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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 8 of Episode 84

47:58There are sections of our community who have strong feelings against communists and the Communist Party. Yet even they have to admit that some of the leaders of the Communist Party had played an exceptional role in the liberation of South Africa. One such a leader was Bram Fischer. A book on his life had just been published and we thought it appropriate to rebroadcast this profile we prepared in 1996.Full Transcript and References
48:23Bram Fischer was born in 1908 on a farm near Bloemfontein. He came from a well known legal family. His father, Peter Ulrich Fischer was Judge President of the Free State and his grandfather Abram Fischer had been a cabinet minister in the Union of South Africa. Bram went to Grey College and then onto University of the Free State to study law. A highlight of his career was playing in a team against the All Blacks in 1929 and he was also the first nationalist president of the student parliament. He seemed a model Afrikaner. But when did his ideas change, setting him on a path far removed from that of his fellow Afrikaners? In the 1930s he went to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, he travelled Europe and visited Russia. He came back to South Africa in 1937 and opened his first practice. He married Marley Krige and had three children. He moved fast in the Communist Party and by 1946 was chairman of the central committee. The nationalist government came into power in 1948 and the party was ...moreFull Transcript
51:58There was what seemed to be a very determined effort to humiliate and undermine Bram. The man who was in charge of their section, a man called Du Preez, seemed to take particular delight in trying to humiliate him. He cut Bram’s hair short, he made Bram wear clothes that were far too big for him; he made Bram wash the toilets on his knees with a rag endlessly. And I think that there was a general sense that Bram particularly was targeted because he as an Afrikaner was the real ‘verraaier,’ he was the traitor to the volk. Full Transcript
52:42We learned from your statement that Bram got ill and progressively ill. // We were not told how badly Bram was being treated while he was ill because we only at that stage were getting information from him and he always tried to underplay what was happening to him, but when we’d had two visits with him some weeks apart and in both he was on crutches and in great pain we realized that he just wasn’t getting treatment. // On the 6th of November Bram fell while trying to shower on his crutches. On the 7th of November he asked to see a doctor who didn’t come. On the 8th of November he again asked to see a doctor, but the medical orderly said it was impossible to get a doctor. On the 9th of November Bram was in great pain, a medical orderly provided some analgesics. On the 12th of November Doctor Brand said there was no fracture, I don’t even think he did an examination, but Bram was still in tremendous pain which continued onto the 13th and the 14th. Finally on the 15th of ...moreFull Transcript
54:41Thereafter, he was diagnosed with secondary cancer. The authorities then relented and placed him under his brother’s custody. Bram Fischer died in May 1975.Full Transcript
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