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Junge Welt, Germany
By W.L. Katz
New York Times
El Pais
From Ireland

  Harry Fisher  was one of about 2,800 U.S. volunteers who went to fight in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War.
The commitment they made there keeps inspiring and encouraging people around the world to continue the good fight for a better world, peace, and justice.
 
By W.L. Katz

 

Testimonial received from William Katz

Remembering Harry Fisher

Harry Fisher was the best of human beings, a man whose first thoughts were about others and how his struggle and sacrifice might help people. I found this out the first minute I met Harry in 1986 in Spain. Marc Crawford introduced me to Harry as he sat at a table in Madrid in vigorous discussion with Steve Nelson. Harry was talking about his favorite topic, Oliver Law, the Lincoln Brigade commander whom he served and remembered so vividly and fondly. Harry was recounting his first-hand recollection as Captain Law's runner that day of his gallant death on the battlefield at Brunete -- and he was imploring Steve as VALB commander to let him jump into the fight for his Law's reputation. Almost every time I spoke with Harry the topic was Captain Law, and Harry's fierce determination to challenge anyone who dared to perpetuate falsehoods.

When I sat down Harry immediately engaged me with his detailed recollection of Law's death tragic battlefield and with stories of the respect his comrades had for their Black commander. He was fulminating at the effort of William Herrick, a Lincoln turncoat -- repeated by a columnist for Village Voice -- which scurrilously characterized Law's death in what Steve Nelson called "the language of the slave master."

Harry believed Herrick singled Law out for attack, because Law as a Black man might be more vulnerable than others, and Harry gave racist no quarter. Harry had become a close friend of Marc -- with whom I was collaborating on a Lincoln Brigade book for young adults that would feature Oliver Law, so he immediately embraced me. Following that afternoon in Madrid Harry and I talked often at his home where I met his lovely wife and collaborator Ruthie, at Brigade gatherings, and on the phone. Harry's conversations rarely strayed from his great passion -- his fond recollections of Oliver Law, the loyalty and warmth he generated among those under his command, and Harry's readiness to answer any detractor.

Over the last decade and a half I found Harry to be gentle, warm, passionate and persuasive, a pleasure to talk with, generous and modest to a fault, always offering his help. He gave me all the interview time I wanted, lent me a two rare history volumes from his library -- and not until I read an obituary of Harry did I find out that he has been severely wounded in Spain.

When an article I wrote for American Legacy led to Oliver Law's daughter and granddaughters contacting Harry and me, he was absolutely delighted, sent them copies of his book, and seemed to find a rewarding personal circle had been completed. He wrote about it in the next edition of The Volunteer.

Harry, proud runner and staunch defender of Commander Law, completed his final circle at 92 when he joined the huge Saturday New York march against the war. Then he finally felt he could leave us for a more peaceful place, and a rendezvous with his beloved comrade and commander.

William Loren Katz

 

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