September 6, 2018
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Jiří FELIX (b. 21 February 1931, Prague) is a Czech philologist and linguist, for many years the head of the Romanian language department at Charles University in Prague, and author of textbooks, dictionaries and language guides for Romanian language learning. He was born on 21 February in Prague, as the son of an elementary school teacher, but as a child he lived in Most, until 1938. He witnessed the manifestations of German nationalism (the marches of German nationalist students, throwing stones at Czech students), and following the Munich agreement, he moved together with his mother to Trhová Kamenice village. After the German invasion of 15 March 1939 and the dissolution of the Czech school his mother was heading, they reached Beroun, and then Prague, where part of their family was executed by the Nazis after Reinhard Heydrich’s assassination. He was interested in Romanian ever since he was in school. In 1951 he enrolled in the Faculty of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague, where he studied Romanian, specializing in Romanian philology. He travelled regularly to Romania in mid 1950s and attended, starting with 1954, Romanian language courses at the University of Bucharest, held by professors and linguists such as Iorgu Iordan, Alexandru Graur and Boris Cazacu. He became a specialist in Romanian language, highly appreciated by linguists in Romania. He received a Ph.D from the University of Bucharest. Beginning with 1967, after his return from Romania, he was a professor within the Romanian language department at the Faculty of Letters at Charles University in Prague, and head of the department between 1979 and 2002. He authored and published a modern Romanian language textbook entitled Teach Yourself Romanian, which was issued in three editions and is used by Czechs who want to learn Romanian, as well as dictionaries, conversation guides and a series of specialized language studies dedicated to Romanian language. He was president of the Czech-Romanian Friendship Association and held Romanian language courses under the aegis of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Prague. In recognition of his scientific and pedagogical merits, the University of Bucharest awarded him the title of Professor Honoris Causa in 1998. Moreover, in 2009, the Romanian Academy gave Prof. Jiři Felix the diploma the “Academic Merit” for promoting Romanian language abroad. He received the National Order of Faithful Service as a Grand Officer, awarded by the President of Romania “for special services to the promotion of Romanian language and culture in the Czech Republic by studying them within the specialized department of Charles University in Prague, by elaborating high-quality scientific works, by translating numerous Romanian literary works into Czech, as well as for his remarkable activity carried out within the Czech-Romanian Friendship Association.