Yuri Ivanovich








So this is Dr. Sum roll 2 interview on the 28th January 1996.

Dr. Sum, can we just pick up at the point we got to. Was it your view at the time, your own personal view at the time, that Masaryk had committed suicide?


Well at that time it was absolutely clear, not only to me, but to all of us who have surrounded the minister, that I do not like to use this word suicide, that he was offering his life for the country. I'm using this word, yeah, it's the same, but you see it's a little bit ethical or something like that. Because we knew a lot of things which were before that, his behaviour, his words, to each of us he said something, yeah, quite clearly. For example, to Heindrich he said one day, several days before that; come with me to the window and look down from the window, there will be one day Masaryk, downstairs, absolutely clearly. Yeah. To me the day when he returned from Benes, that was on the ninth, after two o'clock in the afternoon, so we came and we were absolutely alone in our room, because he has released his body guard ....., he called him Clifton, yes, and he sat down, what was not his normal behaviour, and he began to discuss with me things where we were discussing different things, but never he sat down in our room, secretarial room, because his room was besides. And he was discussing with me his personal affairs, money, some materials, some documents and so on. Asking what would happen when so and so on, and I was a little bit amazed by that, because it was not his normal manner. I know that he, for example, several days before that he burned some things upstairs in the kitchen, just on the third floor there was a flat of, the valet of him yeah, who was helping, and there were two with their families, and he took to him some papers asking him to burn it. Well things not usual for him. And, well we just knew it, and returning to this which were the topics of our discussion, were, he said this situation is very very bad, and, this will take a long long time, and I, a little bit uneasy, told him; well Mr. Minister, I suppose that our Western friends were ... well could be prepared to help us a little bit, at that time. And he said; no no no no. I won't leave it, or I won't be here, yeah, I won't be here. Perhaps you, that's me, you will be here. Yeah. Like no well it took forty years after that. So that was my personal meeting with him. Afterwards he went up to his to his flat, and I didn't see him, only twice I phoned him upstairs, we were discussing some some normal things, but I didn't see him, only in the morning when he was dead already. And since that time I didn't leave him up to the b......, to the you know last day I put him, not only me, but .... I covered his face with a, with a how do you call it, a handkerchief or something like that, and that. So we saw him up to the last moment I was present at the post-mortem, when his body was examined by the professionals, yeah, so I know what it was there, it was absolutely clearly a following of the crash down, yeah, of the fall down, nothing other, no shoot wound, nothing oth. Saw the inside destroyed and saw the hips were destroyed, this, the .....s were destroyed and so on, but no other, then there was a chemical, how do you call it, examination absolutely negative, yeah, afterwards. Not at the time. So it was clear for us that thewas no third in, well no act of third persons, at that time. And afterwards only it was quite understandable that the people couldn't understand why a man of this nature could have committed this act of self presenting to the nation, or something like that. So they thought that that was a murder. And it is up 'till now I have a lot of troubles up to this days with it, always somebody's very, not somebody, many people are very very angry when I say; well I'm sorry I wasn't there, nobody was there at this moment, but 99% it is clear that it was not a murder. It was a personal decision of the Minister. And at this, perhaps it is very important that Masaryk saw the situation quite clearly at that time. Benes saw it too. But it took a little bit more to Benes to realise that it is necessary for him to resign too. He resigned on


Now for the crowds who lined the route for that funeral ceremony, was it to them the end of Czechoslovakia's dreams for an independent democratic future at this point?


I suppose yes. you used the word; the end of the Czech, Czechoslovak democracy. These words were used by Masaryk in Moscow, already, I've forgotten to to stress it, when they were leaving Stalin, so he said to Heidrich, who was accompanying him, that's the end of the Czechoslovak democracy, and he was right, unfortunately. And afterwards, in March, after the death of the Minister, there were tens of thousands of people, I remember it, the coffin was lying in state for three days, we were guarding it and so on, and there were really tens of thousands of people who were coming to say farewell to the Minister, the last farewell. They were crying and flowers and so on and so on. But the general persuasion was that that was really the end. We felt it like that, unfortunately.


That's that's very moving, thank you. . I'd like just to go back on on a couple of points then with you. . I'd like you just to say again Dr. Sum, what you've just told me, which I didn't know, what were the words that, we won't, we will only use one version of this, so don't worry that you are repeating yourself, there's no need to say; as I've already said, because we won't have heard you say it beforehand, so, what were the words that Masaryk used to Heidrich in Moscow after his meetings with Stalin, the ones you've just used to me about this is the end of democracy...


...Yes, yes, I am repeating these words which I have heard from Heidrich directly, that is the end of the Czechoslovak democracy, when leaving Stalin, that means after this, that discussion around a Marshal Plan. And he was right, unfortunately, because the next steps were absolutely negative for the democracy here. One step after another, up the the February coup, in '48, that means a difference of seven, eight month.