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Rabbi Karol Sidon (1942) - Biography


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Karol Sidon was born on 9 August 1942 in Prague. His father Alexander Sidon was of Slovak Jewish descent, his mother was a Czech Christian. In 1944 his father was arrested by the Gestapo and before the end of the year was executed in the Terezín fort. For several months prior to the end of the war, Karol and his mother went into hiding for fear of deportation. His mother remarried in 1948. Her second husband was also of Jewish descent, a survivor of several concentration camps. In 1960 Karol Sidon graduated from high school and in 1964 finished studies of screenplay and dramaturgy at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He worked in the Czechoslovak Radio, in the Short Film company, and as an editor of Literární listy magazine. Ever since late 1960s he had publisjed novels (Dream about My Father, Dream about Myself, The Sting of God), wrote theatre plays, and collaborated with film director Juraj Jakubisko on several movies. Since 1970 the regime prevented him from publishing and he had to do manual labor. He signed Charter 77 as a result of which he was followed by the secret police and detained several times. In 1978 he converted to Judaism. Under police pressure in 1983 he decided to seek exile in Germany. He studied Judaism in Heidelberg, continuing in 1990 in Israel. Ever since 1992 he held the function of the Chief Rabbi of the City of Prague and of the Czech Republic. Ever since 2014 he has been publishing fiction under the pseudonym of Chajim Cigan. He is a father of four children, is divorced and lives in Prague.

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