Czech WWII resistance fighter Josef Balabán gets memorial plaque in home town

Balabán was a member of the Three Kings resistance group that conducted sabotage operations against Nazi occupiers in Czechoslovakia.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 06.06.2021 09:38 (updated on 06.06.2021)

A memorial plaque to Czech resistance fighter Josef Balabán, a member of the legendary anti-Nazi group the Three Kings, was unveiled in his home town Dobříš on Friday. Gripen fighter planes piloted by members of the Czech air forces took part in the event, which was held on the anniversary of Balabán's birth in 1894.

The ceremonial unveiling of the plaque was organized with the support of the Czech Defense Ministry and the Colloredo-Mansfeld aristocratic family, which takes care of the surrounding forests.

The memorial plaque was erected between the buildings of Hájovna Obora, where Balabán had lived.

Dobříš Mayor Pavel Svoboda said one of the townspeople interested in history pointed out that Balabán was born in their town, and that should be remembered somewhere.

"All of us liked this idea very much," Svoboda said, adding that many people did not know that Balabán had been born in Dobříš.

Balabán (1894-1941) was a member of the Czechoslovak legions during the first World War, and when he returned to the newly established Czechoslovakia he joined its army. After Nazis occupied the country in 1939, he worked with the Defense of the Nation resistance group.

Together with two other military officers, Josef Mašín and Václav Morávek, Balabán formed the Three Kings group that conducted sabotage operations and gathered intelligence about developments in the Nazi-controlled country. They handed the information to the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London.

Their most famous sabotage operations were bomb explosions in Germany. The explosions took place in Leipzig, Munich and Berlin, where Heinrich Himmler was nearly killed in February 1941.

Although the Nazis managed to infiltrate and later liquidate the non-communist Czech resistance, the Three Kings escaped them because of their strict rules of conspiracy.

But Nazi forces succeeded in seriously wounding Balabán in a gunfight and arresting him in April, 1941 and they executed him in October. In memoriam, Balabán was elevated to the rank of brigadier general in 1947, and to major general in 2005.

Mašín was arrested in May of 1941, also after the Nazis injured him in a gunfight, and shot dead in June, 1942. Morávek was killed in a shootout in Prague in March, 1942.

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