Klára Poláčková, photo:

In Mailbox today: From the Archives, Radio Prague Easter pages, the first Czech women to conquer the North Pole and Mt Everest. Listeners quoted: Graeme Stevenson, Ben D. Kennedy, Kent Randau.

Welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s weekly programme where you can voice your comments and ask questions concerning our broadcasts.

Graeme Stevenson from Scotland sent us this e-mail:

“I very much enjoyed the recent series of extracts from the Radio Prague archives. Can you please tell me in what month you hope to broadcast a further series? I found the final edition, about Reinhard Heydrich, very interesting. It would be very interesting though if you could play longer extracts in the series, as I found that the clips you played were very short and just made us want to hear more!”

Graeme’s was one of many e-mails praising this programme by David Vaughan. I have good news for all of you who’ve written in saying that you miss the programme – “From the Archives” will be back in the summer.

Ben D. Kennedy from the United States sent in a comment on Radio Prague’s special internet pages dedicated to Easter. He was interested by the photographs of the unusual Stations of the Cross displayed at the Church of the Virgin Mary in the Prague district of Lhotka. The sculptures were made using synthetic resin by the Czech artist Karel Stádník in the early 1970s.

“I just wanted to thank you for posting this page. I added a link to it on my website because I thought the display was so powerful. God Bless.”

Miluše Netolická,  photo: CTK
Regular listeners will know that on April 9, the first Czech woman conquered the North Pole. Thirty-four-year old Miluše Netolická who reached the North Pole as a member of a small expedition, is now back home and resting. Kent Randau from Sweden who listens to our podcasts, recently wrote in to Radio Prague in connection with another brave Czech woman – Klára Poláčková who climbed Mt Everest last year. “I am writing this mail because of a segment I heard this week. It was about Klára Poláčková, who is said to be the first Czech woman to reach the top of Mount Everest. But I think that there is another serious candidate who can claim that title. Renata Chlumská climbed the mountain as early as 1999. Chlumská was born in Malmö, Sweden, but her parents are Czech immigrants and she holds dual citizenship of both Sweden and the Czech Republic.”

Thank you very much for writing in to Radio Prague. It appears that Radio Prague did not report on Klára Poláčková's predecessor last year when Klára reached the top of Mt Everest – even though various other Czech media did write about Renata's achievement in that connection. However, the story was mentioned in Radio Prague’s press review on May 6, 1999:

“Mladá fronta Dnes reports on the first Czech woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The paper is cheating somewhat, as twenty-five-year-old Renata Chlumská, who reached the summit on Wednesday morning, is actually the daughter of Czech emigrés living in Sweden. The paper notes that Chlumská is the fifth Czech, or should I say person of Czech descent, to have reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain.”

And a year later the story appeared on Radio Prague again in the digest from the weeklies:

“The first Czech gal on Everest! rejoices Právo magazine. On May 5 last year, 25-year-old Renata Chlumská found herself on the summit of Mt. Everest to become the first Swedish woman to climb the highest mountain of the world. But also, Právo adds defiantly, the first CZECH GIRL! The mystery was solved when I read that Renata's mom and dad are Czech, and that she also holds a valid Czech passport, in addition to her Swedish nationality. What's more, her rival in the world's all-female battle of Mt. Everest, the top of the world, was Sweden's Tina Sjögren who, before she acquired her new identity, was an Olga Maříková, another Czech.”

In fact Miluše Netolická’s being the first Czech woman at the North Pole was also contested. The Czech press writes that other Czech women had been there before her but they arrived at the place on polar icebreakers whereas Miluše had to walk over a hundred kilometres and had trained for the feat for several months.

And staying with athletic achievements, here’s our monthly competition again:

Our mystery lady was born in Prague in 1932. As a student of medicine she took up the discus and won gold at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. There she fell in love with the American gold medal winning hammer thrower. The couple got married in Prague but she was no longer allowed to represent communist Czechoslovakia. At the subsequent four Olympic Games she represented the US and even carried the US flag at the opening ceremony of the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Please send us your answers as usual to [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. You can also take part in Radio Prague’s annual writing contest – this year also concerning Czech sport. You can find all the details on our website or in our broadcasts throughout the week. Until next week, take care.