When one thinks of World War II era superheroes, names like Captain America, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Human Torch may come to mind. Those are all fictional, however. There was, according to urban legend, a real superhero running around war-torn streets at that time… and his name was Perak.
It’s uncertain when Perak was first sighted, but he appeared during the early 1940s in occupied Czechoslovokia. He was a strange man who was dressed all in black, complete with mask, and had the ability to leap inhuman lengths and heights… attacking from the shadows and then fleeing by bounding over trains and buildings.
During his first few appearances he was reported to be a menace, attacking citizens of Prague with impunity. He was said to be an adept brawler, and after word of a few tussles made it into the streets he became an additional object of fear for the Czechs, above and beyond the Nazis.
After the Germans occupied the city, things changed. Perak, whose name was derived from the Czechoslovokian word “Pero”, or spring, turned his attention to the invaders. He would launch himself from the shadows to defend the oppressed, often leaving small groups of dead Nazis in his wake. He wrote anti-Nazi graffiti on supposedly unreachable areas. He was even said to have bombed multiple German weapons facilities.
The superhero apparently hung up his jumping suit at the end of the war, because he stopped terrorizing the Nazis when they left, and he never did go back to attacking his countrymen. But his early misdeeds were forgiven, as demonstrated by the short film created to commemorate him, Perak a SS:
Question of the night: What’s a black and white film you enjoy?