Controversy Was Czech Leader Jan Masaryk Murdered Part 2

About the controversy surrounding the death of Czech leader Jan Masaryk, history and exploration of whether it was murder.




Official Version: At noon on Mar. 10, Communist Minister of the Interior Vaclav Nosek appeared before the Czech parliament and reported that Masaryk had committed suicide because of criticism he had received for remaining in the cabinet after the Communist coup. "During the night," Nosek said, "Mr. Masaryk must have read a number of letters and telegrams from his former friends in England and America full of reproaches about their disappointment over his uncompromising attitude during the recent crisis." The Communists said that a verdict of death by suicide was inescapable since the window from which Masaryk fell was inconveniently located behind a couch; therefore, he could not have fallen out of it accidentally.

Theories and Unanswered Questions: The endless array of questions concerning Masaryk's death begins with the bathroom window. There was not only a couch in front of it, but also a radiator. In addition, it was very hard to open and only half the size of an easily accessible window in Masaryk's private bedroom--a key factor when one considers that Masaryk was a 200-lb. six-footer who would have had to squeeze his bulk through the bathroom window. From here the questions go off in a hundred different directions. Why were there smears of excrement on the bathroom windowsill and on Masaryk's body when forensic experts agree that people about to commit suicide don't lose control of their bowels? (Those who are in the final stages of suffocation, however, normally do lose control.) Why were there paint chips under Masaryk's fingernails and scratches on his hands and stomach, indicating a struggle? Why were there signs of violence in his apartment--furniture overturned and vials of medicine trampled all over the bathroom floor? How could Masaryk's large body have landed with enough impact to shatter the heel bones but not telescope the legs up into the torso, as is usually the case when victims of high falls land on their feet? Why did the police physician, Dr. Jaramir Teply, describe the heels as having been beaten "repeatedly with a very heavy instrument, for example a hammer"? Why would Masaryk, known as an unusually fastidious man with an inordinate fear of physical pain, choose to throw himself out a window clad only in a mismatched pair of pajamas when he had 50 to 60 sleeping pills and a loaded revolver by his bed? And, if he had planned on killing himself, why would he spend his last night working on a future speech instead of a suicide note, take two sleeping pills, and ask his butler to wake him at 8:30 in the morning?

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