Interview: New Book Highlights Life Of Statesman Vic Fischer

Vic Fischer, Koni Wolf and Lothar Wloch stand on the frozen Arctic Ocean near Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oil field. The 1975 trip fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing the Arctic together. Photo courtesy Vic Fischer, “To Russia With Love.”

In 1924, Vic Fischer was born in Berlin, Germany, as a citizen of both the U.S. and Russia. That complicated- worldly start in life is a small glimpse into the extraordinary childhood of one of Alaska’s most loved statesmen.

Fischer tells the fascinating story of his early life, which includes escaping from both Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia in his new autobiography, “To Russia With Love, An Alaskan’s Journey.” The book, co-written with Charles Wohlforth, also explores how Fischer ended up in Alaska and became one of the youngest delegates to Alaska’s constitutional convention and also worked as a city planner, a state senator, and a professor.

His mother was Russian and his father, a famous American journalist and author. Fischer spent a lot of his childhood in Russia, but in 1939, under Stalin’s brutal dictatorship his mother needed to get him and his older brother out of the country.

Vic Fischer has a new autobiography called, “To Russia with Love, An Alaskan’s Journey,” written with Charles Wolhforth. They will celebrate the book’s publishing with a book launch at the Consortium Library at UAA on Tuesday from 5-7 p.m.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori