A renewed investigation into the death of Czechoslovak foreign minister Jan
Masaryk is taking into account the results of a study by investigators
Martin Čemák a Jan Špička who claim that Masaryk was not pushed from
his bathroom window in the early hours of that fatal day in 1948.
After analysing the position of the body in relation to the injuries sustained, the investigators concluded that Masaryk must have fallen from the wide ledge at some distance from his bathroom window where someone leaning out would not have been able to reach him. “He fell straight as a candle, facing the building, hitting the ground on his heels,” Jan Špička said in an interview for Czech Radio.
This would suggest that he may have fallen after trying to hide on the ledge or reach another window.
There have been several investigations into Jan Masaryk’s death. Those conducted during the communist regime concluded it had been suicide, one undertaken after the fall of the communist regime claims it was murder.
A series of events are set to take place in New York and Washington this week to mark the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of Pilsen by US troops. The main goal of the events, which culminate on Wednesday at the National Bohemian Hall, is to invite Americans to take part in the annual freedom celebrations, which are going to be even bigger this year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated he would welcome the
presence of Czech President Miloš Zeman at next year‘s Victory Day
celebrations in Moscow. In his New Year’s greetings to the Czech head of
state, President Putin wrote that President Zeman’s presence at the end
of war celebrations in Moscow would symbolize “friendship and mutual
respect between the two nations”.
The message comes in the wake of news that President Miloš Zeman is considering cancelling his planned visit to Russia next year in protest against what he described as Russia’s outrageously insolent reaction to the Czech Parliament’s decision to recognize the day of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia as a day of remembrance for those who had been killed by the invading forces.
Moscow said in response to the news that Prague's efforts to return to the 1968 events in order to incorporate them into the current political context, would not contribute to good relations and cooperation between the two countries.
The local council of Prague’s western Řeporyje district has unanimously voted in favour of building a memorial to the Russian Liberation Army troops that helped fight Nazi forces during the Prague Uprising in May 1945. The vote was preceded by a heated confrontation between the district’s mayor and representatives of the Russian federation about the historical legacy of the troops often referred to in Czech as “Vlasovci”.
The murky death of Jan Masaryk in 1948 has been back in the news recently, after the discovery of fresh evidence prompted the reopening of the case. The new investigation is welcomed by Masaryk’s great-niece Charlotta Kotik, who says that if he had wished to kill himself he would have done it in his characteristic style.
As a result of the Munich Agreement of September 1938, Czechoslovakia ended up losing 30% of its territory, a third of its population and the greater part of its industry and raw materials. Few people had much faith in the country’s long-term survival as a democracy amid dictatorships. It was, as Jan Masaryk put it, an “experiment in vivisection”. The radio archives give a vivid picture of the consequences of that experiment, which was to last less than six months and end in occupation and eventually war.
Thanks to a unique sound recording acquired by Czech Radio, the state attorney’s office has ordered a new investigation into the death of foreign minister Jan Masaryk, son of the country’s first president T.G. Masaryk, in February 1948. His great niece Charlotta Kotik has welcomed the news and is hoping to help the investigation.
The state attorney’s office has ordered that the case of the death of Jan
Masaryk be reopened, Právo reported on Wednesday. This follows the recent
discovery of a recorded statement from a police officer who was first on
the scene when Masaryk’s body was found beneath a window at Prague’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March 1948.
The case will now be investigated by the police’s Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, which has looked into it several times in the past.
Jan Masaryk was the only democratic minister remaining in the Czechoslovak government after the Communist takeover of 1948. The official interpretation is that the minister was murdered.
Pavel Mikeš, the Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia, studied African History and Linguistics at Charles University in the 1980s. Despite not being allowed to travel to the continent under communism, he managed to learn fluent Swahili and Amharic, the dominant Ethiopian language, along with English and French. After a long career in academia, he joined the Czech Foreign Ministry in 1999, and has since served as head of mission or ambassador in several other African countries. Along the way, he has written books on the history and geography of Ethiopia,