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.
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.