This week in Mailbox: the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain, reception in New Zealand, listeners’ response to possible budget cuts, trying to contact Mr. George Scott from England. Listeners quoted: Evelyn Coviello, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Terje Nielsen, Hans Verner Lollike, Michael Watling, Frank Muzika, Arnost Polak.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox. As the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are celebrating twenty years of freedom, our listeners have been commenting on the anniversaries, among them Evelyn Coviello from New York:

“In a few weeks we will be celebrating our ‘thanksgiving’ here in the U.S. November 9 should be East Europeans’ Thanksgiving. Anyone who lived through Soviet repression deserves a day to reflect on their former lives knowing that ‘hope’ was the one freedom they never had to give up. With the Berlin Wall opening on November 9 1989 that dream of hope became a reality. The caged bird can still sing!”

The fall of the Berlin Wall
Our regular listener Jayanta Chakrabarty from India had this to say:

“Prague Spring never ended with the invasion but continued for 21 long years till the end of the Cold War contributing in its own way to the fall of the Berlin Wall and other events in Central and Eastern Europe. Though I was not fortunate to witness history being made but I stayed glued to live broadcasts of stomach-churning news, reports and interviews from Radio Prague, Radio Netherlands and Deutsche Welle. Czechoslovakia became free to make its own destiny and be integrated with Europe and the world.”

And twenty years after, Radio Prague is devoting a whole series of special programmes to mark the anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain, so please join us for those if you can.

On a different subject, Terje Nielsen wrote in from New Zealand:

“First, I do hope that the rumours out that Radio Prague are stopping the short wave transmissions from 31st of December 2009 are just rumours and that it will be possible to continue to listen to one of my big favorite radio stations on the short waves. Please find enclosed a 1 minute recording of the start of the English transmission. I do hope that you find this of interest that it is possible to listen to your transmission with a good signal here in New Zealand.”

Thank you for the letter and the clip – it’s good to know that New Zealand can hear us loud and clear after the recent reception problems. As for the future of our shortwave broadcasts, we still have no news but we are very grateful for your continuous support. Hans Verner Lollike writes from Denmark:

“I am very concerned regarding the plans to dissolve the SW-broadcasts of Radio Prague. I know that we in our part of the world can use the internet, and your internet site is extremely popular (also with me), but I am sure there is a joint effect of the different ways to communicate, and dissolving SW will result in fewer users of the internet site. Just ask Switzerland or Radio France International about its German service.”

Michael Watling listens in the UK:

“I write to offer listener support against the closure of Radio Prague`s shortwave service. I have listened to your transmissions for over 50 years, my earliest QSL card from you being dated February 1958. Your station is outstanding in all respects including programmes, transmission quality and administration: you have a genuine concern for the listener. I sincerely hope that the necessary funds can be made available to keep your shortwave service running: it is such an outstanding ambassador for your country.”

Thank you very much for those kind e-mails and we will, of course, keep you posted.

Earlier this year we were contacted here at Radio Prague by Mr. George Scott from England, the son of Czechoslovak parachutist Jiří Šnábl who served in Britain. Two gentlemen from England would like to get in touch with Mr. Scott. One of them is Frank Muzika:

“I am on the Committee of the Free Czechoslovak Air Force Association, with special responsibility for its affairs in connection with Brookwood Cemetery, and it is for this reason that I am trying to reach George Scott who emailed you back in February. In his email, which you reported and showed on your website, it is very clear that Mr Scott was heavily involved with the affairs of the Association some years ago, and indeed described himself as a former Trustee, so I really want to get in touch with him.”

The other one is Arnost Polak, also member of the Committee of the Free Czechoslovak Air Force Association in London. For practical as well as privacy reasons we only keep our incoming mail for a short time, so we no longer have Mr. Scott’s e-mail address. If Mr. George Scott is listening and would like to get in touch with Mr. Polak and Mr. Muzika, please contact us at

...which is also the address for our listeners’ feedback as well as your answers to our Mystery Czech competition question. This month we would like you to tell us the name of the man who composed this famous piece of music:

As I said, the address to write to is or, if you prefer, Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Join me again next Sunday if you can and please keep those e-mails and letters coming. Thanks for listening today and good-bye.