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The Good Soldier Švejk

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Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand and Herzogin Sophie leave the Sarajevo Town Hall, five minutes before the assassination, 28 June 1914.

The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk is a novel with an unusually rich array of characters. In addition to the many who directly form part of the plot, a large number of fictional and real people (and animals) are mentioned; either through Švejk's anecdotes, the narrative or indirectly through words and expressions.

This web page contains short write-ups on the persons the novel refers to; from Napoléon in the introduction to Hauptmann Ságner in the last few lines of the unfinished Book Four. The list is sorted in to the order of which the names first appear. The chapter headlines are from Zenny Sadlon's recent translation (1999-2008) and will in most cases differ from Cecil Parrott's version from 1973. In January 2021 there are still around twenty entries to be added.

The quotes in Czech are copied from the on-line version of The Good Soldier Švejk: provided by Jaroslav Šerák and contain links to the relevant chapter. The toolbar has links for direct access to Wikipedia, Google maps, Google search, svejkmuseum.cz and the novel on-line.

The names are coloured according to their role in the novel, illustrated by the following examples: Dr. Grünstein who is directly involved in the plot, Heinrich Heine as a historical person, and Otto Katz as a fictional character. Note that a number of seemingly fictive characters are inspired by living persons. See for instance Oberleutnant Lukáš and Major Wenzl.

Titles and ranks have until 2020 largely been missing on this web page. Senior Lieutenant Lukáš has, for instance, only been known as Lukáš. This weakness is now (24 December 2020) slowly being addressed. Military ranks and other titles related to Austrian officialdom will appear in German, and in line with the terms used at the time. This means that Captain Ságner is still referred to as Hauptmann although the term is now obsolete, having been replaced by Kapitän. Civilian titles denoting profession etc. are mostly translated into English.

>> The Good Soldier Švejk index of people, mythical figures, animals ... (582) Show all
>> I. In the rear
>> II. At the front
>> III. The famous thrashing
Index Back Forward I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

3. Švejk before the court physicians

Demartininn flag
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demartini.png

Demartini was the fat head of the guards for the prisoners in custody at the Zemský trestní soud.

Background

The prison guard has perhaps been inspired by the very real police high commisioner in Prague, Rudolf Demartini (1866-1919), who lived in Vinohrady (1906). This is a person Jaroslav Hašek surely knew or knew about. Little is known about him except for that he had three daughters and is buried at Olšany in Žižkov.

It has not been confirmed if he really was the chief guard in the remand arrest at Zemský trestní soud in 1914. He is not listed as an employee of the criminal court in the address books of 1907 and 1912 and it seems strange that someone with such a high rank is employed as the head of the prison guards. Therefore this is probably a borrowed name and not much more.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] Čisté, útulné pokojíky zemského „co trestního soudu“ učinily na Švejka nejpříznivější dojem. Vybílené stěny, černě natřené mříže i tlustý pan Demartini, vrchní dozorce ve vyšetřovací vazbě s fialovými výložky i obrubou na erární čepici. fialová barva je předepsána nejen zde, nýbrž i při náboženských obřadech na Popeleční středu i Veliký pátek.

Literature

Valeš, Aloisnn flag
*19.5.1861 Mšecké Žehrovice - †18.12.1908 Nusle (Pankrác)
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vales.png

Matrika zemřelých, © AHMP

vales1.png

Národní politika, 20.12.1908

Valeš was a well knwn murderer who some years earlier had been interrogated by the same good-natured man who questioned Švejk at Zemský trestní soud.

Background

Valeš and his wife Ludmila committed a brutal double murder in April 1902 in the villa "Vilém" in Horní Krč where he was employed as a gardener. The victims were the young Slovak/Hungarian couple Matilda Hanzely and József Takács. They were planning to emigrate to America and therefore had a lot of money handy. Valeš hid the corpses in the garden and the crime was not discovered until October 1904. In February 1905 the couple was sentenced to death but the term was converted to life imprisonment by FJI

Interrogation

Amongst those who interrogated Valeš in 1905 were Karel Křikava and Václav Olič. They were police officers that Jaroslav Hašek knew and one of them may well have served as models for the good-natured interrogator. Egon Erwin Kisch mentions the Valeš-case briefly in the story Polizeimuseum, where he reveals that the murderer's weapon is on exhibition.

The villa owner

At the time of the discovery of the murder the owner of the villa was Alois Bauer, a merchant who lived in Smíchov. When the trial took place (January 1905) he was under administration and the villa was sold. In 1909 he committed suicide by jumping into the Vltava near Střelecký ostrov.

E.E. Kisch: Polizeimuseum

Eine ganze Vitrine weist die Instrumente auf, mit denen das wurdige Ehepaar Valeš zu Krtsch das Liebespaar Takasz-Hanzely im Schlafe umgebracht hatte: ein Jagdgewehr, ein Strick, ein Revolver, ein Beil.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] Starší pán dobromyslného vzezření, který kdysi, vyšetřuje známého vraha Valeše, nikdy neopomenul jemu říci: „Račte si sednout, pane Valeš, právě je zde jedna prázdná židle.“

SourcesMilan Hodík, Jaroslav Šerák

Literature

Pontius Pilatenn flag
*? - †?
Wikipedia czdeenno Google search

Pontius Pilate is written about by the author when he describes those of the examining magistrates who were most obsessed with the letter of the law as "the Pilates of the new era".

Background

Pontius Pilate was Roman prefect of Judea in the period 26 to 36 AD and oviously plays a central part in the Bible as the Roman official who sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] Vracela se slavná historie římského panství nad Jerusalemem. Vězně vyváděli i představovali je před Piláty roku 1914tého dolů do přízemku. A vyšetřující soudcové, Piláti nové doby, místo aby si čestně myli ruce, posílali si pro papriku a plzeňské pivo k Teissigovi a odevzdávali nové a nové žaloby na státní návladnictví.

Also written:Pilát Pontský cz

Prokop Švejknn flag
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Prokop Švejk is here at Zemský trestní soud mentioned in passing by Švejk when referring to his parents. They are mentioned again in [2.5], and it is only then their full names are revealed and it transpires that they are from Dražov.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] „Já myslím,“ odpověděl Švejk, „že jím musím být, poněvadž i můj tatínek byl Švejk a maminka paní Švejková. Já jim nemohu udělat takovou hanbu, abych zapíral svoje jméno.“
[2.5] Jakmile jsem ho poznal, šel jsem k němu na plošinu a dal jsem se s ním do hovoru, že jsme oba z Dražova. On se ale na mne rozkřik, abych ho neobtěžoval, že prý mne nezná. Já jsem mu to začal vysvětlovat, aby se jen upamatoval, že jsem jako malej hoch k němu chodil s matkou, která se jmenovala Antonie, otec že se jmenoval Prokop a byl šafářem. Ani potom nechtěl nic vědět o tom, že se známe. Tak jsem mu ještě řekl bližší podrobnosti, že v Dražově byli dva Novotní, Tonda a Josef.
Antonie Švejkovánn flag
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Antonie Švejková is mentioned in passing by Švejk when referring to his parents in a conversation at Zemský trestní soud. The parents are mentioned again in [2.5], and it is only then that their full names are revealed and it transpires that they are from Dražov.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] „Já myslím,“ odpověděl Švejk, „že jím musím být, poněvadž i můj tatínek byl Švejk a maminka paní Švejková. Já jim nemohu udělat takovou hanbu, abych zapíral svoje jméno.“
[2.5] Jakmile jsem ho poznal, šel jsem k němu na plošinu a dal jsem se s ním do hovoru, že jsme oba z Dražova. On se ale na mne rozkřik, abych ho neobtěžoval, že prý mne nezná. Já jsem mu to začal vysvětlovat, aby se jen upamatoval, že jsem jako malej hoch k němu chodil s matkou, která se jmenovala Antonie, otec že se jmenoval Prokop a byl šafářem.

Also written:Paní Švejková cz

Doctor Heveroch, Antonínnn flag
*29.1.1869 Minice - †2.3.1927 Praha
Wikipedia czen Google search

Heveroch was mentioned in a story by one of Švejk's fellow detainees who had gone to a lecture by Heveroch to learn to fake madness. He drank from the ink pot and performed his bodily needs in front of the legal commission. The only mistake he made was to bite a psychiatrist in the right foot, a procedure which was not described by Dr. Heveroch. One of the doctors of the commission that examined Švejk was a follower of Dr. Heveroch's psychiatric teaching.

Background

Heveroch was a notable Czech psychiatrist and neurologist who was, amongst other things, known for his studies on dyslexia and epilepsy. His book „O podivínech a lidech nápadných“ (On Freaks and Striking People) (1901) was according to František Langer amongsts Jaroslav Hašek's favourites.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] „Já těm soudním lékařům nic nevěřím,“ poznamenal muž inteligentního vzezření. „Když jsem jednou padělal směnky, pro všechen případ chodil jsem na přednášky k doktoru Heverochovi, a když mě chytili, simuloval jsem paralytika právě tak, jak ho vyličoval pan doktor Heveroch.

Literature

Rittmeister Rotter, Theodor Franz Adalbertnn flag
*28.3.1873 Krumlov - †1944 ?
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rotter.png

Rotter in the middle. Svět zvířat, 1909.

rotter_psu.png

Za císáře pána, Michal Dlouhý

rotter2.png

Schematismus der k. k. Landwehr und der k. k. Gendarmerie 1910.

Rotter was a well known police chief in Kladno who trained his dogs by experimenting with them on tramps in the district. This is according to a story Švejk tells his fellow prisoners at Zemský trestní soud.

The policeman is mentioned again in [2.2] during Švejk's wanderings around Písek. This story is almost identical, but is now told by a tramp.

Background

Rotter was a renowned dog breeder and policeman, stationed in Kladno in 1909 and 1910. During his period of service here he became the first to introduce police dogs in Gendarmerie.

Career

Rotter was born in 1873 in Krumlow with Heimatrecht Budějovice [a], son of brewmaster Thedor Rotter and Rosalie. In his younger years he served as an active (professional) officer in k.u.k. Heer, first as a cadet in k.u.k. Infanterieregiment Nr. 11 (Písek) from 1 September 1893 until 1895[d]. He was then promoted to Leutnant on 1 May 1895 and this year he was also transferred to Infanterieregiment Nr. 56 (Kraków). In 1901 he quit k.u.k. Heer to continue his career in k.k. Gendarmeie[f].

He carried the rank lieutenant into the police and was promoted to Oberleutnant 1 November 1902. First he led the gendarmerie in Trutnov until 1906 when he was posted to Chomutov. In 1909 he was subsequently transferred to Kladno where he 1 November 1909 was promoted to Rittmeister[h]. It was during his term in Kladno that his name was first noticed in connection with police dogs [g] and he was at time mentioned in the newspapers several times.

His stay in Kladno was brief because already in 1910 his career path continued to Písek where he became commander of Gendarmerieabteilungskommando Nr. 14, an assignment that lasted at least until 1916. The census records reveal that he was registered 16 August 1910, lived at the department station in Pražská ulice č.p. 261 with his wife Hedwiga and 5 year old son Franz[j]. Here they had had a flat at their disposal where also a servant and a female cook lived. He reported Czech as his mother tongue whereas his wife and his son reported German. In 1911 Rotter published the booklet Anleitung zur Dressur von Polizeihunden. Towards the end of the war he was stationed in Djakova in occupied Montenegro as Bezirkskommandant. He was promoted to Oberstleutnant on 1 August 1918[e].

Hašek and Rotter
wolfin.jpg

Svět zvířat, 1909

In 1909, when he was still Oberleutnant at k.k. Gendarmerie in Kladno, Rotter bought two German Shepherds from Saarbrücken, where he had been on a course the previous year. He trained the dogs Wolf and Wölfin for service purposes and in Svět zvířat appeared a picture of the latter "catching" a runaway.

Jaroslav Hašek knew Rotter personally from his time as editor of Svět zvířat and in 1909 the magazine printed a photo of Rotter together with his dogs. The animals feature on several more photos in this publication throughout the year.

Hašek seems to have kept in touch with Rotter because Josef Lada wrote that he and Hašek on 28 June 1914 visited Rotter in Kladno[b]. This does however seem strange, considering that Rotter had moved to Písek already in 1910.

Czechoslovakia

Rotter continued in the police in Czechoslovakia after the war and newspaper articles reveal that he was promoted to plukovník (Colonel) and was still considered a prominent dog expert. Otherwise it is not known where he lived. In 1939 it was revealed that he had retired[h], he was now 67.

In his advanced years he wrote several books on dog breeding, the latest of which was published in 1938.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] Taky vám dám příklad, jak se na Kladně zmejlil jeden policejní pes, vlčák toho známého rytmistra Rottera. Rytmistr Rotter pěstoval ty psy a dělal pokusy s vandráky, až se Kladensku počali všichni vandráci vyhejbat.
[2.2] "....Jó, dneska mají právo četníci." "Voní ho měli i dřív," ozval se vandrák, "já pamatuju, že na Kladně bejval četnickým rytmistrem nějakej pan Rotter. Von vám najednou začal pěstovat tyhlety, jak jim říkají, policejní psy tý vlčí povahy, že všechno vyslídějí, když jsou vyučení. A měl ten pan rytmistr na Kladně těch svejch psích učeníků plnou prdel...."

Sources: Petr Netopil, Josef Lada, Michal Dlouhý, Radko Pytlík

Also written:Bohdan Rotter cz

Literature

References
aMatrikaSOkA Český Krumlov
bToulavé houseRadko Pytlík1971
cSchematismus der k. k. Land­wehr...Ministerium für Landesverteidigung1911
dSchematismus für das k. u. k. Heer...K.k. Hof und Staatsdruckerei1894
eVerordnungsblatt für die kaiserlich-königliche LandwehrK.k. Ministerium für Landesverteidigung13.8.1918
fVerordnungsblatt für die kaiserlich-königliche GendarmerieK.k. Ministerium für Landesverteidigung26.10.1901
gPolizeihunde für die Gendarmerie in BöhmenArbeiterwille18.8.1909
hMinistr vnitra generál Josef Ježek v jižních Čechách.Jihočeské Listy5.8.1939
iKladenský rytmistrMichal Dlouhý
jSčitání lidu 1910SOkA Písek
Wölfinnn flag
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Wölfin (Vlčka) was most probably the name of the police dog that is mentioned in connection with Rittmeister Rotter's experiments in Kladno where he lets police dogs chase tramps. In the novel the dog is referred to as a police dog and wolf-dog.

Background

Wölfin was a female police dog that Rittmeister Rotter reportedly brought in from Saarbrücken together with the male Wolf in 1909. It was probably one of those dogs Švejk had in mind when he told his anecdote. The author knew Rotter well and had surely been aware of and seen both dogs.

Wölfin was moreover bred at the kennel of editor Fuchs a Klamovka, next to the villa where Svět zvířat had their editorial offices and where Jaroslav Hašek worked as an editor. He would therefore have known the female dog well and in an article in the magazine 1 November 1909 it is stated that her training took place here at Klamovka.

On 16 October 1909 Rittmeister Rotter showed off the skills of Wölfin and a Doberman Pinscher called Petar on the premises of Policejní ředitelství. The whole leadership of police HQ was present, amongst them commissioners Polizeikommissar Drašner and Ladislav Adamička (the brother of Hauptmann Adamička). The article also states that Wölfin was bought from the kennel at Klamovka earlier in the year.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] Taky vám dám příklad, jak se na Kladně zmejlil jeden policejní pes, vlčák toho známého rytmistra Rottera. Rytmistr Rotter pěstoval ty psy a dělal pokusy s vandráky, až se Kladensku počali všichni vandráci vyhejbat.

Sources: Petr Netopil, Michal Dlouhý

Literature

Doctor Kallersonnn flag
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kallerson.png

Hůla is of the opinion that Hašek invented the names Kallerson and Weiking

Kallerson is mentioned together with the psychiatrists doctor Heveroch and doctor Weiking as someone who had founded a school within the discipline.

Background

Kallerson was a psychiatrist but there is no information available apart from what is stated in the novel. Břetislav Hůla assumed that the name is invented as he was unable to verify the existence of any well known psychiatrist Kallerson.

If the psychiatrist isn't invented it is probably a case of a distorted name. In one of Hašek's stories a Karl Larsson features, a name that is phonetically similar. This person was however not a psychiatrist, he was head of the Czechoslovak Salvation Army.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] Věc byla úplně jasnou. Spontánním projevem Švejkovým odpadla celá řada otázek a zůstaly jen některé nejdůležitější, aby s odpovědí potvrzeno bylo prvé mínění o Švejkovi na základě systému doktora psychiatrie Kallersona, doktora Heverocha i Angličana Weikinga.

Literature

Doctor Weikingnn flag
Google search

Weiking is an Englishman mentioned together with the psychiatrists doctor Heveroch and doctor Kallerson. He had allegedly founded a certain school within the discipline of psychiatry.

Background

Weiking is supposed to have been an English psychiatrist but there is no information available apart from what is stated in the novel. The name doesn't sound partucularly English. Břetislav Hůla assumes that the names doctor Kallerson and Weiking are inventions. Alternatively it is a distortion of the name of a real psychologist.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.3] Věc byla úplně jasnou. Spontánním projevem Švejkovým odpadla celá řada otázek a zůstaly jen některé nejdůležitější, aby s odpovědí potvrzeno bylo prvé mínění o Švejkovi na základě systému doktora psychiatrie Kallersona, doktora Heverocha i Angličana Weikinga.
Index Back Forward I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

3. Švejk before the court physicians


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