Czechoslovak secret police files reveal interest in Trump couple

Ivana Trump in 2007

The Czechoslovak communist-era secret police took an active interest in the Czech born first wife of US president-elect Donald Trump back in the late 1970s and 80s, according to newly examined archive materials. The StB kept an eye on Ivana Zelníčková after she immigrated to Canada in 1971, and later during her marriage to the American real estate mogul, who was apparently already revealing his presidential ambitions.

Ivana Trump in 2007 | Photo: Christopherpeterson,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY 3.0
The Czechoslovak communist era secret police, or StB, closely followed numerous Czechoslovaks who had managed to leave the county. Aside from seeking to infiltrate exile and dissident groups abroad, it also took an interest in prominent Czechoslovaks such as the former skier turned model and businesswoman Ivana Zelníčková. The Zlín native left Czechoslovakia for Canada in the early 1970s, marrying Austrian real estate agent Alfred Winklmayr in 1971. The pair divorced two years later, and in 1977 Ivana married another real estate mogul, namely Donald Trump, today the president-elect of the United States. The couple’s marriage lasted until 1992.

Newly examined archive materials studied by the Prague-based Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, and first reported on by Czech Television, reveal that Zelníčková was under StB surveillance starting in 1978 – her marriage to Trump piquing the interest of the Czechoslovak security services. A Prague-based skiing associate and secret police collaborator is revealed in the documents to have met numerous times with Ivana Trump during her visits to Czechoslovakia in the 1980s, now as an American citizen. The agent who reported on her went under the code names of “Langr” and “Chod”. The archives also reveal that in 1988 Donald Trump was supposedly considering a presidential run in the 1996 elections, convinced he would emerge victorious. “Despite the fact that it seems like utopia, D. Trump is convinced he can win,” says the text of the recently analysed StB report.

The archives also reveal a file named after Ivana’s father Miloš Zelníček, who was monitored by the StB. During a trip to the US for Ivana’s wedding Miloš Zelníček was subject to an StB-ordered search of his possessions at the airport, interpreted as a warning shot that cooperation was the only way such trips would be permitted in the future. Petr Blažek of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes explained:

Donald Trump,  photo: CTK
“He provided information that the secret police found out anyway from other sources. There is no indication that he was handing over compromising materials to them…but the intervention at the airport was carried out on the orders of an StB officer.”

Records also suggest that after 1978 a so-called “operative file” was established on Ivana Trump, but researchers have yet to locate it. Donald and Ivana trump separated in 1990 and Ivana was later awarded 20 million US dollars in a divorce settlement. Ivana Trump, now 67, recently made headlines by suggesting she could serve as US ambassador to the Czech Republic under a Donald Trump administration.