Until recently Zdeněk Toman was an obscure name to many Czechs. However, his incredible story has now reached a broad audience thanks to an eponymous film about him that was released last autumn. Just this week Toman was nominated for 13 prizes at the upcoming annual Czech Lion awards. I spoke to Martin Šmok, the man who originally discovered his extraordinary story.
This Saturday marks the 70th anniversary of the tragic death of former
diplomat and foreign minister Jan Masaryk.
On March 10, 1948, Masaryk, the son of the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, fell to his death from his bathroom window at the palace that is home to the Czech Foreign Ministry, a few weeks after the coup in which saw the Communists take power in post-war Czechoslovakia.
The suspicious circumstances of his death, described at the time as suicide, have never been fully cleared up. Many believe Mr Masaryk did not jump but was pushed from his window, in other words murdered.
Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický paid homage a day earlier, laying a wreath at the foreign ministry’s main building in Prague. Members of the public can visit the commemorative bust of Jan Masaryk at the Černín Palace ministry building on Saturday.
Saturday marks the 70th anniversary of the still murky death of Jan Masaryk. The son of Czechoslovakia’s founder Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Jan Masaryk was foreign minister in the Czech government in exile in the UK and retained that post until 10 March 1948, when he was found dead beneath the window of his second-floor apartment at the Foreign Ministry’s Černín Palace.
Seventy years ago the new Czechoslovak government was fully in the hands of the Communists. After the Stalinist coup d'etat in February 1948, a wave of arrests started and all democratic opposition was suppressed. Unclassified documents of the US Department of State show the degree of naïveté with which the American diplomats and intelligence officers in Prague faced their communist opponents and the subsequent shocking realization that there was nothing they could do.
Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický paid homage Friday to former
diplomat and minister Jan Masaryk to mark the 70th anniversary his death on
March 10, 1948. Stropnický laid a wreath at the foreign ministry’s main
building in Prague.
Masaryk, the son of the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, fell to his death from the palace a few weeks after the communist coup in which they took over power in post war Czechoslovakia. The suspicious circumstances of his death, described at the time as suicide, have never been fully cleared up.
Members of the public will be able to visit the commemorative bust of Jan Masaryk at the Černínský Palace ministry building on Friday and Saturday.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and Israeli Ambassador to the Czech Republic David Meron on Thursday opened an exhibition recalling the contribution of Czechoslovakia’s first president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and his son, Jan, who later became foreign minister, to the creation of the State of Israel. I spoke with Ambassador Meron during the exhibition launch at Černín Palace and first asked how the idea for such an exhibition arose.
The film Masaryk by director Julius Ševčík won big at the Czech Lions on
Saturday, taking 12 awards including Best Picture. The win surpassed the
previous record of 11 wins set by Burning Bush (dir. Agnieszka Holland) in
2014. Actor Karel Roden, who portrayed the Czech diplomat Jan Masaryk, won
Best Actor, while the award for Best Actress went to Michalina Olszanská
for her role in I, Olga Hepnarova, (the story of a real-life murderer in
The biggest disappointment of the night was for WWII drama Anthropoid, about the assassination of Nazi reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich: the film had been nominated in nine categories but came away empty-handed in all the major awards. It did take a consolation prize, winning in the Film Fan category. Meanwhile, Czech Lions for outstanding contribution to Czech cinematography went to Eva Zaoralová and JiřÍ Bartoška for their peerless organization and running of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
A new biopic exploring aspects of the life of Jan Masaryk will be the most keenly anticipated Czech-produced film at this year’s Berlinale, which gets underway in the German capital on Thursday. A Prominent Patient depicts the famous politician and diplomat at a low point as the clouds of World War II draw near.
A new Czech biopic of politician Jan Masaryk will be shown in the main programme in the Berlin International Film Festival next month. Masaryk, helmed by director Julius Ševčík and starring well-known actor Karel Rodin, focuses on one period of the life of the politician, who was the son of Czechoslovakia’s founder, served as the country’s minister of foreign affairs and is believed by many to have been killed by the Communists in 1948.