Ernst Fischer

[Der Miesmacher]

Biography of Ernst Fischer

Ernst Fischer (July 3, 1899 – July 31, 1972), also known under the pseudonyms: "Ernst Peter Fischer", "Peter Wieden", "Pierre Vidal", and "Der Miesmacher", was a Bohemian-born Austrian journalist, writer and politician.

Ernst Fischer was born in Komotau, Bohemia in 1899. He served on the Italian Front in the First World War, studied philosophy in Graz and did unskilled labour in a factory before working as a provincial journalist and then on the Arbiter-Zeitung from 1927. In 1932, he was married to Ruth von Mayenburg. Initially a social democrat, Fischer became a member of the Communist Party of Austria (Kommunistischen Partei Österreichs or KPÖ) member in 1934 after being disillusioned in democracy for not being able to withstand fascism.

In 1934, after Fischer and his wife were involved in the Austrian Civil War, they had to leave Austria. They went to Czechoslovakia, where he began working for the Comintern as an editor. In 1938, they went to Moscow, where Fischer continued to work for the Comintern. They lived at Hotel Lux, a luxury hotel that had been built in 1911, and was taken over by the Communist Party after the October Revolution. Following Adolf Hitler's seizure of power, the hotel became a refuge for communist exiles, especially Germans. The Fischers lived there from 1938 until 1945.

When Fischer and his wife arrived at Hotel Lux, the Stalinist purges were still taking place and the exiles living at the hotel were living in a climate of fear and terror. The autumn after their arrival, Fischer came home from work one evening, looking terrified. Gustl Deutsch, an Austrian who had been arrested and had imprisoned, had managed to smuggle him a note to alert him to the danger facing Fischer. Under torture, Deutsch had named Fischer as being involved in a plot against Stalin's life. Although the charges were completely false, by being accused, Fischer was in grave danger and he immediately sought help from Georgi Dimitrov, one of the leaders of the Comintern. Dimitrov replied, "I will be able to save you, but the others...?"

After the war, Fischer remained an important figure in the KPÖ until 1969. He served as Communist Minister of Information in the first post-war government of Renner (April 27, 1945 - December 20, 1945).

Fischer and his wife were divorced in 1954.

His book, Erinnerungen und Reflexionen ("Memories and Reflections"), was released around the same time his ex-wife's book came out, Blaues Blut und rote Fahnen. Revolutionäres Frauenleben zwischen Wien, Berlin und Moskau ("Blue Blood and Red Flags. Revolutionary Female Life Between Vienna, Berlin and Moscow"). The two books covered the same period.

Fischer died on July 31, 1972 in Deutschfeistritz.

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