Jan Masaryk

(1886–1948)

Jan Masaryk

Anecdote...

Early in his career, Jan Masaryk served as Czech ambassador to the United States. At a party he was prevailed upon by the hostess to play the violin. He graciously accepted the invitation and played a Czech nursery song, to rapturous applause from all present. He left the party with a Czech friend, who wanted to know why on earth he had been asked to play the violin. Masaryk explained: “Oh, it’s all very simple — don’t you see? They have mixed me up with my father; they mixed him up with Paderewski. And they mixed the piano up with the violin.”

Biographical Note: 

Jan Masaryk was the son of the founding president of Czechoslovakia. He became foreign minister in London when the Czech government was in exile during World War II. He remained foreign minister after the war but died as a result of a “fall” from a window, not long after the Communist takeover in 1948.