December 3, 2018 — New York
AJC has appointed Tomas Kraus as the global Jewish advocacy organization’s representative in Prague. The Czech Republic is one of seven countries in the region that AJC Central Europe, based in Warsaw, engages. The other six are Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia.
“We are thrilled to have Tomas Kraus officially represent AJC in the Czech Republic, a key country that has long been a special friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” said Agnieszka Markiewicz, director of the Shapiro Silverberg AJC Central Europe Office. “His many years of experience as a longtime and admired leader in the Czech Jewish community, and interactions with senior government officials, will enhance our organization’s work, especially given current challenges.”
AJC, a strong advocate for the transatlantic partnership, has maintained a long friendship with the Czech Republic that included full support for Czech admission to NATO and integration into the European Union. The Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic was the first in Europe to sign an association agreement with AJC. Kraus has regularly welcomed AJC delegations to Prague and participated in the annual AJC Global Forum in Washington, D.C.
“To represent AJC in the Czech Republic is for me not only prestigious, but also natural and meaningful,” said Kraus. “The American Jewish Committee always has been a role model for us. I have been cooperating with AJC since the mid-1990s, when the Czech Jewish community started from scratch to rebuild its whole infrastructure,” following the Velvet Revolution. “AJC leaders have become for us not only valuable professional partners, but also true friends.”
Kraus, a music producer and lawyer, has dedicated most of his career to the Jewish community. He was instrumental as director of the Federation of Jewish Communities in negotiating the return of Jewish property and compensation of Holocaust survivors. One of the major successes was the return of the Jewish Museum in Prague in 1994. He has also been cited by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a native of Czechoslovakia, as a friend and adviser.
To mark this year’s 100th anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia, AJC published an essay in English and Czech entitled “A Jewish Ode to the Czech Republic: An Essay in Honor of the Czech Centenary.”