The Three Kings: Heroes of the Czechoslovak resistance. One stamp introduced by Czech Post

August 22nd, 2017

Three Kings (Tři králové) was the nickname of a famous Czech anti-nazi resistance group from 1939-1942. is happy to introduce to our readers’ attention a special stamp by Czech Post that is dedicated to this anti-Nazi resistance group and depicts the portraits of its members (Josef Balabán, Václav Morávek and Josef Mašín). We invite everyone to access an exquisite design of this special philatelic item!

The Three Kings was the code name given by the Gestapo to the intelligence and sabotage group of the National Resistance movement. Its members were Lieutenant Colonel Josef Balabán, Lieutenant Colonel Josef Mašín and Brigadier General Václav Morávek. The group collected intelligence information and prepared and carried out sabotage and diversion events. Its formation began shortly after the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939 as part of the National Resistance movement.

In the early spring of 1940, the German security police managed to destroy almost the entire existing Czech resistance. The Three Kings avoided detection mainly due to the strict adherence to the conspiracy measures. Lieutenant Colonel Josef Balabán was the first one of the Three Kings arrested by the Gestapo on 22 April 1941. After a brief shootout, he was injured and detained. He did not betray his colleagues despite being tortured during the interrogation. He was executed on 3 October 1941. Lieutenant Colonel Josef Mašín was arrested during a radio transmission to London on 13 May 1941.

The Gestapo raided the flat in the house in the Pod Terebkou street at Prague-Nusle. Mašín covered the retreat of Brigadier General Václav Morávek and radio operator František Peltán. He was wounded and arrested. He did not reveal anything during interrogations although he was also tortured. He was executed by a firing squad at the shooting range at Prague-Kobylisy on 30 June 1942.

The only surviving member of the group, Brigadier General Václav Morávek, continued resistance activities. He maintained his contact with Paul Thümmel and received intelligence from him. This became fatal to Morávek. On 21 March 1942, he attempted to free his collaborator Václav Řehák and was severely wounded during a shootout. He then either shot himself dead or, according to some other sources, was shot dead by a Gestapo member.