The Rev Dr Jiří Otter was born in the year 1919 in Pilsen, which is where he found himself in his first employment as a deacon. During the war he undertook a home-study course in protestant theology. He spent the last year of the war as a political prisoner in Germany.
After that he returned to his theological studies, this time officially, in the theological faculty. He worked as an assistant preacher in Bohuslavice nad Metují, and was Vikar in Střítež nad Bečvou and then in Marienbad. He was the minister of Marienbad from 1948 to 1965. From 1952 to 1965 he was also Moderator of the Presbytery of West Bohemia. he worked in the Central church office for over thirty years, from 1972 to 1984 as its General Secretary.
His book about the ECCB – a book which offers an overview of Protestant history from the Bohemian Reformation to the twentieth century – comes from this time. He also taught English and German as an external teacher at the then Comenius Theological Faculty. For many years Jiří Otter significantly influenced the ecumenical relationships of the ECCB, most notably the Czech-German relationships which were so close to his heart.
In further books, published in Czech and in German, he devoted himself to the history of the changeable relationships between Czechs and Germans, from the early days to the present day. In 2009 he published the title, ‘It’s a little different behind bars and barbed wire’, a memoir of his time as a prisoner of the Nazis. This booklet, like all his other publications, he wrote as a contribution to reconciliation between Czechs and Germans which, for him, was a lifelong issue.
He guided countless visitors through the Prague of the Bohemian Reformation, and his guided tour became a book, published in Czech, German, English and Korean. Right into his later years Jiří Otter kept active in publishing, not least with biblical studies and translations. In his humble yet self-confident manner he offered a witness to the way of the Gospel to his church and far beyond. He died in Prague on 2nd February 2018 at the age of 98.