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Series 8, Markoosha Fischer Papers, 1931-1977
Collection Description & Creator Information
- Scope and Contents
Series 8, Markoosha Fischer Papers, 1931-1977, is arranged in three subseries: Correspondence (arranged alphabetically), Writings (arranged alphabetically), and Personal Materials (arranged chronologically), which document her life in Europe as well as her time in the United States. The correspondence does not include letters with her husband and sons, which can be found in Series 9, Family Papers. Some of the general correspondence is in German or Russian, including that with Nikolai Troitsky (Boris Yakovlev), director of the Russian Library in Munich and subeditor for the book Thirteen Who Fled (1949). Another correspondent writing in Russian is Joseph A. Rosen, for whom Markoosha worked for one year in a new Jewish settlement in the Ukraine, before settling in Moscow in 1928.
There is some correspondence with Eleanor Roosevelt, through whose intervention Markoosha and her sons were able to leave the Soviet Union. Correspondence of Paul and Hede Massing, friends from Berlin and Moscow who moved to the United States in the 1930s, is also present. George and Victor Fischer stayed with the Massings for one-and-a-half years (1931-1933), and their letters in Series 9, Family Papers, complement those found here. During the McCarthy era, Hede Massing was convicted of spying for Moscow.
Of particular interest is the correspondence from the Wloch and Wolf families, other German communists who had moved to Moscow during the Nazi regime. Elsa Wolf was Markoosha's best friend in Moscow. Erna Wloch and her children, Lothar and Margot, disappeared in 1942 after the news that her husband, a victim of the Stalin purges of 1937, had died. However, both families turned up in Berlin after the war, and their correspondence covers the immediate post-war period. Erna Wloch, who died in 1946, wrote Markoosha about mutual women acquaintances and their fates under the Nazi regime. The Wolf and Wloch correspondence contains many references to and letters from the boys, Lothar Wloch and Konrad ("Koni") and Markus ("Mischa") Wolf, who were good friends with Markoosha's sons. By 1980, Konrad, who had become a respected filmmaker and head of the Academy of Arts in East Germany, was planning a film about their boyhood friendship, but died before he could complete it. His brother Markus ("Mischa") Wolf, chief of the East German foreign intelligence service, finally wrote a book on the topic: The Troika (1989).
There is disappointingly little correspondence from Markoosha's Menshevik sister Theresa Rubinstein, who served as secretary of a Russian socialist group in Germany before the First World War and with whom Markoosha lived prior to the war. (They also lived together in Copenhagen during the war.) Theresa later moved to New York. Nina Rubinstein, her daughter, was very close to Markoosha in her later years.
The Writings subseries contains material relating to Markoosha's own books, which were based on her experiences in the Soviet Union and in Germany (where she worked for the International Rescue and Relief Committee (IRRC) between 1948 and 1951). Her unpublished manuscripts contain three chapters excluded from her My Lives in Russia. The first two describe her childhood in Lithuania, her youth in a Swiss "finishing school," her time at Lausanne University, and the years afterwards, when she lived with her sister, Theresa. Of particular interest are her anecdotes concerning the Russian revolutionary exiles she met in this period, including Karl Radek, Alexandra Kollontai, Yuri Larin, and Maxim Gorki. Her third chapter, covering the period 1916-1922, contains a full account of her experiences as a secretary and translator at the 1922 Genoa Conference, with a description of all the Russian officials she met. In addition to these early chapters, there is an account of the period from July 1938 to January 1939, originally intended to be published as a sequel to My Lives in Russia. In it, Markoosha describes the Soviet secret police's attempts to recruit her after she had applied for a visa to the United States.
The unpublished manuscripts also contain drafts and notes for a third novel, Anya. Her first novel, The Nazarovs (1948), described four generations of a Russian family between 1892 and 1942 and the perspective of each family member on that time span. The Right to Love (1956), dealt with three love affairs in the post-war ruins of Berlin. In Anya, Markoosha addressed the Jewish question in the Soviet Union. For all four books, including her last, Reunion in Moscow (1962), there is a file with correspondence from the publisher (Harper's), readers and friends, and book reviews (many from scrapbooks).
The Personal Materials subseries contains memorabilia, clippings and publicity (mainly for Markoosha's lecture series), financial records and correspondence (mainly royalty statements) and appointment and address books. Among the memorabilia is a typescript copy of poems by Boris Pasternak.
No arrangement action taken or arrangement information not recorded at the time of processing.
No appraisal information is available.
These papers were processed with the generous support of George Fischer.
- Processing Information
This collection was processed by Helene van Rossum in 2000, with the assistance of Desmond Dorsey '99, Bev Prewitt '02, Lindsey Tripp '04. Finding aid written by Helene van Rossum in 2000. Finding aid updated by Phoebe Nobles in February, 2019.
Access & Use
- Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research use.
- Conditions Governing Use
Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, any copyright vested in the donor has passed to The Trustees of Princeton University and researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of donor-created materials within the collection. For materials in the collection not created by the donor, or where the material is not an original, the copyright is likely not held by the University. In these instances, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have a question about who owns the copyright for an item, you may request clarification by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.
- Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.
- Credit this material:
Series 8, Markoosha Fischer Papers; Louis Fischer Papers, MC024, Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA
- Storage Note:
- Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 39-40
Fischer, Louis. Men and Politics, An Autobiography. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1940. Fischer, Markoosha. My Lives in Russia. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1944. Raucher, Alan. "Beyond the God that Failed: Louis Fischer, Liberal Internationalist". The Historian 44, No. 2 (1982): 174-189.
- Congress for Cultural Freedom.
Liberal Party (U.S.)
Genoa Conference (1922)
Great Britain. Army. Jewish Legion
Allilueva, Svetlana, 1926-2011
Chicherin, G. (Georgiĭ), 1872-1936
Fischer, George, 1923-
Fischer, Viktor, 1924-
Gándhí, Mahátma, 1869-1948
Lenin, Vladimir Ilʹich, 1870-1924
Nehru، Jawaharlal, 1889-1964
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962.
Stalin, Joseph, 1878-1953.
Tito, Josip Broz, 1892-1980
Welles, Sumner, 1892-1961