Pérák The Spring-Man; From Urban Legend To Anti-Fascist Superhero.
During the darkest days of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, a strange rumor arose in the capital city; the mysterious Pérák (“Spring-man”) was said to be haunting the alleys and rooftops of Prague.
Some reports insisted that Pérák had been seen jumping right over speeding trains and even leaping across the widest point of the Vitava river valley, flying through the air “like a shuttlecock” before disappearing into the night with an unearthly, shrieking whistle. Anti-Nazi graffiti attributed to Pérák began to appear throughout the city, often painted in prominent but seemingly inaccessible spots.
Fearing an encounter with the phantom mystery-man, factory workers became reluctant to undertake night shifts, slowing the production of munitions for the German war machine. Gradually, in an environment of paranoia and suspicion of official media, the “grapevine” transformed the Spring-man into a symbol of Czech resistance and sabotage against the Nazi regime. These stories spread inexorably through outlying towns and rural villages, gaining in magnitude and momentum.