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The Good Soldier Švejk

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Franz Ferdinand and 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 fictive 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 captain 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 K. Sadlon's recent translation and will in most cases differ from Cecil Parrott's version from 1973. In January 2014 there were still around twenty entries to be added.

  • The quotes in Czech are copied from the on-line version of the novel provided by Jaroslav Šerák and contain links to the relevant chapter
  • The tool-bar has links for direct access to Wikipedia, Google search and Švejk on-line

The names are coloured according to their role in the novel, illustrated by the following examples: Doctor Grünstein who is directly involved in the plot, Heinrich Heine as a historical person, and Ferdinand Kokoška as an invented person. Note that a number of seemingly fictive characters are modelled after living persons. See for instance Lukáš and Wenzl.

>> The Good Soldier Švejk index of people mentioned in the novel (581) Show all
>> I. In the rear
>> II. At the front
Index Back Forward II. At the front Hovudpersonen

2. Švejk's budějovická anabasis

Xenophonnn flag
*430 BC Athen - †355 BC ?
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Xenophon is mentioned by the author when he introduces the reader to the term "anabasis". Xenophon exemplified the anabasis by travelling around anywhere without a map.

Background

Xenophon was a Greek commander, author and historian. He was particulalrly known for his historical descriptions of ancient Greece, his writings on Socrates, and for the first eyewitness account of a battle in ancient times. Xenophon's language is clear and concise, and has set standards on writing style. The book "Anabasis" describes the Greek mercenaries treacherous road back home though Asia Minor after a failed mission against the King of Persia. It is a seven-volume work and is considered Xenophon's best.

Hašek and Xenofon

The theme Xenophon and his Anabasis was evidently well known to Jaroslav Hašek. In Letters from the front, Čechoslovan Czech weekly, published in  Kiev  from 1911 to 1918 26 September 1916 (9 October), his name also appears, one of many testimonies to the author's interest in ancient Greece. It is also one of many examples in Švejk of reuse of fragments from Hašek,s earlier writing.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] Starověký válečník Xenofon prošel celou Malou Asii a byl bůhvíkde bez mapy. Staří Gotové dělali své výpravy také bez topografické znalosti. Mašírovat pořád kupředu, tomu se říká anabase. Prodírat se neznámými krajinami. Být obklíčeným nepřáteli, kteří číhají na nejbližší příležitost, aby ti zakroutili krk.

Also written:Xenofón cz Xenophon de

Julius Caesarnn flag
*13.7.100 BC ? Roma - †15.3.44 BC Roma
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Julius Caesar is mentioned by the author when he introduces the reader to the term "anabasis". Caesars legions got all the way to the Gallic Sea without maps. Caesar is also mentioned on one of the last pages of the novel.

Background

Julius Caesar was a roman commander, politician and author. He had become most potent citizen of the empire when he was murdered by senator Brutus in 44 BC. At that time he held the title "dictator in perpeteo". During his reign he undertook extensive reforms, centralising the administration. The area of the empire was greatly extended, including Britannia.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] Tam někde na severu u Galského moře, kam až se také dostaly římské legie Caesarovy bez mapy, řekly si jednou, že se zas vrátí a pomašírujou jinou cestou, aby ještě víc toho užily, do Říma. A dostaly se tam také. Od té doby se říká patrně, že všechny cesty vedou do Říma.

Also written:Julius Caesar cz Julius Cäsar de Gaius Iulius Caesar la

Mašků, Toníčeknn flag
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Mašků had ran away from the "Landwehr" but was caught soon after. He was the husband of a niese of the old lady who helped Švejk by Vráž. The latest news was that he had lost a leg at the front.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] „U nás byl taky jeden takovej nezbeda. Ten měl ject do Plzně k landvér, nějakej Toníček Mašků,“ povzdechla si babička, „von je vod mojí neteře příbuznej, a vodjel. A za tejden už ho hledali četníci, že nepřijel ku svýmu regimentu. A ještě za tejden se vobjevil u nás v civilu, že prej je puštěnej domů na urláb. Tak šel starosta na četnictvo, a voni ho z toho urlábu vyzdvihli. Už psal z fronty, že je raněnej, že má nohu pryč.“
Melicháreknn flag
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Melichárek was a farmer and brother of the old woman from Vráž. He lived in Radomyšl in Dolejší ulice. He was very suspicious of Švejk who he assumed had defected from the army.

Background

Melichárek is supposed to have been Václav Melichar and lived in Dolejší ulice, just as the author writes. According to his descendants, Hašek was in Radomyšl in 1915 and Melichár's wife is said to have made him bramborovka. The mystery is how the author got this far from Budějovice without being noticed (60 km).

Source: Ivana Šibková

Quote from the novel
[2.2] V Radomyšli Švejk našel k večeru na Dolejší ulici za Floriánkem pantátu Melichárka. Když vyřídil mu pozdrav od jeho sestry ze Vráže, nijak to na pantátu neúčinkovalo. Chtěl neustále na Švejkovi papíry. Byl to nějaký předpojatý člověk, poněvadž mluvil neustále něco o raubířích, syčácích a zlodějích, kterých se síla potlouká po celém píseckém kraji.
Herrmannnn flag
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Herrmann was a Jew in Vodňany who bought military euipment that he sold on to the army. In the opinion of the tramp at Švarcenberský ovčín, he would also buy Švejk's uniform.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] „Tak ten si nech. V tom se na venkově chodí. Potřebuješ kalhoty a kabát. Až budeme mít ten civil, tak kalhoty a kabát prodáme židovi Herrmanovi ve Vodňanech. Ten kupuje všechno erární a zas to prodává po vesnicích.
Jarešnn flag
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Jareš was a pond warden from Ražice whose grandfather was executed for desertion during the Napoleonic Wars. This is according to a story by the old shepherd at the Švarcenberský ovčín.

Background

(Antonín) was the author's grandfather. See Jareš.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] Z Ražic za Protivínem syn Jarešův, dědeček starýho Jareše, baštýře, dostal za zběhnutí prach a volovo v Písku. A před tím, než ho stříleli na píseckých šancích, běžel ulicí vojáků a dostal 600 ran holema, takže smrt byla pro něho vodlehčením a vykoupením.
Jarešnn flag
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Jareš was the grandfather of the pond warden from Ražice, and was executed as a deserter during the Napoleonic wars. This is revealed during the conversation at Švarcenberský ovčín.

Background

(Antonín) was the author's grandfather. See Jareš.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] Z Ražic za Protivínem syn Jarešův, dědeček starýho Jareše, baštýře, dostal za zběhnutí prach a volovo v Písku. A před tím, než ho stříleli na píseckých šancích, běžel ulicí vojáků a dostal 600 ran holema, takže smrt byla pro něho vodlehčením a vykoupením.
Fürst Schwarzenberg, Johann Nepomuknn flag
*29.5.1860 Wien - †1.10.1938 Wien
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Schwarzenberg is mentioned by the old shepherd in Švarcenberský ovčín. He tells us that at least the old Schwarzenberg moved around in an ordinary carriage but nowadays the young prince drives around in an automobile, and that the Good Lord will rub his snout in petrol one day.

Background

Schwarzenberg is probably the person referred to as old prince Schwarzenberg. He was head of the Krummau barnch of the Schwarzenbergs who owned large properties in Bohemia until 1918. He was the 9th prince of Schwarzenberg and 7th duke of Krummau (Krumlov).

Quote from the novel
[2.2] Dyť vona i ta naše vrchnost už roupama nevěděla co dělat.Starej pán kníže Švarcenberg, ten jezdil jen v takovým kočáře, a ten mladej knížecí smrkáč smrdí samým automobilem. Von mu pánbůh taky ten benzin vomaže vo hubu.“
Fürst Schwarzenberg, Adolf Johannnn flag
*18.8.1890 Hluboká nad Vltavou - †27.2.1950 Bordighera
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Schwarzenberg is mentioned by the old shepherd in Švarcenberský ovčín. He tells us that at least the old Schwarzenberg moved around in an ordinary carriage but nowadays the young prince drives around in an automobile.

Background

Schwarzenberg is probably the person referred to as the young prince Schwarzenberg. He was the 10th prince of Schwarzenberg and 8th duke of Krummau (Krumlov). The family estate was first confiscated by the Nazi's in 1938 and in 1945 he was expelled on background of the Beneš-decrees.

Another possible candidate is Karl V. Schwarzenberg from the Orlík branch of the family. He died near the Serbian front in 1914. In that case the old Schwarzenberg was Karl IV who passed away the year before.

External Links

Quote from the novel
[2.2] Dyť vona i ta naše vrchnost už roupama nevěděla co dělat.Starej pán kníže Švarcenberg, ten jezdil jen v takovým kočáře, a ten mladej knížecí smrkáč smrdí samým automobilem. Von mu pánbůh taky ten benzin vomaže vo hubu.“
Koříneknn flag
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Kořínek was arrested for sedition in Skočice after saying that after the war one would get rid of Emperors, and that the nobility would have their estates confiscated. This is what the tramp told Švejk and the old shepherd in the Schwarzenberg speep-pen.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] „Na to se mu, hochu, teď každej vykašle,“ rozdrážděně promluvil ovčák, „máš bejt při tom, když se sejdou sousedi dole ve Skočicích. Každej tam má někoho, a to bys viděl, jak ti mluvějí. Po tejhle válce že prej bude svoboda, nebude ani panskejch dvorů, ani císařů a knížecí statky že se vodeberou. Už taky kvůli takovej jednej řeči vodvedli četníci nějakýho Kořínka, že prej jako pobuřuje. Jó, dneska mají právo četníci.“
Strážmistr Flanderkann flag
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flanderka.jpg

Flanderka guarding Švejk

Flanderka was head of the gendarmerie in Putim and suspected Švejk of being a Russian spy. He considered himself a master of interrogation techniques and it soon became clear to him that Švejk was indeed a spy. The more he tanked up, the clearer it all became. He and his deputy also made complete arses of themselves with extremely seditious talk when they had had a drop too much. Austria was going to loose the war, a Russian prince would become king of Bohemia and Emperor Franz Joseph I., was shitting all over Schönbrunn. The petrified old servant Pejzlerka who had witnessed it all, had to swear never to tell a living soul what she had heard.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] Četnickému strážmistrovi Flanderkovi se situace, čím déle psal tou podivnou úřední němčinou, vyjasňovala, a když skončil: „So melde ich gehorsam, wird der feindliche Offizier heutigen Tages, nach Bezirksgendarmeriekommando Písek, überliefert,“ usmál se na své dílo a zavolal na četnického závodčího. „Dali tomu nepřátelskému důstojníkovi něco jíst?“
Oberleutnant Bergernn flag
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Berger was a duty-conscious obrlajtnant from the artillery who according to Národní politika had established an observation post in a tree, and hid there for two weeks to avoid captivity. When his own troops returned he fell down and killed himself. The story is told by Flanderka at Putim gendarmerie station.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] To jsou, pane závodčí, povahy. K tomu je třeba ocelových nervů u takového člověka, sebezapírání, tvrdosti a nadšení. Kdyby bylo v Rakousku takové nadšení... ale nechme toho raději. I u nás jsou nadšenci. Četli v ,Národní politice’ o tom obrlajtnantovi Bergrovi od dělostřelectva, který si vylezl na vysokou jedli a zřídil si tam na větví beobachtungspunkt?
Strážmistr Bürgernn flag
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Bürger was Flanderka's predecessor as head of the gendarmerie in Putim. He never interrogated anyone, just sent them on to Písek.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] Vzpomněl si na svého předchůdce strážmistra Bürgera, který se zadrženým vůbec nemluvil, na nic se ho netázal a hned ho poslal k okresnímu soudu s krátkým raportem: „Dle udání závodčího byl zadržen pro potulku a žebrotu.“ Je to nějaký výslech?
Pepík Vyskočnn flag
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vyskoc.jpg

Flanderka instructs Pepík Vyskoč

vyskoc2.jpg

K.L. Kukla, "Konec bahna Prahy", 1927, s.312

vyskoc.png

Polední list, 19.4.1936

Pepík Vyskoč was a village idiot who Flanderka tried to hire as an informer. He was told to report anyone who said the Emperor was a piece of cattle. Pepík took this literally, he told others that Sergeant Flanderka had said that the Emperor was cattle and that the thing couldn't be won. He was arrested and sentenced to twelve years by the military court in Prague. He got the nick-name because he bleated like a goat and jumped in the air when someone talked to him.

Background

This is a character that almost certainly was inspired by Václav Kompert (or Kompich?), also known as Venca Vyskoč. Firm evidence is provided by Sergey Soloukh (Сергей Солоух) Russian author and expert on Hašek and Švejk (1959-). Has published a book with extensive exlanations to the novels, and another one featuring Hašek and Prague. Since 2009 in close co-operation with the author of this web site, and with his expert knowledge in the fields of history and literature he has provided important contributions and feedback. (2015) who points to him as a curious character from Prague with some striking similarities with the character from the novel. "Venca" even frequented U Fleků, a tavern the author knew very well. Vyskoč is mentioned in several books that have been published over the past 30 years, and the information is more or less the same. In the book Jak se bavila Praha (2009) the authors Miloš Heyduk and Karel Sýs state directly (p. 137) that Venca was the model for Pepík.

When "Venca" died on 18 September 1916 at the age of 65, several national newspaper printed the news. Lidové noviny even provided a more detailed obituary. Václav Kompert was a former waiter who had some bad luck in life that affected him mentally. He started to walk around pubs and café's, bleated and jumping at the tables and collected money for his spectacle. He became a well-known but tragic characters in the streets of Prague. His main area of operation was around Václavské náměstí. The description in this obituary is so close to Jaroslav Hašek's own that there is not even the slightest doubt where the inspiration for the name, the jumping and the bleating came from.

Augustín Knesl Czech Švejkologist who for some period did research on the backdrop to the novel, concentrating on people. He published his findings in Večerní  Praha  in 1983. also made a note on the connection between "Venca Vyskoč" and Pepík Vyskoč in his serial in Večerní Praha (1983), and refers to an article by Karel Ladislav Kukla in České Slovo The main newspaper of the Czech National Social Party. from 1924.

A dubious link to Lipnice

Far less credible is Vladimír Stejskal (1953) and his claim that the inspiration was a character from the area around Lipnice nad Sázavou. The evidence is weak: not much more than pure hearsay.

External Links

SourceSergey Soloukh (Сергей Солоух) Russian author and expert on Hašek and Švejk (1959-). Has published a book with extensive exlanations to the novels, and another one featuring Hašek and Prague. Since 2009 in close co-operation with the author of this web site, and with his expert knowledge in the fields of history and literature he has provided important contributions and feedback. , Karel Ladislav Kukla, Augustín Knesl Czech Švejkologist who for some period did research on the backdrop to the novel, concentrating on people. He published his findings in Večerní  Praha  in 1983.

Quote from the novel
[2.2] Toho si dal zavolat a řekl k němu: „Víš, Pepku, kdo to je starej Procházka?“ „Méé.“„Nemeč, a pamatuj si, že tak říkají císaři pánu. Víš, kdo je to císař pán?“ „To je číšaš pán.“ „Dobře, Pepku. Tak si pamatuj, že když někoho uslyšíš mluvit, když chodíš po obědech od domu k domu, že je císař pán dobytek nebo podobně, hned přijď ke mně a oznam mně to.

Also written:Pepek Vyskoč Parrott Pepku Hopp Reiner Joey Jump Sadlon

Starej Procházkann flag
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Image not found: images/starej.jpg