Milos Pojar, post-communist Czechoslovakia’s first ambassador to Israel, has died in Prague at the age of 71.
The Czech media said Pojar, a writer, historian and diplomat, died Monday in a hospital in the Czech capital.
As Czechoslovakia’s first ambassador to Israel following the 1989 Velvet Revolution, Pojar oversaw the re-establishment of relations between Prague and the Jewish state. His son Tomas currently serves as the Czech Republic’s ambassador to Israel.
In the late 1990s Pojar became the director of the Educational and Cultural Center of the Jewish Museum in Prague, where he served until 2006. He also was a visiting lecturer at the New York University in Prague.
Pojar wrote many books and articles on Jewish and Israeli themes, though the communist regime barred him from being published between 1970 and 1990. Shortly before his death he completed work on a book about the relationship between Czechoslovakia’s founding president, Tomas Masaryk, and the Jews.
“Above all, we owe him the work he carried out for Czechoslovak and Czech relations with Israel, and also Czech-German relations,” Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said in a statement. “As first Czechoslovak ambassador to Israel he significantly contributed to the deepening of our relations.”