On 10 March 1948, Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk – the son of Thomas G. Masaryk, founder of the Czechoslovak state in late 1918 – was found dead under his lst floor apartment window.
A letter from Jan Masaryk to Stalin, dated 9 March 1948, was found in the archives of the former Czechoslovak party’s Central Committee and published in a – now defunct -Czech periodical, Ceske Noviny, in August 1991. (A Polish translation made by Professor Piotr S. Wandycz of Yale University, was published with his introductory remarks in the Polish periodical, Zeszyty Historyczne, no. 100, Paris, 1992, pp. 83-87). In this letter, Masaryk explained that he had believed Stalin’s promises of a free Czechoslovakia, that he could not live without freedom, but also that, like his father, he could not oppose the USSR – therefore he would take his life. Most Czech historians believe the letter was a fake produced by Czech communists to deny that Jan Masaryk was murdered. However, the communists did not publish it. (It is known that Jan Masaryk experienced bouts of depression throughout his life.)
On 13 March 2002, the Czech News Agency CTK announced the following: (1) A Czech expert working for the Office Investigating Communist Crimes found “incontestable evidence” that Jan Masaryk was assassinated before his body was found on 10 March. (2). Zinaida Parchina, who collaborated with the NKVD — forerunner of the KGB, now FSB –said on the Czech radio that the NKVD had probably killed him. She said she knew that two Soviet Secret Agents, General Mikhail Belkin and an aide named Bondarenko, threw the Minister out of the window. She said Belkin bragged about this in the 1950s.
On January 5, 2004, the Czech Press announced that Jan Masaryk had been murdered. A Czech expert in biomechanics – analysis of people falling from a height – stated that “at least one other person” had contributed to Masaryk’s fall. However, the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of Communist Crimes (UDV) did not issue a statement – perhaps to avoid a negative impact on Czech-Russian relations. Czech authorities have failed to secure Russian documents which would point to the murderer. [Czech News Agency – CTK – National News Wire, Jan. 6,2004]. *
*(I would like to thank Prof. Igor Lukes of Boston University for providing this news item.)
Assuming that the NKVD assassinated Masaryk, one might ask: why? Perhaps the final answer will be found some day in the Russian Federal State Security Service (FSB) archives if the Russian government allows it. It is known that Masaryk was planning to leave for the West, and he might have done serious damage to the USSR by revealing what Stalin had promised Benes in 1943-1945, as well as giving inside information about the Communist seizure of power in Feb. 1948.
Nils Trædals vilje til å kjempe for det han hadde kjært kom til uttrykk i hans minnetale over Tsjekkoslovakias utenriksminister Jan Masaryk våren 1948, som var blitt accidented (dvs. drept på en måte som var kamuflert som ulykke) i et fall ut av sitt kontorvindu i Praha. Trædal sa dette om drapet på Masaryk: ‘Slike hendingar fortel vel utan ord meir enn noko anna kva det stundom kostar å gå inn for det ein er overtydd om !‘