The story of Josef Menchik - the last Czech knight

The story of Josef Menchik - the last Czech knight

Categories: Europe | History

Josef Menčík is often called the last Czech knight. This is not entirely true, because this man, most likely, was the last knight of Europe, and maybe the world. Josef appropriated the proud title to himself, but very soon it became clear that he bears it by right. Menchik’s actions were the most chivalrous, and he himself became a legend during his lifetime.

The story of Josef Menchik - the last Czech knight

It all started in 1911, when a big fire destroyed part of the Dobš fortress. This fortification, dating back to the 14th century, belonged to the ancient Schwarzenberg family. The impoverished noble family decided not to restore the fortress, but sold it in a dilapidated state. The property was bought by local landowner Josef Menchik, a great lover of medieval history.

The story of Josef Menchik - the last Czech knight

The new owner immediately set about restoring the property. He didn’t just restore the Dobrš fortress, but tried to give it an authentic look. He bought furniture and other interior items from antique dealers and flea markets, and even smuggled some items from France.

The story of Josef Menchik - the last Czech knight

Menchik had a collection of ancient armor, which he sometimes wore. A man in steel armor, on a horse and with a sword, traveled around the surrounding villages and towns, telling people about old times and chivalry. Josef invited everyone on excursions to the castle and was especially happy with young people.

The story of Josef Menchik - the last Czech knight

Soon Josef Menchik began to be called the “Czech Don Quixote.” Some even thought that he didn’t have everything at home. But this was not so - Menchik was not crazy. He was an incredibly keen collector and an excellent reenactor. The owner of Dobrš Castle turned into a living legend and a local landmark.

The story of Josef Menchik - the last Czech knight

Schoolchildren spoke of him only as “The Bearded Pope” or “The Last Knight.” Joseph himself was always friendly, welcoming, hospitable and generous, as befits knights from ancient novels. He never refused to help those in trouble and at the same time showed complete selflessness.

Soon Knight Joseph had to show his military valor. In 1938, Nazi tanks invaded the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. They were met on the road to the field by Menchik. He, dressed in his best armor, with a sword and spear, blocked the path of the column.

The story of Josef Menchik - the last Czech knight

The Germans were taken aback by such a meeting, but did not contact the knight. They twirled their fingers at their temples, took several colorful photographs and carefully drove around the rider along the side of the road. Even when the Nazis established their power in the Sudetenland, they did not touch Menchik and he continued to live in the castle and go out in armor on his walks.

The story of Josef Menchik - the last Czech knight

Josef Menchik lived to see the liberation of his country. He died in November 1945 in the Dobš fortress, which was no longer his. Shortly before this, it was nationalized by the new government. The last knight of the Czech Republic could not accept this and his heart could not stand it.

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