Tarjeta QSL 2008, Martina Navrátilová

This week in Mailbox: 60 years on, the death of Jan Masaryk remains unresolved; problems downloading Radio Prague’s audio files; fees charged by Czech banks; descendants of Sophie Chotek; Czech tennis legend Martina Navrátilová. Listeners quoted: Aloisie Krasny, Colin Law, Steve Price, Michael Fanderys, Gautam Sharma.

Hello and thanks for tuning in to Mailbox. It’s once again time to read from your letters and e-mails. This one came from Aloisie Krasny from Sydney, Australia. She reacts to a Radio Prague report this week about the fact that sixty years on, the death of Czechoslovak foreign minister and son of the country’s first president, Jan Masaryk, still remains unexplained.

“I am very interested in this topic and I personally believe that he was murdered by the Communist Party. Here in Australia there have been many cases of unsolved murders and the police have been using the services of psychics who of course have been screened. They go through rigid testing before they finally choose someone that they feel the police can work with and now many of these unresolved cases are being solved. Why doesn't the Police Department in the Czech Republic contact the Police Department here in Australia and see if this can assist them in solving Jan Masaryk's death. Two people who have been assisting the police are Deb Webber, an Australian, and Kelvin Cruickshank, a New Zealander.”

I’m not sure if Czech detectives consulted psychics in this particular case but there have been a number of cases in recent years, especially of missing people, when clairvoyants have been approached by investigators.

And it is from New Zealand that our longtime listener Colin Law sent this complaint about problems he has listening to Radio Prague over the internet:

Despite several years of following ABC of Czech, Czech by Numbers and Living Czech on the internet I have not been following SoundCzech. The reason is that the programme relies heavily on being able to hear the songs and almost every time I try to listen the internet tells me ‘the connection timed out’. The earlier programmes were easy to follow through the printed words, although I sometimes listened to the audio version to learn pronunciation. I don't recall having ‘time out’ problems in those years. However, I fear that increased interest in Radio Prague internet may be the cause of the ‘time out’ with too many browsers around the world downloading audio files.”

I have spoken to our internet section and they say they don’t see any fault here at our end. However, they are still looking into it and have suggested that in the meantime you try and update your RealPlayer, just to rule out any potential incompatibility issues there. No one else has reported any trouble listening recently but if anyone else has difficulty connecting to our website, please do let us know. The more information we have, the more efficiently we can solve such problems.

Steve Price from North Carolina responded to a Talking Point by Dominik Jůn about the fees banks in the Czech Republic charge for their services.

“As a former employee of a major bank here in the USA, I was stunned by the amount of fees the Czech banks can charge. Here in the USA many of those fees are not even charged let alone thought of charging for. It seems the old commie ways are still in the banking industry. After reading the article I could not believe the amount of ‘double talk’.”

Concerning our last month’s mystery lady, Sophie von Hohenberg, Michael Fanderys from Ohio asked this question:

“Are there still any surviving grandchildren of Sophie and Ferdinand living in the Czech Republic or Europe today?”

As far as I could find out, there are four sons of Maximilian and one son of Ernst. The family live in Austria but some descendants also live in France, Argentina and the USA.

Martina Navrátilová  (1956) Czech tennis player  (and American citizen cince 1981). She won the Grand Slam tournament eight times. She dominated women's tennis in the 1980s and won every major tournament. | Photo: ČTK
We are glad that your shortwave reception reports keep coming in despite the increasing availability of internet access worldwide. In exchange for your reception reports we send out QSL cards, this year featuring outstanding Czech athletes. Gautam Sharma from India wrote:

“I’m very pleased that Radio Prague featured Martina Navrátilová, the tennis star as one of your cards, though she is a citizen of the USA since 1981. Certainly, she is one of the greatest tennis stars of all time. And you have to salute her fitness level. Probably, you have been aware of the fact she played mixed doubles at top tennis tournaments including perhaps Grand Slams Tournaments in her late 40s also with India’s Leander Paes a few months back with so much energy and high spirit.”

Things have changed since this letter reached us – this week, Martina Navrátilová announced at a news conference in Tokyo that she had regained Czech citizenship more than 30 years after leaving communist Czechoslovakia for the United States. In fact when Gautam was writing his e-mail, Martina had probably officially regained her Czech citizenship. She said it happened in January. The 51-year-old tennis legend says she decided to maintain dual citizenship and keep her US passport.

And incidentally, in our listeners’ competition this month we want you to tell us the name of another outstanding Czech sporting personality:

March’s mystery man was born in 1861 in the town of Heřmanův Městec. Besides being a prolific writer, translator, teacher and later President Masaryk’s chief of protocol, he was also one of the founding members of the International Olympic Committee and its general secretary at one point.

As always, your answers should reach us by the end of the month, at [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic. But Mailbox will be back next week, same time, same frequency. Till then, take care.