Jirí Weil was born in 1900 in Prague, and was one of the best-known writers in Central Europe in the 1930s and the immediate post-war years. In 1942 Weil escaped transportation to the Nazi camps by faking his own death. He remained in hiding for the rest of the Second World War and his novels Mendelssohn is on the Roof and Life With a Star are based on these experiences. Weil died in 1959.