Miloš Havel

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Miloš Havel
Miloš Havel 1942.jpg
Havel in 1942
Born (1899-11-03)3 November 1899
Died 25 February 1968(1968-02-25) (aged 68)
  • Publisher
  • Filmmaker

Miloš Havel (3 November 1899 – 25 February 1968) was a Czech publisher and filmmaker. Havel established Barrandov Studios, which produced propaganda films for the government of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Though Havel was forced to sell his share in the organization during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, he remained in charge of the studio and protected its staff from deportation. After World War II his wartime activities were criticized heavily, and he was put on trial for charges relating to collaboration with Nazi Germany. Though acquitted, he was banned from working in the film industry. He left the country on his second attempt, and settled in Munich. He was the uncle of Czech statesman Václav Havel.


Havel ran the movie theater Lucerna Palace in Prague and later established the Barrandov Studios.[1][2] During the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, Havel was forced to sell his share in Barrandov Studios but he remained in charge, and protected its staff from forced labour in Germany.[2] At that time, Barrandov Studios produced newsreels and propaganda films for the government of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia as well as Czech productions.[2][3] Havel was later credited with using his influence in the Protectorate to enable Lída Baarová, the former mistress of Joseph Goebbels, to perform in what have become some of her best films.[4]

Following World War II, Havel was denounced from a variety of quarters for his wartime activities; though sometimes the accusations were politically motivated, even Havel family friend Jaromír Kopecký privately confided in Václav Havel his opinion that Havel was a Nazi collaborator.[5]

Havel attempted to emigrate, but his exit visa was denied.[5] In March 1949, he was arrested and put on trial on charges related to collaboration with Nazi Germany.[6] The prosecution also alleged that he had used Lucerna Palace to fulfill his "perverted cravings" for young men.[6][a] Ultimately cleared of the charges against him due to lack of evidence, he was nevertheless banned from working in the film industry as "morally unfit", and Barrandov Studios was nationalized.[6][7] Havel attempted to skip the country in 1949, but was arrested by Soviet authorities and deported back to Czechoslovakia where he was sentenced to one year of labor.[3][6][b] Released early due to poor health,[3][6] he went to stay with the family of Václav Havel, receiving a mixed welcome on his arrival with Václav Havel's mother telling Havel the family had experienced "enough troubles already because of you".[5]

Havel left the country a second time in 1952, ultimately settling in Munich where he filed suit against UFA GmbH for not paying for its wartime use of Barrandov.[3][6] Havel used the proceeds from his successful suit to go into business in Munich.[6]

Personal life and legacy[edit]

Havel was the uncle of Václav Havel.[8] In 1999, Václav Havel organized a hundredth birthday party for his late uncle.[9] A film on the life of Miloš Havel, with a screenplay by Jan Novák, is expected in 2018 or 2019.[10]

In a review of Havel's biography, Anna Batistová wrote that

his short membership in the National Fascist League, his connections to Freemasons, Czech and German intelligence, and the disclosure of one of his friends as a double agent just add to the ambiguity, which, on the one hand, does not allow us to paint his character simply black or white. On the other hand, as the author of his biography argues, this ambiguity probably allowed him to help the domestic film industry, and to ultimately save it from German hands.[3]


  1. ^ Havel was gay, a fact that was an "open secret" in Prague.[3] Nevertheless, Havel entered a show marriage with a female friend and would generally make public appearances escorted by one of the actresses he employed for his films.[3]
  2. ^ Ownership of Havel's properties were transferred back to the Havel family after the Velvet Revolution.


  1. ^ Volynsky, Masha (April 23, 2013). "NEW BOOK ABOUT FILM MAGNATE MILOŠ HAVEL LAUNCHED IN PRAGUE". Radio Prague. Retrieved March 2, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c Margry, Karel (2007). "Newsreels in Nazi‐occupied Czechoslovakia: Karel Peceny and his newsreel company Aktualita". Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. 24 (1): 69–117. doi:10.1080/0143968032000184506. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Batistová, Anna (2016). "Krystyna Wanatowiczová: Miloš Havel – český filmový magnát". Apparatus Journal. University of Regensburg. Retrieved March 2, 2018. 
  4. ^ Demetz, Peter (2009). Prague in Danger: The Years of German Occupation, 1939–45: Memories and History, Terror and Resistance, Theater and Jazz, Film and Poetry, Politics and War. Macmillan. p. 197. ISBN 0374531560. 
  5. ^ a b c Keane, John (2012). Vaclav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts. Bloomsbury. pp. 70–72. ISBN 1408832089. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Sayer, Derek (2015). Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century: A Surrealist History. Princeton University Press. pp. 104–106. ISBN 0691166315. 
  7. ^ Zantovsky, Michael (2014). Havel: A Life. Grove/Atlantic. p. 112. ISBN 0802192394. 
  8. ^ Hames, Peter (2000). "Czech Cinema: From State Industry to Competition". Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne des Slavistes. 42 (1/2): 64. JSTOR 40870135. 
  9. ^ "LADY LUISA ABRAHAMS – A TRULY REMARKABLE LIFE". Radio Prague. January 4, 2003. Retrieved March 2, 2018. 
  10. ^ Meils, Cathy (July 11, 2016). "FNE at KVIFF 2016: Czech Film Boom Inspires Barrandov Production". Film New Europe. Retrieved March 2, 2018.