Jewish Heritage Europe

Czech Republic: Tribute book to Jiří Fiedler published


A tribute book honoring the memory and work of the pioneering Czech Jewish heritage researcher Jiří Fiedler, who along with his wife was brutally murdered in Prague last year, has been published.

Called Archivist on a Bicycle, it was published in e-book form by the US.-based  Plunkett Lake Press — and it is available for free from iBooks, Amazon Kindle and other e-book platforms.

The book, a collection of essays, was edited by Helen Epstein, a Prague-born writer who along with her husband founded Plunkett Lake Press and who has written widely about Czech Jewish issues and her family history, and Czech Jewish historian Wilma Iggers.

Contributors include Jewish Heritage Europe coordinator Ruth Ellen Gruber; the director of the Prague Jewish Museum Leo Pavlát; Jewish Museum curator Arno Pařík; Mark Talisman, founding vice chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and head of the Project Judaica Foundation; Samuel D. Gruber, president of the International Survey of Jewish Monuments — as well as other Czech and international experts who knew and worked with Fiedler.

For most of his life Fiedler documented extinct Bohemian and Moravian Jewish communities, sometimes at great danger to himself. Under communism, his day job was as a children’s book editor; his passion was mapping and archiving the sites of Jewish life in the Czech lands. He viewed his “strange hobby” as a decent person’s response to Nazism and Communism.

Jewish cemetery, Brandys nad Labem, Czech Republic
Jewish cemetery, Brandys nad Labem, Czech Republic

From the 1970s through 2014, Fiedler was an invaluable source for scholars, genealogists, museum curators — anyone in the world interested in Czech Jews.

His 1991 book “Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia,” was a milestone in the post-communist rediscovery of Jewish heritage in the Czech Republic, and he continued his work as a director of research at the Prague Jewish Museum, contributing to a growing online database of Jewish heritage that by now includes 1,670 entries.

Download Archivist on a Bicycle — it’s free! — to learn about an extraordinary man whose work and generosity touched anyone who has dealt with Jewish heritage issues in the Czech lands over the past few decades. The essays trace history from when, under communism,  researching Jewish heritage was virtually taboo — until today, when Jewish  heritage occupies a recognized and respected niche in Czech culture and memory.

Link to the book’s page on Plunkett Lake Press

Polná synagogue, Czech Republic
Polná synagogue, Czech Republic






3 comments on “Czech Republic: Tribute book to Jiří Fiedler published

  1. I fondly remember Mr. Fiedler. I was so happy when his precious Guide book about Jewish sights was published in 1991: I used it for my travels through Bohemia and Moravia. I also wrote him a letter in order to thank him and he kindly answered. I’ve heard about his death but I couldn’t imagine that he was murdered… how sad!
    honour to his memory! Enrico Bonaiti – Buchbinder

  2. Pingback: Archivist on a Bicycle: Jiří Fiedler, Helen Epstein, Wilma Iggers
  3. Ought to be remembered.You did it in an extraordinary form.[sharing it with my friends].
    Many thanks,
    Wish you a gut sjabbes!,

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