Hugo Haas was one of the stars of Czechoslovak cinema's golden age of the 1930s. This versatile actor and director was hugely popular in the First Republic and he appeared in a number of classic films from that era. Despite his success, however, Haas's life and career - like that of so many other Czechs who lived during this period - was blighted by the tide of history that swept through Czechoslovakia in the 20th century.
When Karel Capek's play Bila Nemoc or The White Plague first came out in 1937, it was seen as a warning against the dangers of fascism, which was sweeping through Europe at that time. It turned out to be a very prophetic play, as German Nazi forces overran Czechoslovakia the following year, paving the way for a conflict that rocked the world.