of popular rebellion. Mayday and the Maypole were outlawed in the 1600's. Yet the tradition still carried on in many rural areas and the trade societies still celebrated Mayday until the 18th Century. As trade societies evolved from guilds, to friendly societies and eventually into unions, the craft traditions remained strong into the early 19th century.
In London the May Fayre was transferred from Haymarket in 1686 to Mayfair. The May Fayre lasted for up to 16 days and it soon became notorious for riotous and disorderly behaviour. In 1708 the May Fayre was abolished, only to be revived again with similar results. Building on the site was probably the most effective way of permanently suppressing the fair and by the mid-18th century almost the whole of modern Mayfair was covered with houses.
International Workers’ Day
The celebration of Mayday as a working class holiday evolved from the struggle for the eight-hour day in the 1880’s. In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions passed a resolution stating that eight hours would constitute a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886. The resolution called for a general strike to achieve the goal. With workers being forced to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, rank-and-file support for the eight-hour movement grew rapidly, despite the indifference and hostility of many union leaders. Revolutionaries believed that the struggle for an eight-hour day would evolve into a struggle to overthrow capital.
By April 1886 hundreds of thousands of American workers, increasingly determined to resist subjugation to capitalist power, had joined a fledgling trade union, the Knights of Labor. The heart of the movement was in Chicago, organised primarily by the revolutionary International Working Men's Association (the First International). Workers there had been agitating for an 8-hour day for months and, on the eve of May 1st, 50,000 were already on strike. 30,000 more swelled their ranks the next day, bringing most of Chicago manufacturing to a standstill, as they took to the streets to demand universal adoption of the 8-hour day. By May 1st the movement had already won gains for many Chicago clothing cutters, shoemakers, and packinghouse workers. But on May 3rd police fired into a crowd of strikers at the McCormick Reaper Works Factory, killing four and wounding many. Angered by the state violence and murderous police, a group of anarchists, led by August Spies & Albert Parsons, called on workers to arm themselves & participate in a massive protest demonstration in Haymarket Square the following evening. The meeting proceeded without incident, and by the time the last speaker was on the platform, the rainy gathering was already breaking up, with only a few hundred people remaining. It was then that 180 cops marched into the square and ordered the meeting to disperse. As the speakers climbed down from the platform, a bomb was thrown at the police, killing one and injuring seventy. Police responded by firing into the crowd, killing one worker and injuring many others.
Although it was never determined who threw the bomb, a reign of terror swept over Chicago. The press and the pulpit called for revenge, insisting the bomb was the work of socialists and anarchists. Meeting halls, union offices, printing works and private homes were raided. All known socialists and anarchists were rounded up. Even many individuals ignorant of the meaning of socialism and anarchism were arrested and tortured. "Make the raids first and look up the law afterwards" was the public statement of Julius Grinnell, the state's attorney. Eight of Chicago's most active anarchists were charged with accessories to murder. They were August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Fielden, Michael Schwab, Louis Lingg and Oscar Neebe.
In a spectacular show trial which opened on June 21st 1886, a kangaroo court found all eight guilty, despite a lack of evidence connecting any of them to the bomb-thrower (only one was even present at the meeting, and he was on the speakers' platform), and they were sentenced to death. Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolf Fischer, and George Engel were hanged on November 11th, 1887. Louis Lingg committed suicide in prison.
250,000 people lined Chicago's street during Parson's funeral procession to express their outrage at this gross miscarriage of justice. The campaign to free Neebe, Schwab and Fielden continued. On June 26th 1893 Governor Altgeld set them free. He made it clear he was not granting the pardon because he thought the men had suffered enough, but because they were innocent of the crime for which they had been tried. They and the hanged men had been the victims of "hysteria, packed juries and a biased judge".
For revolutionaries and workers everywhere, Haymarket became a symbol of the struggle for a new world. In Paris in 1889 the founding congress of the Second International declared May 1st an international working class holiday in commemoration of the Haymarket Martyrs and the red flag became the symbol of the blood of working class martyrs in their battle for workers rights.
The Second International’s commitment to internationalism was shown when they condemned millions of workers to death in the trenches of the First World War in defence of ‘their fatherland’. After the two world wars, the labour movement continued to pay lip service to Mayday and the occasion became a day for making grand speeches, but little else. In London a march continued to be organised, but this became more and more irrelevant except on the few occasions when it happened to coincide with a major dispute, the last being Wapping. The annual march became dominated by Stalinists, which led on one occasion to anarchists being attacked, and generally went round back streets.
In 1998 a number of revolutionaries, most of whom had been involved with the Class War Federation and paper, organised a conference with the aim of bringing the broad ‘movement’ together and opening up new dialogues. The conference was hosted in Bradford, where local anarchists and others had been attempting to reclaim Mayday. About 1,000 activists attended the Conference and, although it was not designed to be a decision-making conference, the result was renewed co-operation from groups and individuals who put aside personal disputes. This new found unity was experienced in action a year later at the J18 Carnival Against Capital in the City of London. The Mayday march itself in Bradford was a sea of red and black flags and was followed by a gig in the city centre.
In 1999, inspired by the Bradford conference and determined not to tail end the official march any longer, a small group of activists from Reclaim the Streets (RTS) and West London Anarchists & Radicals (WAR) set about organising a tube party in opposition to privatisation of the tube and in solidarity with tube workers. Mayday fell on a sunny Saturday and over 1,000 people crowded onto a circle line train, which was symbolically placed under ‘workers and passenger control’. A leaflet, mimicking in style official London Underground information leaflets, was distributed which declared:
"If we want another world we’ve got to stop maintaining this one through our action and inaction. The power of our rulers is based on the fact that they have separated us from each other, and we act as alienated individual workers and as passive consumers. By endlessly repeating the same patterns – paying our fares and bills, going to work, watching the world unfold on TV – we recreate this world every day. Today we attempt for a brief period to upset the normal pattern, to feel the power that we have when we act together. That we do this on International Workers’ day should remind us that despite the attempt by Blair and others to consign it to the past, one of the most powerful forms of direct action remains the withdrawal by workers of their labour. Workers can bring this world to a halt. Today we attempt to take over the tube, but we do so in solidarity with the tube workers".
Afterwards we partied on Clapham common at Jayday. This event marked a turning point: Mayday would never be the same again.
J18 transformed the ‘anti-capitalist movement’ in the UK and the following year a much larger group came together to organise a four-day Mayday 2000 - Festival of Anti-Capitalist Ideas and Action. This began on a wet Friday night with a Critical Mass cycle ride in Central London and a revolutionary history walk of the East End. The highlight of the latter was the surreal sight of a group of revolutionaries standing outside the former Match Girls strike factory, which is now Yuppie flats, in the pouring rain surrounded by cops! Over the next two days about 2,000 people attended a well-organised conference with a diverse range of workshops. Many were from differing backgrounds and political traditions and there was an exciting exchange of ideas.
On Mayday itself, which fell on a bank holiday, Parliament Square was transformed by Guerrilla Gardening. "Resistance is fertile" was the declaration and the banner tied across the treasury building in Parliament Square read "the earth is a common treasury for all". The enduring image was of the statue of mass murderer Churchill dressed in a green turf mohican and the desecration of the cenotaph. Mayday was followed by the official visit of Putin, who had overseen the death of 20,000 Chechnyans as Russia bombed Chechnya back into the Dark Ages, but damaged statues are of much more concern to the ruling class. As RTS said afterwards: "we do not necessarily celebrate the generals and the ruling class that send these people to their deaths in order to protect the privileges and control of the few. The abhorrence of sending millions of men to their deaths in the trenches dwarfs the stupidity of any possible slogan on any possible piece of stone".
Last year  Mayday fell on a working day. The theme of the action was Mayday Monopoly and participants were invited to consider the possibilities of the Monopoly board and organise autonomous actions. The beauty of the concept was that Monopoly is a game played by every child. As the Mayday Monopoly Game Guide, a well-produced pamphlet circulated for free, put it: "The game of monopoly is one of accumulation, making it perfect for our times. The aim is for each player to make profits through the sale of a single commodity - land - and to expand their empire. In real life one single commodity generates all profits - our labour power. Since labour power cannot be separated from people, we are literally bought and sold in the market place".
The cops through the media threatened to shoot people with rubber bullets, press hysteria reached a new high, Mayor Livingstone took paid adverts telling people to stay away and even Prime Minister Blair got in on the act, but about 5,000 anti-capitalist protestors turned out to play Mayday Monopoly in London. The actions included a office invasion against the arms trade, a giant veggieburger give-away at MuckDonald's, building cardboard homes in Mayfair, a picket of Coutts Bank for the abolition of money, a demonstration outside HMP Pentonville, and, for the finale, a party against consumerism in that metropolis of shopping, Oxford Street. In fact Oxford Street had been boarded up and thousands of police replaced the shopaholics.
The cops tactic was to pen everyone in. They were assisted by the Trotskyist front group Globalise Resistance marching into Oxford Circus early and by the rain. Still, those who tried managed to break out and spread out as a far as Tottenham Court Road. Central London was closed down and the cost in lost business was put at £20 million. The end result was the most surreal gathering ever. The Financial Times meanwhile lamented "Business needs to do more to demonstrate the benefits. Governments must defend globalisation more vigorously - Otherwise, [the protesters] may win the battle for public opinion."
Faces of the Hindenburg
Hometown: Esslingen am Neckar, Germany
Occupation: engine mechanic
Location at time of fire: Engine gondola #2, portside aft
Adolf Fischer was born on August 6th, 1905 in Esslingen am Neckar, near Stuttgart. After leaving school he went to work for the Daimler-Benz factory in nearby Untertürkheim. He was eventually assigned to the development team for the LOF-6 diesel engines, which were being constructed for the new airship, the LZ129 – later to be christened Hindenburg. Once he'd helped to install the engines on the airship, he was hired by Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei and joined the crew of the Hindenburg. He flew on the ship’s maiden voyage on March 4, 1936, assigned to engine car #4, along with Rafael Schädler and Walter Banholzer. He subsequently flew for the rest of the 1936 season, as well as the earlier flights in 1937.
(photo courtesy of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmBH Archive)
Fischer was aboard the Hindenburg for its first North American flight of 1937, assigned to engine car #2 along with August Deutschle and Alfred Stöckle. On the evening of May 6th, the Hindenburg approached its landing field at Lakehurst, NJ. Fischer had been on standby watch when the signal for landing stations sounded shortly after 7:00 P.M., and he joined Deutschle in their engine car shortly thereafter, with Deutschle manning the engine throttle, and Fischer keeping watch over the engine telegraph. He and Deutschle carried out an order telegraphed from the control car a few minutes later and brought their engine to "idle astern" in preparation for final positioning of the ship for mooring. Over the next few minutes, they twice received orders to set the engine to "full astern" so as to bring the ship to a halt, and then were ordered to return the engine to idle astern.
Suddenly, Fischer heard "a dull thud." Standing next to the entrance to the engine car, Fischer looked out the doorway at the hull of the ship and saw yellowish flames. No sooner had he seen the fire when the ship began to fall and Fischer was forced to find the nearest handhold. Both men hung on as the stern of the ship dropped quickly to the ground. As their engine gondola landed heavily, Fischer was struck on the head and stunned. He lay there momentarily in the gondola until water from an engine coolant tank in the hull above poured into the engine car and revived him enough that he was able to climb out of the gondola. Then he sat down dazedly in the sand near the wreck, unaware that his clothes were burning, until the heat snapped him out of it again. He patted out the fire on his coverall and ran from the wreck until he couldn't feel the heat anymore.
Fischer gradually began to come back to his senses, turned around, and saw the engine gondola lying on the ground next to the wreck, burning. He suddenly thought of Deutschle and ran back to the engine car to try and find him. Before he got there, he heard Deutschle's voice call out behind him, "Where are you going?" Fischer turned around and saw Deutschle lying on his back some distance from the wreckage. "I thought you were still in there," Fischer replied as he walked over to help his comrade. Seeing that Deutschle was injured, Fischer called to some nearby sailors and together they carried Deutschle to a truck and took him to the infirmary.
Fischer suffered some rather serious injuries himself, and was taken to Paul Kimball Hospital in nearby Lakewood with burns to his head and body, as well as concussion. His sister, Amalie Reich, lived in Maplewood, NJ, where she had worked for a number of years as a maid. She heard about the disaster on the radio and immediately rushed to Lakewood to be at her brother's side. Fischer was so heavily bandaged when she arrived that Ms. Reich was initially only able to recognize him by the wristwatch he wore. She was immediately asked by hospital staff to act as an interpreter, since many of the German survivors spoke no English.
/> Adolf Fischer and his sister, Amalie Reich, during one of the Hindenburg's visits to Lakehurst in 1936.
Fischer was held at Paul Kimball Hospital for three days until he was in good enough shape to be transferred to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. He spent 4 weeks in the hospital recovering from his injuries, and testified to the US Commerce Department's Board of Inquiry from his hospital room on May 25th, about 2 ½ weeks after the disaster.Adolf Fischer, with nurse Martha Zimmer, just prior to Fischer being transferred to Fitkin Memorial Hospital in Neptune, NJ on May 9th, 1937.
After his return to Germany, Fischer was an engine mechanic on the LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin from October 1938 to August 1939 (this despite the fact that he still bore scars from the injuries he sustained at Lakehurst) and served throughout World War II as an aviation mechanic.
Over the course of his career as a Zeppelin mechanic, Fischer flew on 15 round-trip flights to South America and 11 to North America, and in addition to this he also flew on numerous shorter flights within Germany. All in all, he flew roughly 470,000 kilometers by airship.
In his later years, Adolf Fischer worked as a tour guide at the museum in Zeppelinheim, near Frankfurt.