Czech Jew who fought with UK during WWII dies

Weiner served in the British air force after fleeing Nazis; spent 5 years in communist prisons after the war, later became professor in the US.

November 26, 2010 22:34
1 minute read.
Jan Weiner

Jan Weiner 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


PRAGUE — Jan Wiener, a Czech Jew who fought in the British air force during World War II after fleeing Nazis in Germany and Czechoslovakia, died on Friday. He was 90 years old.

Jiri Pehe, director at Prague's branch of New York University, said Wiener died Wednesday at Prague's military hospital. The cause of death was not given.

‘Let the Jewish people know we fought’
WWII veteran, 91, celebrates bar mitzva in Jerusalem

Born May 26, 1920 in Hamburg, Germany, to a Czech-German Jewish family, Wiener and his life reflected the turbulence of the 20th century.

His family fled Hitler's Germany for Prague, but Wiener found himself on the run again after Czechoslovakia was occupied by Nazi troops.

He managed to escape to Britain through Yugoslavia and Italy, where he was captured, to join the Royal Air Force's No. 311 Czechoslovak Bomber Squadron.

Wiener's father committed suicide to avoid ending up in the hands of the Nazis. His mother died in the Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp north of Prague.

After the Communists took over Czechoslovakia in 1948, Wiener spent five years in communist prisons, a fate shared by many of his colleagues because the brave fighters anti-Nazi fighters who fought in the West were considered the enemies of the communist state.

In the mid-1960s, Wiener settled in the United States and became professor of history at the American University in Washington, D.C.

After the collapse of communism, he returned to his homeland on a regular basis and became a guest lecturer at Prague's branch of New York University.

Pehe said he remembered Wiener as a brave man who "rarely made a compromise."

"It was admirable that he was still able to give lectures when he was 88," he said.

Wiener is survived by his wife, Zuzana, a son and a daughter.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery