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 colored 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 very real 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

3. Švejk's happenings in Királyhida

Černoch Kristiannn flag
*Christiansted 2.10.1890 - †Praha 4.10.1924
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Café Louvre, 2011


Kopřivy, 10.6.1909


Prager Tagblatt, 27.3.1924

Kristian was the subject of one of Švejk's anecdotes on the train from Budějovice to Királyhida. He was a waiter, son of an Abyssinian king who had been exhibited in a circus at Štvanice and who had fornicated with a lady who wrote for the Lada magazine and this given birth to Kristian. Švejk referred to him as "černoch Kristián" (the negro Christian), a term used even in newspapers.


Kristian (surname Ebenezer) was a rare black waiter who worked at Café Louvre Hotel Baška, Café Royal, at the station restaurant in Brno - and various places in the countryside. He was a very popular character in Prague and learned Czech exceptionally quickly.

Ergon Erwin Kisch wrote about a chance meeting with Kristian in a hotel in Trenčianske Teplice where the latter worked as a waiter. Eduard Bass, another acquaintance of the author, also wrote about the Negro Kristian who he knew from Prague and Brno. Bass also wrote his obituary in Lidové noviny.

Danish citizen

Ebenezer was born in the Danish colony St.Croix in the Carribean and was brought to Prague by engineers from the Daňkovka factory. He was a waiter apprentice at Café Louvre where he worked for several years. His mother tongue was Danish but already when he arrived in Prague at the age of 14 he spoke English fluently. In 1916 he was to marry Božena Hanušová from Mladá Boleslav but the bride somehow disappeared, and the story ended in the newspapers. In 1924 he died from tuberculosis, only shortly after marrying the same woman who had vanished in 1916. When he died he lived at Královské Vinohrady, Puchmajerova 56.

Kristian is actually the only Scandinavian citizen who is mentioned by name in the novel (not counting the possibility that the mysterious psychologist Kallerson is a distortion of e.g. Karl Larsson).

Egon Erwin Kisch

Mein Leben für die Zeitung 1906‑1925 ‑ Brief aus Trencsin‑Teplitz, 427‑431: Also stehe ich auf, nachdem ich genug Zeit gewonnen habe, und gehe ins Vorderzimmer und setze mich zu einem Tischen und lasse mir vom Neger Christian (ja, ja, dem aus dem Café Louvre und aus dem Café Parlament) eine Schale Schwarzen bringen und lese die Blätter.

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Source: Egon Erwin Kisch, Hans-Peter Laqueur, Café Louvre, Jaroslav Šerák

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „S tím vzájemným pářením,“ poznamenal Švejk, „je to vůbec zajímavá věc. V Praze je číšník černoch Kristián, jehož otec byl habešským králem a dal se ukazovat v Praze na Štvanici v jednom cirku.

Also written:Christian E.E. Kisch Kristián Hašek

Feldoberkurat Lacinann flag
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Lacina was a fat and gluttonous senior field chaplain (Feldoberkurat) from 7. Kavaleriedivision who also enjoyed a tipple or two. He arrived in Budějovice the day before IR91 Ersatzbattailon left for Bruck an der Leitha and travelled with Švejk and Marek in the arrest wagon. On departure he was under the influence and soon fell asleep and was snoring and farting most of the way. The author notes that Lacina wore a "black hard hat", something that indicates that he was off duty. This is also how the illustrator of Švejk, Josef Lada, envisaged him.


The senior field chaplain had an obvious real life model in Ludvík Lacina, a Roman-Catholic field chaplain who served in K.u.k. Heer from 1906 to 1918. The obituaries from 1928 reveal that he was "identified" as a model for the literary field chaplain already before his death.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Tak vešli na nádraží a šli k určenému vojenskému vlaku, když málem by byla ostrostřelecká kapela, jejíž kapelník byl vážně popleten nečekanou manifestací, spustila „Zachovej nám, Hospodine“. Naštěstí v pravé chvíli objevil se v černém tvrdém klobouku vrchní polní kurát páter Lacina od 7. jízdecké divise a počal dělat pořádek.
Muḥammadnn flag
*572 Mekka - †8.6.632 Medina
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Muhammad went to the montain and meet the angel Gabriel.

Muḥammad is pulled into the plot when Marek ridicules the escorting corporal on the train to Bruck an der Leitha. The famous proverb he quotes is 'If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain'.


Muḥammad was an Arab political and religious leader. In the history of religion he counts as the founder of the Islam and is regarded by Muslims as a messenger and prophet of Allāh. The name has many transliterations in English. The mountain in the proverb Mareks uses refers to Jabal an-Nûr by Mekka, where in the cave Hira Muḥammad met the angel Gabriel (according to legend).

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Milý pane kaprále,“ ozval se jednoroční dobrovolník, „papíry nejdou samy k veliteli eskorty. Když hora nejde k Mahomedovi, musí jít velitel eskorty sám pro papíry. Vy jste se nyní ocitl před novou situací.

Also written:Mahomed Hašek Mohamed cz Mohammed de

Hájek, Ladislavnn flag
*09.03.1884 Domažlice - †26.03.1943 Praha
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Žofie Hájková, Ladislav Hájek, Jaroslav Hašek (Poděbrady, May 1913)


Lázně Poděbrady, 8.5.1913

Hájek enters the plot when Marek relates his experiences from his time as editor of "Animal World".

He is mentioned again in by Švejk in [3.3], now with his full name and even his add-on "Domažlický" (from Domažlice) was included. Here the theme is Hájek's stint as editor of Nezávislost in Poděbrady.


Hájek was a journalist, poet and writer, friend of Jaroslav Hašek throughout most of the latter's life. They became friends when studying at the commercial academy (1899-1902) and together they published poetry collection Májové výkřiky in 1903 and Hájek wrote a short biography on Jaroslav Hašek in 1925.

In 1913 Hájek owned and published the supplement to Nezávislost, Lázně Poděbrady. Jaroslav Hašek contributed a couple of stories to this magazine. On 21 May 1913 it also printed a well known picture of Hašek and Hájek together with a group of friends (top left). That same year Hájek published the magazine Svět in addition to the well known Svět zvířat.

Hájek was Hašek's predecessor as editor of Svět zvířat (and also his successor). On 5 October 1912 Hájek married Žofie Fuchsová, daughter of the late Fuchs, the magazines former owner and publisher (again a parellel to Marek's story on the train).

Little is knwon about Hájek's personal life apart from the fact the he was married twice. According to Břetislav Hůla his first wife committed suicice, and Hájek then married Milena who was still alive in 1948.

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Source: Hůla

Quote from the novel
[II.3] Jak jsem se vlastně stal kdysi redaktorem ,Světa zvířat’, onoho velice zajímavého časopisu, bylo pro mne nějaký čas hádankou dosti složitou do té doby, kdy jsem sám přišel k tomu názoru, že jsem to mohl provést jen ve stavu naprosto nepříčetném, ve kterém jsem byl sveden přátelskou láskou ku starému kamarádovi Hájkovi, který redigoval do té doby poctivě časopis, ale zamiloval se přitom do dcerušky majitele časopisu pana Fuchse, který ho vyhnal na hodinu pod tou podmínkou, že mu zaopatří redaktora pořádného.
[III.3] Tenkrát totiž začali vydávat v Poděbradech časopejsek ,Nezávislost’ a poděbradskej lekárník byl toho hlavní hlavou, a redaktorem tam udělali ňákýho Ladislava Hájka Domažlickýho.
Fuchs, Václavnn flag
*14.3.1857 Hořice - †27.9.1911 Smíchov
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Das interessante Blatt, 5.11.1896


Židovské matriky, Hořice, 1857

Fuchs is mentioned by Marek when he on the train from Budějovice to Bruck an der Leitha relates his experiences as editor of the magazine Animal World.


Fuchs (born Siegfried Fuchs) was a Czech animal breeder, livestock trader and publisher/editor of Jewish origin. He is best known as owner and publisher of the magazine Svět zvířat (Animal World) and it is in this context his name is known to readers of Švejk.

Renowned expert

His name appears in national newspapers from 1894 and onwards in connection with rabbit-breeding and he was at the time operating from Jičín. He offered rabbits for sale in Prager Tagblatt, Prager Abendblatt, Das interessante Blatt and others.

In connection with the international agricultural fair in Prague in 1897 Wiener Landwirtschaftliche Zeitung from 19 May 1897 mentions him as "the renowned rabbit breeder from Jičín". During the same exhibition he won an awarded in the poultry category and in May 1898 he was a member of the executive committee of a society that arranged a poultry exhibition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Emperor's reign. In 1899 he co-founded of the Country association for breeding of luxury dogs in Bohemia where he also acted as manager.


Fuchs won several awards for his contribution to rabbit- poultry- and dog-breeding. According to some newspapers he was in 1908 even awarded Kaiserlicher Rat (a honorary title without much practical significance). The announcement caused some reactions, mainly in the Catholic press. According to Salzburger Kronik "he did not deserve it", and Čech lamented that "yet another Jew had received the award". Similar anti semitic writing was very common at the time, in Czech as well as German newspapers. Still the newspapers were probably wrong regarding the award itself. In a death notice about his father 9 March 1909 only the brother Ludvík uses the title Kaiserlicher Rat and Václav is simply listed as editor in chief of Svět zvířat.

Publisher, author and dog breeder

Wiener Landwirtschaftliche Zeitung, 20.11.1897

During the autumn of 1897 the monthly magazine Svět zvířat (Animal World) was launched in Jičín. At the beginning Fuchs was not alone in running the magazine but the next year he brought a large villa above the Klamovka park and moved there together with his family. Here he also relocated the editorial offices of the periodical that now became a bi-weekly. From now on he was sole proprietor and the villa also housed his dog breeding and trading enterprise. FuchsV advertised diligently in the newspapers, both for the dog trade and for the magazine. As publisher of a Czech language magazine he obviously targeted Czech readers, but his dog trade also advertised intensively in German newspapers like Prager Tagblatt and Bohemia, often using the brand Hundepark Fuchs. See Psinec nad Klamovkou for more about the breeding kennel.

Fuchs also wrote the books Všecky druhy psů slovem i obrazem (All dog breeds in words and pictures) (1903), Všeobecný slovník rad pro každého (General encyclopaedia with advice for everyone) (1906). The latter was a heavy publication of near 1400 pages, but the scope extends well beyond the subject of animals. That said he was first and foremost known as chief editor and dog breeder.

Fuchs and Hašek

Svět zvířat, 15.8.1910

I 1908 Fuchs employed a new editor, Jaroslav Hašek's friend Hájek. It was through this connection that Hašek was introduced to Klamovka and the animal magazine. In the beginning he only assisted in the editorial offices, but Hájek fell out with his boss and moved to Poděbrady to assume the role of managing editor of Nezávislost (Independence). Hašek was now offered the position as lead editor (he is registered as resident of the villa on 4 February 1909) and in the beginning it worked out well. The job was well paid (it also included 2 litres of beer per day) and this made Hašek capable of feeding a family and he married on 23 May 1910.

The newly wed moved out of the villa and down to Smíchov nr. 1125 at the other side of the Klamovka park. According to Hájek the enthusiasm that Fuchs initially had showed for his inventive editor now waned seriously. Hašek was less seen in the editorial offices and readers started to compain about dubious articles. In his predicament Fuchs travelled to Poděbrady in order to convince Hájek to return to the office as replacement for Hašek. He succeeded in his mission and in the issue of Svět zvířat from 15 October 1910, Hájek was again listed as chief editor. His departure from from Nezávislost was announced by himself 12 November.

Shit packet post mortem

From "Strana mírného pokroku"


Hašek did through his alter ego Marek a lot to make Fuchs and Animal World known to future generations. Not only does he mentions the magazine and its owner in Švejk, Fuchs is also mentioned Strana mírného pokroku v mezích zákona. If Fuchs is presented in a matter-of-fact way in the novel, the less he is in the story of the Party of Moderate Progress where he is the victim of a resounding shit packet.

The now dead lead publisher allegedly "had himself baptised to promote his business", made a living from animals as well as people, was a terrible employer and not particularly intelligent, shouted and swore, was good at appearing as someone he wasn't. He was overall fully qualified for a career as a politician. The books that Fuchs published in 1903 and 1906 are claimed to have been direct translations from German, carried out by then editor of the magazine, Karel Ladislav Kukla. It was also claimed that he was a Young Czech (see Mladočeši) and had borrowed money to buy a car.

Hájek narrates

Z mých vzpomínek na Jaroslava Haška, Ladislav Hájek, 1925

A person who knew Fuchs well was Hájek who in two periods edited his magazine. Hájek describes his boss as a good man but nervous by nature. He had identified the young writer and editor as a suitable husband for his daughter Žofie and someone who could eventually manage Svět zvířat. All his wishes were fulfilled but only after Fuchs's death. Otherwise Hájek writes that his boss was to keen in entangling him in the management of the enterprise, and frequently pulled him off to Prague when he'd rather spend time with Žofie. This led to the mentioned break-up that resulted in Hájek moving to Poděbrady, and he was even prohibited from seeing Žofie. Their relationship was only repaired when Fuchs in the autumn of 1910 was exasperated by Hašek's whims, travelled with his daughter to Poděbrady and begged Hájek to return.

Family relations

Národní listy, 9.3.1909

Siegfried Fuchs was born as the first of seven siblings in Hořice (okres Jičín), son of Abraham (1830-1909) and Elenora, neé Kohn (1833-1907). In 1882 he left the Mosaic faith and was from now registered without confession. On 17 October 1882 he married Marie Chválovská (born 1861, Roman-Catholic) in a civilian ceremony in Jičín. The name Václav is not registered in the birth records, nor in his marriage record, so he must have changed his first name after 1882. The couple had three children: Marie(1885), Žofie (1894) and Václav (1895).


Venkov, 28.9.1911

The family was from 26 December 1898 listed with address Smíchov No. 908 that indeed was villa Svět zvířat above Klamovka. The parents (father Abraham no called himself Vojtěch/Adalbert) and the youngest brother Diego moved there at the same time. They remained for around six months but the father moved back in 1908 after becoming widowed.

By 1909 the six remaining siblings apparently enjoyed a solid middle class existence (Anna had died). The brother Diego (1876-1941) owned a known gramophone- and instrument factory at Václavské náměstí, Ludvík managed a sugar factory, Evžen ran his own antique trade, Alois was a tradesman and Marie married to a lawyer. The daughter Žofie married Hájek 5 October 1912, at the time editor in Svět zvířat and from 1913 owner and publisher of the magazine.

Fuchs passed away only 54 years old and several newspapers printed notices about his death. The immediate cause was arteriosclerosis and cardiac arrest, the body was cremated in Zittau in Germany, just across the border with Bohemia (Austerrike did at the time now allow cremation).

Jaroslav Šerák

V matrikách narozených farnost Hořice jsem žádného Fuchse neobjevil. Žádný fuchs není ani v indexu. Takže Fuchs se jako židovské dítě asi narodil, ale později se víry vzdal, protože jsem objevil zápis o sňatku a tam je uveden jako Siegfried a bez náboženství. Manželka Marie Chválovská byla katolička, tak možná později přistoupil ke křesťanství. Sňatek měli jen úřední,světský, nikoliv církevní. Neměl to s náboženstvím lehké. Je to vidět na těch antisemitských výpadech v novinách. Proto asi volil pohřeb žehem, aby nebyl pohřben ani jako křesťan, ani jako žid. Také sedí v záznamu o sňatku i datum narození 14.3 .1857.

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SourceJaroslav Šerák, Ladislav Hájek

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Jak jsem se vlastně stal kdysi redaktorem ,Světa zvířat’, onoho velice zajímavého časopisu, bylo pro mne nějaký čas hádankou dosti složitou do té doby, kdy jsem sám přišel k tomu názoru, že jsem to mohl provést jen ve stavu naprosto nepříčetném, ve kterém jsem byl sveden přátelskou láskou ku starému kamarádovi Hájkovi, který redigoval do té doby poctivě časopis, ale zamiloval se přitom do dcerušky majitele časopisu pana Fuchse, který ho vyhnal na hodinu pod tou podmínkou, že mu zaopatří redaktora pořádného.
Brehm, Alfred Edmundnn flag
*2.2.1829 Renthendorf - †11.11.1884 Renthendorf
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Brehm enters the plot when Marek relates his experiences from his time as editor of "Animal World".


Brehm was a German zoologist and writer. Through the book Brehms Tierleben (Brehms Life of Animals), his name became a synonym for popular zoological literature. The Czech translation was by František Bayer.

External Links

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Vtom mne přerušil a optal se, zdali znám drůbežnictví: psy, králíky, včelařství, rozmanitosti ze světa zvířat, vystřihovat z cizích žurnálů obrázky k reprodukci, překládat z cizozemských žurnálů odborné články o zvířatech, umím-li listovat v Brehmovi a mohl-li bych s ním psát úvodníky ze života zvířat se zabarvením katolických svátků, změny ročních počasí, dostih, honů, výchovy policejních psů, národních i církevních svátků, zkrátka mít situační novinářský přehled a využitkovat ho v krátkém obsažném úvodníčku.
Inženýr Kún, Vilémnn flag
*1877 - †1934
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Pestrý týden, 17.11.1928


Pozor, 23.8.1913


Adresář ..., 1910

Kún is mentioned through "engineer Khúns flea", one of Marek's many zoological inventions at Svět zviřat. The discovery was reported in good faith by Čech but ridiculed by Čas (realist party) and it led to a heated debate.


Kún was a long time friend of Jaroslav Hašek. He was an engineer, just as the author states. He was also an editor and translator. They had met through the author's acquaintance with students from the technical high school at Karlovo náměstí.

He was also member of Strana mírného pokroku v mezích zákona (Party of Limited Progress Within the Bounds of Law). A curiosity is that his home address in 1910 was in the same building as Bendlovka.

Palaeopsylla Kuniana

The flea story originates from 1909 or 1910 when Jaroslav Hašek invented the species and wrote about it in Svět zvířat. More than four years later, on 17 August 1913, the catholic daily Čech picked up the story and printed it in good faith.

Several newspapers gleefully commented on it and correctly attributed it to Jaroslav Hašek. The story was first reported in the social democratic Pravo lidu on 19 August and then in the Realist Party paper Čas two days later. On 22 August Čech came up with an irate response, and the parallel to Marek's story is obvious.

Právo lidu was a newspaper that Hašek wrote for at the time and the style of the short entry (it was not signed) makes one suspect that the humorist himself was behind it. The flea-story was even printed overseas, it appeared in Minnesotské noviny on 11 September 1913.

External Links

SourceRadko Pytlík, Jaroslav Šerák, Václav Menger

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Měli do té doby přírodozpytci zdání o nějaké bleše inženýra Khúna, kterou jsem našel v jantaru a která byla úplně slepá, poněvadž žila na podzemním praehistorickém krtkovi, který také byl slepý, poněvadž jeho prababička se spářila, jak jsem psal, s podzemním slepým macarátem jeskynním z Postojenské jeskyně, která v té době zasahovala až na nynější Baltický oceán?

Also written:Khún Hašek

Pazoureknn flag
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Pazourek was a bee-keeper who was hit by a stroke when he read Marek's advice on bee-keeping in "Animal World".

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Původ k tomu daly mé různé drobné zprávy o včelařství, drůbežnictví, kde jsem rozvinul své nové theorie, které způsobily pravé zděšení, poněvadž po mých jednoduchých radách ranila známého včelaře pana Pazourka mrtvice a vyhynulo včelaření na Šumavě i v Podkrkonoší.
Kadlčák, Josef M.nn flag
*15.11.1856 Březnice - †27.4.1924 Praha
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Čech, 28.4.1924

Kadlčák is mentioned by Marek when he relates his experiences as editor of "Animal World".


Kadlčák was a parliamentary deputy for the Catholic National party, and for a period editor of the monthly Selský obzor (Farming Horizon).

External Links

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Vrhl jsem se na ptáky žijící na svobodě a ještě dnes se pamatuji na svou affairu s redaktorem ,Selského obzoru’, klerikálním poslancem ředitelem Jos. M. Kadlčákem!
Doktor Bayer, Františeknn flag
*15.5.1854 Mšené - †5.4.1936 Praha
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Zlatá Praha, 15.5.1914

Bayer is mentioned by Josef M. Kadlčák in his dispute with Marek about jays and nutcrackers (nucifraga caryocatactes B). Marek maintained that 'B' meant blb (idiot) whereas it probably refers to the initial letter of Bayer.


Bayer was a Czech zoologist, ornitologist and paleontologist, author of a number of scientific works. Amongst them was the popular science book "Naši ptáci" (Our birds), the book from 1898 mentioned by Marek in the novel. He also translated Brehm's "Tierleben" (Animal Life) and wrote a number of entries for Ottův slovník naučný. Bayer was a highly respected scientist and by 1914 held a position as government advisor.

Karel Hudec: Ornitologové České republiky. Přerov 1999: František BAYER: Absolvent Filosofické fakulty Karlovy univerzity v Praze (PhDr.), učil na gymnáziích v Domažlicích, Táboře a Písku, ředitel gymnázia v Praze. Kromě zoologie se věnoval i paleontologii.

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Source: Milan Jankovič, Karel Hudec

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Čtu spokojeně dál, nedaje se přerušovat. ,Je to darebáctví, když se to děje od neodborníků a surovců. Kdo kdy říkal sojce ořešník? V díle Naši ptáci na straně 148 jest latinský název: Ganulus glandarius B. A., je ten můj pták - sojka. Redaktor vašeho listu zajisté uzná, že znám lépe svého ptáka, než ho může znát neodborník. Ořešník se nazývá podle dra Bayera Mucifraga carycatectes B., a to ,b’ neznamená, jak mně psal váš redaktor, že je to začáteční písmeno slova ,blb’. Čeští ptakopisci znají vůbec jenom sojku obecnou, nikoliv vašeho žaludníka, kterého vynašel právě ten pán, na kterého patří začáteční písmeno ,B’ podle jeho theorie. To jest neurvalý osobní nájezd, který na věci nic nezmění.
Mestek, Ferdinandnn flag
*17.3.1858 Praha - †16.6.1916 Praha
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Prager Tagblatt, 15.12.1907


Národní politika, 17.1.1914


Bohemia, 5.7.1914


Lidové noviny, 18.6.1916


Letem světem, 30.4.1935

Mestek was a man who claimed to have discovered a mermaid, which he subsequently exhibited in a window in from Havlíčkova třída in Královské Vinohrady. This story is Švejk's own counterpoint to Marek's tale about his experiences as editor of Svět zvířat (Animal World).


Mestek was at a time proprietor of a flea circus in Prague, and was also known as Ferda Mestek de Podskal. He was a city character and con-man, had a chequered background, had tried a few professions, never with much luck. His major claim to fame is his part in the mildly ironic story Dramaturgie des Flohtheaters by Egon Erwin Kisch. The story first appeared in Bohemia on 21 June 1914, and was dramatised by Emil Artur Longen in 1926. Kisch published two more stories about Mestek in July 1914. Jaroslav Hašek knew this character and his name appears in a couple of short stories printed in Tribuna during the spring of 1921 (see links).

Mestek was born in a house opposite Emauzský klášter, son of a tailor from Mníšek. In police registers he is initially listed as "gold worker", a description that may not cover a lot. He had a number of professions (impresario, circus director, pub landlord) but they were rarely executed with fortune. One example is a short appointment at the workshop of the firm Eduard Lokesch & Son (see Lokesch), where we has employed after claiming knowledge of gold. The hollowness of the claim was quickly exposed and the working relation was terminated (E.E. Kisch). In 1907 he was on a long tour to Maribor and Innsbruck a.o. where he exhibited the lady Lona suspended in the air. He was reportedly popular also in Vienna and appeared in Brno twice.

Mestek was a well known character in Prague, to the extent that most major papers printed sympathetic obituaries when he died form tuberculosis in 1916 (Bohemia, Lidové noviny, Národní politika and Prager Tagblatt a.o). Hašek and E.E. Kisch were not the first and only who wrote about Mestek. Both Jan Neruda and Jakub Arbes had already discovered him and added him to the Czech literary heritage.

External Links

SourceJaroslav Šerák, E.E. Kisch, Jaroslav Hašek

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Jednou před lety byl v Praze nějakej Mestek a ten vobjevil mořskou pannu a ukazoval ji na Havlíčkově třídě na Vinohradech za plentou. Ve plentě byl otvor a každej moh vidět v takovej polotmě prachvobyčejný kanape a na něm se válela jedna ženská ze Žižkova.
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*1265 Firenze - †14.9.1321 Ravenna
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Dante is mentioned by Marek on the train to Bruck an der Leitha. He ridicules the escorting corporal who he compares to a Dante character.


Dante was a famous Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His La divina commedia, is often considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. Dante is also recognised as the father of the Italian language.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Pane desátníku,“ řekl jednoroční dobrovolník, „vy mně připomínáte nyní, jak sledujete šumné hory a vonné lesy, postavu Danta. Týž ušlechtilý obličej básníka, muže srdce a ducha jemného, přístupného šlechetnému hnutí. Zůstaňte, prosím vás, tak sedět, tak pěkně vám to sluší.
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*15.5.1880 Nové Město na Moravě - †2.5.1925 Praha
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Světozor, 13.11.1914

Štursa is mentioned by Marek as he wonders if the escort corporal on the train to Bruck an der Leitha ever stood model for the sculptor Štursa.


Štursa was one of the founders of modern Czech sculpture. His experiences from WW1 influenced his later works of art. He committed suicide in 1925.

Jaroslav Hašek knew Štursa in person as he frequented the same circles as the author. Zdeněk Matěj Kuděj recalls that the sculptor was present at Montmartre the day that Hašek and Kuděj met for the first time (probably in 1909).

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Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Dovolte, pane desátníku, nestál jste snad modelem sochaři Štursovi?“ Desátník podíval se na jednoročního dobrovolníka a řekl smutně: „Nestál.“
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Mráz was a reserve officer, teacher of maths in civilian life. He was commander of the troop transport train between Budějovice and Bruck an der Leitha. He led the inspection who in the arrestee car encountered an unexpected passenger, the snoring obrfeldkurát Lacina.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Do vagonu vstoupila inspekce. Velitelem vojenského vlaku byl štábem naznačen reservní důstojník doktor Mráz. Na takové hloupé služby vždy házeli reservní důstojníky. Doktor Mráz byl z toho jelen. Nemohl se dopočítat pořád jednoho vagonu, ačkoliv byl v civilu profesorem matematiky na reálném gymnasiu.
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Fredy is mentioned by the drowsy Chief Field Chaplain Lacina as he is woken up by Dr Mráz' inspection. It is possible that he recognised Dr Mráz, who thus carries the first name Bedřich (Friedrich).

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Desátník obrátil po delší námaze vrchního polního kuráta naznak, přičemž se ten probudil, a vida důstojníka před sebou, řekl: „Eh, servus, Fredy, was gibt’s neues? Abendessen schon fertig?“ Zamhouřil opět oči a obrátil se k stěně.
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Schreiter was a quartermaster sergeant who Švejk had a conflict with when doing national service in 1912. Schreiter had called the soldiers railway watchmen, a description Švejk, as a soldier of the Imperial armed forces, objected to.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Já vám něco povím, pane kaprál,“ poznamenal Švejk, „já už jsem starej voják, sloužil jsem před válkou, a vono se to vždycky s těma nadávkama nevyplácí. Když jsem tenkrát sloužil před léty, pamatuju se, že u nás byl u kumpanie nějakej supák Schreiter. Von sloužil za supu; moh jít už jako kaprál dávno domů, ale byl, jak se říká, uhozenej.
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*12.7.1876 Brno - †?
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Prochaska is mentioned in Švejk's story from his time doing National Service in 1912. He was accused of having written "We'll shit on the war" on a wall by a munitions dump. Švejk was taken to the regional court in Terezín because of this incident.


Prochaska was Austrian consul in Prizren (Ottoman Kosovo) in 1912. He was arrested by Serb troops occupying Prizren during the first Balkans War and accused of inciting the local Albanian population to resisting the invaders. Claims in the Austrian press that he was mistreated were unfounded, but the incident led to a major diplomatic crisis. The conflict was resolved when an initiative from Neue Freie Presse got the facts on the table. Prochaska was released in January 1913, and later that year he took up the position of councillor in Rio de Janeiro. Lev Trotsky was an eye-witness to the Serb capture of Prizren but does not comment on the Prochascka-affair.

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Quote from the novel
[2.3] Nešťastnou náhodou ještě nad tím nápisem byl jinej: ,My na vojnu nepůjdeme, my se na ni vyséreme’, a to bylo v roce 1912, když jsme měli jít do Srbska kvůli tomu konsulovi Procházkovi. Tak mě hned poslali do Terezína k landgerichtu.

Also written:Oskár Procházka cz

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Škvor is mentioned in a story Švejk tells from when he was in detention at Policejní ředitelství in Prague after having been arrested by Bretschneider. He was accused of high treason, and is known for his famously nebulous testimony:

Let things have been as they have been,
they have been, nevertheless, one way or another
So far it has never been
that things wouldn’t be one way or another

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Jako jsem znal jednoho uhlíře, kerej byl se mnou zavřenej na začátku války na policejním ředitelství v Praze, nějakej František Škvor, pro velezrádu, a později snad taky vodpravenej kvůli nějakej pragmatickej sankci. Ten člověk, když se ho u vejslechu ptali, jestli má nějaký námitky proti protokolu, řek: ,Aťsi bylo, jak si bylo, přece jaksi bylo, ještě nikdy nebylo, aby jaksi nebylo.’
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*1.12.1881 Postřižín - †7.5.1915 Motol
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K vítězné svobodě 1914-1918, Rudolf Medek, 1928

Kudrna is mentioned by one of the guards on the train to Királyhida. Kudrna was executed at Motol because of an incident where he got upset with a captain who hit his son with a sabre. This happened at the station in Benešov where Kudrna was saying goodbye to his family to join the army.


Kudrna was executed 7 May 1915, accused of taking part in a mutiny in Benešov. He left his wife and seven children behind. The story has been dramatised and filmatised, and in 1935 a boot about him was published.

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Quote from the novel
[2.3] Teď prej toho hodně věšejí a střílejí,“ řekl jeden z mužů eskorty, „nedávno nám četli na execírplace befél, že v Motole vodstřelili záložníka Kudrnu, poněvadž hejtman sekl šavlí jeho chlapečka, kerej byl na ruce u jeho ženy, když se s ním v Benešově chtěla loučit, a von se rozčílil.
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Esau is mentioned by a stupid corporal who is making himself important at the expense of an editor who cleaned his buttons so shoddily that "they were rusty red as Esau".


Esau was son of Rebecca and Isaac in the Book of Genesis. His brother was Jacob, father of the nation of Israel.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Desátník vzdychl: „Ani ty faldy na mantlu neuměl si udělat, až z Prahy si vobjednával vodičky a různý mastě na čistění knoflíků, a přece takovej jeho knoflík vypadal zrzavej jako Ezau.
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Koníček was a soldier in the 35th regiment who had stabbed both himself and the drill-sergeant to death, all according to a story by Švejk.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Pro tyhle samý věci, pro takový sekýrování, zapích před léty u pětatřicátýho regimentu nějakej Koníček sebe i kaprála. Bylo to v ,Kurýru’.
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Fiala was a corporal from Drábovna by Turnov who had his throat slit by his own soldiers in Dalmatia. This is in a story Švejk tells the escort corporal about corporals who got killed by their own men.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Jinej případ byl před léty v Dalmacii, tam kaprála podřezali a dodnes se neví, kdo to udělal. Zůstalo to zahalený v tajnosti, jen se ví tolik, že ten podřezanej kaprál se jmenoval Fiala a byl z Drábovny u Turnova.
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Rejmánek was a corporal, part of the same story as Fiala, which Švejk fails to complete because Field Chaplain Lacina wakes up, groaning and farting.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Potom ještě vím o jednom kaprálovi od pětasedmdesátejch, Rejmánkovi...“
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Gargantua by Gustave Doré, 1873.

Gargantua is mentioned when the author compares the sounds Father Lacina emits with the sounds of the awakening giant Gargantua.


Gargantua is one of the two main protagonists in a five-volume epic by François Rabelais, titled The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel (La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel). Gargantua is the father and Pantagruel the son in these stories. It is a satirical work, replete with vulgarities and descriptions of troublesome digestion and its consequences.

au matin, faisoyent davant luy sonner des verres avcques un cousteau, ou des flacons avecques leur toupon, ou des pinthes avecques leur couvercie; auquel son il s'esquayoit, i tressaloit, et luy mesmes se bressoit en dodelinant de la teste, monichordisant des doigtz et baritonant de cul.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Páter se probouzel v celé své kráse a důstojnosti. Jeho probouzení bylo provázeno těmitéž zjevy, jako ranní probuzení mladého obra Gargantuy, jak to popisoval starý veselý Rabelais.
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*1483 (1494) Chinon - †9.4.1553 Paris
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Rabelais is mentioned when the author compares the sounds Father Lacina emits with the sounds of the awakening giant Gargantua. He is referred to as "old merry Rabelais".


Rabelais was a French author known for his world classics The lives of Gargantua and Pantagruel. Jaroslav Hašek has often been compared to Rabelais, an author he obviously had read and been inspired by.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Páter se probouzel v celé své kráse a důstojnosti. Jeho probouzení bylo provázeno těmitéž zjevy, jako ranní probuzení mladého obra Gargantuy, jak to popisoval starý veselý Rabelais.
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Marína appears in a Slovak folk song Švejk sings about a priest. She is from Hodonín. The version Švejk sings seems to be a vulgar variation on the original.

Quote from the novel
Ide Marína 
od Hodonína,
za ní pan farář
s bečicú vína.
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Kirschner was a senior lieutenant whose servant Lukáš had to share when Švejk was on his anabasis or was locked up. The servant of Kirschner neglected Lukáš totally, to the degree that Lukáš was glad to have Švejk back despite his numerous misdeeds.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Jeho situace byla velice nepříjemnou, poněvadž měli prozatím s nadporučíkem Kirschnerem jednoho burše. Chlapík se staral vlastně výhradně jen o svého pána a provozoval úplnou sabotáž, když šlo o nadporučíka Lukáše.
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Vaníček is mentioned in an anecdote Švejk tells Lukáš in Vienna when he emphasises that everything that has happened until now has been bad luck, mere divine management as old Vaníček from Pelhřimov said when he had been sentenced for the 36th time.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Vostudu,“ pokračoval Švejk, „jsem vám jistě nikdy neudělal, jestli se něco stalo, to byla náhoda, pouhý řízení boží, jako říkal starej Vaníček z Pelhřimova, když si vodbejval šestatřicátej trest.
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*5.9.1860 Židlochovice - †7.4.1933 Żywiec
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Stephan is reported to have honoured the whorehouse Zum Kukuruzkolben with a visit during the manoeuvres by Sopron in 1908.


Stephan probably refers to Karl Stephan, an Austrian archduke of the House of Habsburg, and admiral in the Royal and Imperial navy. Whether or not he took part in any manouvres by Sopron in 1908 has not been confirmed.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Od opuštěného pavilónku, kde dřív za času míru fotografoval nějaký fotograf vojáky trávící zde mládí na vojenské střelnici, bylo vidět dole v údolí u Litavy červené elektrické světlo v bordelu „U kukuřičného klasu“, který poctil svou návštěvou arcivévoda Štěpán při velkých manévrech u Šoproně v roce 1908 a kde se scházela denně důstojnická společnost.

Also written:Arcivévoda Štěpán Hašek Habsburg–Tescheni Károly István hu

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Mikulášek was the servant of major Wenzl, a small and feeble fellow who in Királyhida gets totally ridiculed by Švejk and Lukáš.

This is the first time the good soldier shows his ruthless streak, or rather: he shows that he doesn't suffer fools. Towards people of his own rank he can afford to be straightforward in this respect, against his superiors he needs to be cunning and use irony as a weapon in such a way that he doesn't get caught.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Nadporučík Lukáš,“ řekl přistupuje k Mikuláškovi nepříliš pevným krokem, „a jak vy se jmenujete?“ Mikulášek mlčel. Lukáš přitáhl si židli před Mikuláška na stole, sedl si, dívaje se na něho nahoru, řekl: „Švejku, přineste mně z kufru služební revolver.“ Mikulášek po celou dobu, co Švejk hledal v kufru, mlčel a jen se vyděšeně díval na nadporučíka. Jestli se v té chvíli pochopil, že sedí na stole, byl jistě ještě zoufalejší, poněvadž jeho nohy dotýkaly se kolen sedícího nadporučíka. „Jářku, jak se jmenujete, člověče?“ volal nahoru na Mikuláška nadporučík.
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Kákonyi was the wife of the ironmongers Gyula Kákonyi in Soproni utca. Lukáš fell for her in the theatre i Királyhida and the subsequent letter of admiration was the reason for the huge scandal that ensued after the husband had read the letter. We are also told that she was a German from Sopron.


Kákonyi has no easily recognisable model, although it can't be ruled out that Jaroslav Hašek was inspired by some real event. It can be stated with near certainty that no person carrying this name lived in Bruck an der Leitha or Királyhida at the time in question. There is however a precedent to the story of the scandal involving the Kakonyi couple, but from the author himself. It had appeared already in 1917 in the short novel Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetí, although in a partly different setting.

It is also striking that the author assigns a Hungarian name to a German lady from Sopron, underlining that this figure is entirely fictional.

Source: Klara Köttner-Benigni

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Je to věc náramně důležitá, Švejku,“ poučoval ho dál, „opatrnosti nikdy nezbývá, a proto, jak vidíte, není tam adresa. Já se na vás úplně spoléhám, že odevzdáte to psaní v pořádku. Poznamenejte si ještě, že ta dáma se jmenuje Etelka, tedy zapište si ,paní Etelka Kákonyiová’. Ještě vám říkám, že musíte to psaní diskretně doručit za všech okolností a čekat na odpověď. Že máte čekat na odpověď, o tom je už napsáno v dopise. Co ještě chcete?“
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Kákonyi was was the owner of an ironmongers shop in Soproni utca, married to Etelka Kákonyi. He did nok take lightly to the letter from Lukáš that Švejk and Vodička delivered, intended for his wife. The ensueing row let to a massive brawl between Magyars and Czechs out on the street. The affair ended up in numerous Hungarian newspapers, and became a huge scandal, further complicating the inter-ethnic relations in the empire.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Ten krám patří nějakému Maďarovi Kákonyimu. Víte, co je to Maďar? Tak himmelherrgott, víte nebo nevíte? Víte, dobře. Nahoře nad krámem je první patro a tam on bydlí. Víte o tom? Že nevíte, krucifix, tak já vám povídám, že tam bydlí. Stačí vám to? Stačí, dobře. Kdyby vám to nestačilo, tak vás dám zavřít. Máte poznamenáno, že se ten chlap jmenuje Kákonyi? Dobrá, tak vy, zítra ráno asi tak v deset hodin, půjdete dolů do města, najdete ten dům a půjdete nahoru do prvního patra a odevzdáte paní Kákonyiové toto psaní.“
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Růženka was a well known Czech waitress at Zum schwarzen Lamm who was owed money by every one-year volunteer who had ever set his foot in Bruck an der Leitha.


Růženka appears to have had a real-life model, a certain Růženka who according to Bohumil Vlček worked at "U růže" (Zur Rose). The author may thus have used the same model for two different fictive persons. See Zur weissen Rose.

Source: Bohumil Vlček

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Vodička bydlíval před léty v Praze na Bojišti, a proto při takovém setkání nezbylo nic jiného, než že oba zašli do hospody „U černého beránka“ v Brucku, kde byla známá číšnice Růženka, Češka, které byli všichni čeští jednoročáci, kteří kdy byli v lágru, nějaký obnos dlužni.

Also written:Rosie Sadlon

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Vodička was a Czech sapper, an old friend of Švejk from Prague. The latter was on his way to Soproni utca 16 to carry out his delicate errand for Lukáš when he bumped into his old mate. They proceeded to Zum schwarzen Lamm to have a drink for the old days and Švejk unwisely revealed his delicate mission to his old friend. Vodička hated Magyars, was in a quarrelsome mood, and had also tanked up a bit. The ensuing scandal is well known for anyone who has read Švejk with attention.

Vodička had served at the front in Serbia and by Przemyśl and appears rather brutal both in words and deeds. He served in a regiment from Steirmark who had their quarters in Brucker Lager.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Nadporučík zabalil se opět do deky, ze které ho Švejk vytáhl, a spal dál, zatímco Švejk putoval dál do Királyhidy. Najít Sopronyi utczu čís. 16 nebylo by bývalo tak těžké, kdyby ho náhodou nebyl potkal starý sapér Vodička, který byl přidělen k „štajerákům“, jejichž kasárna byla dole v lágru.
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Purkrábek was a Czech landverák who by mistake almost got beaten up by Vodička in Pausdorf. He should not be confused with Purkrábek in the Slavie Bank.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Jednou ti už takovýho kluka maďarskýho držím za chřtán v Pausdorfě, kam jsme šli my saperáci na víno, a chci mu dát jednu überšvunkem přes kokos v tý tmě, poněvadž jsme hned, jak to začlo, praštili láhví do visací lampy, a von najednou začne křičet: ,Tondo, dyť to jsem já, Purkrábek, vod 16. landwehr!’
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Mejstřík was a Czech soldier who Vodička could relate had led the way in a brawl with the hungarians by Neusiedler See. Mejstřík was a huge man, with paws as big as Bílá Hora.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] My si sedneme naproti nim, jen jsme si überšvunky položili před sebe na stůl, a povídáme si: ,Vy pacholci, my vám dáme láňok,’ a nějakej Mejstřík, kerej měl ploutev jako Bílá hora, se hned nabíd, že si půjde zatančit a že nějakýmu syčákovi vezme holku z kola.
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Paroubek was the landlord of a pub in Libeň who Švejk tells Vodička about to timely remind him of the dangers of violent excess.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Já jsem znal nějakýho kořalečníka Paroubka v Libni. Jednou se mu tam opil nějakej dráteník jalovcovou a začal nadávat, že je to slabý, že do toho leje vodu, že kdyby drátoval sto let a za celej vejdělek si koupil samou jalovcovou a vypil ji najednou, že by moh ještě chodit po provaze a nosit ho, Paroubka, v náručí.
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Jetzbacher was a swine of a captain who, according to a story Vodička told Švejk, was shot by his own soldiers by Przemyśl.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Když jsme byli na frontě u Přemyšlu, tak tam byl s námi hejtman Jetzbacher, svině, které nebylo rovno pod sluncem. Ten nás uměl tak sekýrovat, že nějakej Bitterlich od naší kumpačky, Němec, ale moc takovej hodnej člověk, se kvůli němu zastřelil.
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Bitterlich was a soldier who committed suicide because of captain Jetzbacher.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] Když jsme byli na frontě u Přemyšlu, tak tam byl s námi hejtman Jetzbacher, svině, které nebylo rovno pod sluncem. Ten nás uměl tak sekýrovat, že nějakej Bitterlich od naší kumpačky, Němec, ale moc takovej hodnej člověk, se kvůli němu zastřelil.
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Voborník was a locksmith from Neklanova ulice in Vyšehrad. He appears in a story Švejk tells Vodička.

Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Z toho tě, Vodičko, vyvedu. Víš, kde je na Vyšehradě Neklanova ulice? Tam měl dílnu zámečník Voborník. Byl to člověk spravedlivej a jednoho dne, když se vrátil domů z flámu, tak si s sebou přived ještě jednoho flamendra spát.
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*17.2.1853 Louny - †9.9.1912 Domažlice
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Besedy lidu, číslo 8, 1903


Oesterreichische Buchhändler-Correspondenz, 6.6.1874


Národní listy, 19.12.1911

Vrchlický is quoted by Švejk when he is explaining Kákonyi that HE wrote the letter to his wife, that is was no fault of Lukáš. Vrchlický is said to have used the expression kapitales Frau.


Vrchlický (real name Emil Bohuslav Frída) was a Czech poet and translator, a pupil of Hugo. He translated a number of classics to Czech, amongst them: Goethe, Baudelaire, Hugo, Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley, Dante, Petöfi and Ibsen.

That Vrchlický ever used the term kapitales Frau or similar has not been verified. Moreover the soldier's grasp of German grammar is questionable: Frau is a female noun, not neuter as the spelling here indicates.

On 18 December 1911 Franz Kafka makes a note in his diary that he was present at the first performance of Vrchlický's play "Hippodamie" at Národní divadlo. Kafka didn't think much of it, in fact deemed it a lousy play without any sense or direction.

Franz Kafka, Tagebücher

Jetzt am Abend, wo mir die Gedanken freier zu werden anfangen und ich vielleicht zu einigem fähig wäre, muß ich ins Nationalteater zu "Hippodamie", Uraufführung von Vrchlicky.

18. XII 11 Vorgestern Hippodamie. Elendes Stück. Ein Herumirren in der griechischen Mythologie ohne Sinn und Grund. Aufsatz Kvapils auf dem Teaterzettel, der zwischen den Zeilen die während der ganzen Aufführung sichtbare Ansicht ausspricht, daß eine gute Regie (die hier aber nichts als Nachahmung Reinhardts war) eine schlechte Dichtung zu einem großen teatralischem Werk machen könne. Traurig muß das alles für einen nur etwas herumgekommenen Tschechen sein.

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Quote from the novel
[2.3] „Pane,“ řekl důstojně Švejk, „to psaní jsem psal já. Ich geschrieben, kein Oberleutnant. Podpis jen tak, falešný, Unterschrift, Name, falsch. Mně se vaše paní velice líbí. Ich liebe Ihre Frau. Já jsem do vaší paní zamilovanej až po uši, jak říkal Vrchlický. Kapitales Frau.“
Index Back Forward II. At the front Hovudpersonen

3. Švejk's happenings in Királyhida

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