The Three Kings, comprised of three brave members called Josef Mašín, Václav Morávek, and Josef Balabán, was a group which risked their lives for the resistance movement when Czechoslovakia was annexed by Nazi Germany.
All three of the men would eventually die at the hand of the Nazis, but from the years of 1939 to 1942, they played an enormous part in the contributions to the Czechoslovakian cause through their heroic acts.
They spent their time relaying important information to the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London through radio transmitters- sending news and information about both economic and political developments, as well as sharing vital information about German transports.
The Three Kings were also renowned for two bomb assassinations in Berlin which they had carried out against the Germans. One assassination saw a suitcase of explosives successfully placed in police headquarters and at the Ministry of Air Travel. Another saw the successful bombing of German soldier’s transport after they added an explosive to coal.
They were also responsible for other bomb attacks in Leipzig and Munich. Further acts of sabotage they were behind included setting fire to factories, collecting weapons for the resistance and helping other resistance agents escape from the Nazis.
The Three Kings worked on these assassinations and sabotages under the leadership of Josef Balabán, who was eventually arrested in Prague’s Dejvice district in April of 1941 and executed in October of the same year after months of relentless torture. He never betrayed his two friends.
Josef Mašín faced a similar tragic fate after he was captured by the Gestapo when he was caught broadcasting to London from his Prague apartment. At the time he was also with Václav Morávek and a radio operator, who both managed to escape. Unfortunately, in the scramble to leave Mašín was wounded and arrested.
Over months he was held as prisoner and interrogated, woefully tortured to such a terrible extent that his appearance was beyond recognition. He frequently tried to end his life while stuck there- refusing to give his captors information. He was also executed in June of 1942, shouting “Long live Czechoslovakia!” as his final words.
Václav Morávek, the youngest member of Three Kings, continued transmitting information to London after his friends were captured. Unfortunately, the Nazis eventually caught up with him when he met with a famous agent Paul Thümmel. After a shootout, he was killed by a Nazi bullet.
The daring acts of the Three Kings hugely aided the efforts of the resistance, and for that reason they will be remembered always as the embodiment of Czech courage.