Jiri Langer was born in Prague in 1894, into an assimilated, 'westernized', Jewish family. During his lifetime he travelled a great deal but always returned to Prague until the onset of the Second World war in 1939 forced him to escape and eventually find refuge in Palestine. He died in 1943.
During one of his earlier excursions in 1913, Langer had travelled to Belz where he stayed with an entourage of eccentric rabbis. The experiences of the world of mystical faith which he encoutnered inspired him to produce an autobiographical, anecodotal account entitled Nine Gates to the Chasidic Mysteries. When it was published in 1937 it was hailed as a literary masterpiece. However, less than two years later it was banned by the Nazis with any existing copies being confiscated.
Langer was a friend of Franz Kafka and was also one of Sigmund Freud's earliest admirers. During his career he wrote a number of studies of Jewish ritual and literature, applying Freud's theories along the way.
As well as writing in Czech and German, he also composed a number of poems in Hebrew and translated the works of the ebraici poets.