Murder of Jewish heritage researcher probed in Prague

Police in Prague are investigating the murder of Jiri Fiedler, an influential researcher on Jewish heritage in the Czech Republic.

Fiedler, 78, and his wife, Dagmar, 74, were found dead in their apartment last month, but news reports at the time did not reveal their names.

Reports said the murders were believed to have occurred around the end of January, but their bodies were not discovered until mid-February.

Fiedler, who was not Jewish, began documenting Jewish heritage sites in what is now the Czech Republic in the 1970s, riding his bicycle to remote towns and villages to photograph and describe abandoned Jewish cemeteries and former synagogues, rabbis’ homes, Jewish schools and other sites.

His work aroused the suspicion of the authorities, and more than once he was called in by the secret police.

Only after the fall of communism could Fielder publish his 1992 book “Jewish Sites of Bohemia and Moravia.” His work has been transferred into an electronic database of Jewish heritage in the Czech Republic that is regularly updated. — jta