New Film Highlights Roles of Women in WWII Resistance

Anna Geislerová as Lenka Fafková. Source: Di Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary -, CC BY-SA 4.0
Anna Geislerová as Lenka Fafková. Source: Di Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary -, CC BY-SA 4.0

A new film, Anthropoid, seeks to set the record straight on the oft-overlooked contributions women in the Czechoslovakian resistance. The movie focuses on Operation Anthropoid, a key turning point in WWII.

In the film, two soldiers, Jozef Gabčík (played by Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubiš (played by Jamie Dornan), parachute into German-occupied Czechoslovakia in 1941 on a mission to kill Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich was a high-ranking Nazi official and one of the main architects of the Holocaust.

“The women in the Czech resistance were even tougher than the men sometimes, because they didn’t say anything,” said Anna Geislerova, who plays a seasoned resistance fighter in the movie.”They were ready to die and do anything to fight for the resistance.”

The women in the film courier messages between the assassins. In the movie, the women are not afraid to use charm to get information from German soldiers. Historical documentation shows that the women in the real-life resistance were willing to take those measures as well. But, as often as not, the women were overlooked by the soldiers.

Charlotte Le Bon plays Marie Kovárníková, a real-life woman who had an affair with Jan Kubiš. She was allegedly pregnant when she was executed by the Germans. “I looked at a lot of pictures, and you can tell in their posture they didn’t want to bring any attention to themselves,” Le Bon said.

Sean Ellis is the director of the film. He looked at the testimony of survivors, especially Maria Moravcová. Moravcová provided shelter for soldiers during the attempted assassination.

“Mrs. Moravcová was prepared to put her country in front of the lives of her family,” Ellis said. “If that isn’t one of the boldest, bravest, heroic [actions] … I don’t think I could do it… She is almost like the unsung hero of the resistance.”

The movie begins showing on August 12.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE