New American Ambassador to Czech Republic Recalls Family Ties

Andrew Schapiro highlighted his family’s ties to the Czech Republic as he took over as the U.S. ambassador there.

Schapiro, 51, a Chicago lawyer, handed his credentials to the Czech president on Tuesday.

His late mother, Raya, was born in Prague in 1934 and fled to the United States in 1939 after the country then known as Czechoslovakia was occupied by Nazi Germany.

“It is very fulfilling to serve at the embassy which gave my mother a visa and saved her life,” said Schapiro, who is Jewish. Raya Czerner Schapiro became a psychiatrist, author and educator, a choice influenced by her Holocaust experiences.

In her 2006 book, “Letters from Prague: 1939–1941,” she compiled correspondence from her grandmother and uncle who stayed in Prague and died under the Nazi occupation. Czerner Schapiro died in 2007.

Schapiro, a Harvard Law School classmate of President Obama, raised an estimated $1.26 million for Obama’s presidential campaigns.

He succeeds Norman Eisen, who served in Prague from 2011 to this year.

Eisen’s mother, a native of Sobrance in today’s Slovakia, survived the Holocaust and settled in Prague after the war. She fled to the United States after the 1948 communist takeover of Czechoslovakia.


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

New American Ambassador to Czech Republic Recalls Family Ties

Thank you!

This article has been sent!