Jiří Dienstbier

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Jiří Dienstbier
Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia
In office
10 December 1989 – 2 July 1992
Preceded byJaromír Johanes
Succeeded byJozef Moravčík
Senator from Kladno
In office
25 October 2008 – 8 January 2011
Preceded byLadislav Svoboda
Succeeded byJiří Dienstbier Jr.
Personal details
Born(1937-04-20)20 April 1937
Kladno, Czechoslovakia
Died8 January 2011(2011-01-08) (aged 73)
Prague, Czech Republic
Political partyKSČ
Alma materCharles University in Prague

Jiří Dienstbier (20 April 1937 – 8 January 2011) was a Czech politician and journalist.


Born in Kladno, he was one of Czechoslovakia's most respected foreign correspondents before being fired after the Prague Spring. Unable to have a livelihood as a journalist, he worked as a janitor for the next two decades. During this time, he secretly revived the suppressed Lidové noviny newspaper.[1]

After the end of communist rule in 1989, he became the country's first non-Communist foreign minister in four decades, a post he held until 1992. Shortly after his appointment in December 1989, Dienstbier and Minister of National Defence Miroslav Vacek called for the withdrawal of 75,000 Soviet troops who had been stationed in the country since the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.[2]

In 2008, he was elected to the Czech Senate for the Kladno region. He died on 8 January 2011 in Prague's Vinohrady Hospital.[3]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2000, the Vienna-based International Press Institute named him one of its 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the past 50 years.[4] In 2013, Dienstbier was posthumously awarded the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award given jointly by the Prague Society for International Cooperation[5] and Global Panel Foundation.


  1. ^ "Jiri Dienstbier: A Czech's career". The Economist. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Cleft Curtains: Czechoslovakia To Open Border With West Germany, Alter Military". Deseret News. 1989-12-16. Archived from the original on 2023-01-17. Retrieved 2023-01-17.
  3. ^ "Zemřel Jiří Dienstbier, první polistopadový ministr zahraničí". Lidovky.cz (in Czech). 2011-01-08. Retrieved 2023-02-09.
  4. ^ "World Press Freedom Heroes". International Press Institute. 2012. Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  5. ^ List of Hanno R. Ellenbogen Award Winners Archived 2014-09-03 at the Wayback Machine on Praguesociety.org

External links[edit]