Czech journalist sells his story to Hollywood

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The story of Erwin van Haarlem, born Václav Jelínek, who was sent to the United Kingdom by Czechoslovak intelligence, captured the imagination of Dawid Klawans, a Hollywood writer and producer.

“I can at least say that I’m living my dream that one of my books would serve as the idea for a Hollywood movie,” said Kmenta. “It took several years before everything cleared up. At the end of last year, I signed a contract to sell the rights to film this story. That means writers are working on a script that is inspired by my book.”

Kmenta wrote the book Czech Spy Erwin van Haarlem in 2005. It’s the story of a man who spent 17 years abroad under a secret identity and became one of the most effective spies in the UK. For ten of those years, Erwin van Haarlem assumed a fictitious Jewish identity.

Haarlem was eventually exposed and arrested in 1988, but investigators and the court failed to uncover his true identity. He remained in a British prison after the fall of the Iron Curtain until his release in 1993 and deportation to Prague. Many of the details of his case became public only with the publication of Kmenta’s book.

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