The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee asked Condoleeza Rice to help solve a 40-year-old mystery involving the death of a former JDC official. The body of Charles Jordan, a former JDC executive chairman, was found floating in Prague’s Vltava River nearly 40 years ago.
“Grounds to suspect foul play are undeniable given the circumstances, and yet the crime never received its deserved attention,” JDC Executive Vice President Steven Schwager wrote to the U.S. secretary of state on July 19.
Schwager wrote that there has been no significant progress in the investigation. Jordan led JDC’s efforts to help Jewish communities struggling under communist repression in eastern Europe.
Jordan reportedly told his wife on Aug. 20, 1967 that he was going to buy a pack of cigarettes while they were staying at the Esplanade Hotel in Prague but never returned. His body was discovered four days later.
After his presumed murder, the JDC unsuccessfully sought help from the Communist Czechoslovak government to find out what happened to Jordan. The post-communist Czech government also did not turn over files that might have shed light on the case, according to media reports.
“After 40 years, we believe the time is right for the American government to ask our Czech allies to renew their investigation, to assign true professionals, to drop any artificial limitations on their authority, and to help us uncover the truth while the last witnesses are still alive,” Schwager wrote to Rice.