Jean Bodon is a dark, slight man, with a soothing French accent and wide, kind smile. He is easily someone you could sit and listen to for hours. And with a story like his, there’s no reason not to.
Growing up Bodon heard stories of his father’s, Jan Bodon, experience during World War II. The elder Bodon was a fighter with the Czech resistance after the Nazis took over his native Czechoslovakia. He even trained with the elite group that would eventually assasinate the third most powerful Nazi leader, Reinhard Heydrich. As a boy Jean Bodon listened to his father’s tales but, at the time, they seemed no more interesting than what he found in history textbooks. It wasn’t until Bodon discovered the secret his father had been keeping that he made an emotional connection with the stories. His father’s family name wasn’t Bodon … it was Weinberger and the Weinberger’s were Jews. Bodon also found out a large portion of the Bodons (Weinbergers) died in the Holocaust.
Jean Bodon has spent years rediscovering his father’s family. He says the discovery his father was Jewish (a fact Jan Bodon kept from his fellow Czech resistance fighters) has made so many things make sense. And while some might think the discovery of a secret this monumental could make a person bitter, Bodon is anything but. He says so many Jews living in Eastern Europe were terrified the Holocaust might happen again that he doesn’t find it surprising that Jews like his family (who had suffered so much) would want to hide their heritage away.
Bodon has produced a movie about the Czech resistance during WWII, and his father’s place in it. It’s called “Howling with the Angels”. It’s being shown on Czech national television during December, Bodon says to give the Czech people a glimpse into a part of their history swept aside during Communist rule.