The Good Soldier Švejk

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The novel The Good Soldier Švejk refers to a number of institutions and firms, public as private. These have until 15 September 2013 been categorised as 'Places'. This only partly makes sense as this type of entity can not be always be associated with fixed geographical point, in the way that for instance cities, mountains and rivers can. This new page contains military and civilian institutions (including army units, regiments etc.), hotels, public houses, newspapers and magazines.

The line between this page and "Places" is blurred, but the idea with this section is to include entities that are not necessarily located on a fixed spot on earth. Therefore Prague and Vienna will still be found in the "Places" database, because these have constant co-ordinates. On the other hand institutions may change location: Kriegsministerium and U kalicha are not unequivocal geographical terms so they will from now on appear on this page.

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8. Švejk as a malingerer

Posádková věznicenn flag
Kapucínská 214/2, Praha IV.
Wikipedia czen Google mapsearch Švejk-muzeum

Posádková věznice is apparently the scene of the plot of two entire chapters. Both [1.8] and [1.9] takes place in and around the garrison prison. The first part is set in the sick-barrack of the prison, then moves on to cell no. 16. Švejk's escape starts in the chapel when during holy mass field chaplain Katz takes to Švejk and consequently employs him as him officer's servant.

The prison is first mentioned at the end of [1.7] and it is said that this is where Švejk is going. Amongst the people Švejk met during his imprisonment are: Dr Grünstein, baroness von Botzenheim, captain Linhart, the warders Slavík, Řepa and Říha - and at the very end: the military prosecution represented by Bernis.


Posádková věznice is the author's term for c.a.k. vojenská věznice v Praze (k.u.k. Militärgefängnis von Prag), a prison that was part of the garrison complex at Hradčany. It shared the building with the garrison court and the Landwehr K.k. Landwehr
The territorial army of the Austrian part of the Dual Monarchy.
court. The building is located behind Loreta; and was opened in 1896 and is still in use, but not publicly accessible. Its function as a prison and brutal interrogation centre was revitalised during the Nazi and Communist dictatorships. See also Vojenský soud.

In 1906 there were two Stabsprofusen employed at the prison, but none of them were named Slavík, Říha, or Řepa. The two were Jan Frkal and Josef Bureš and they lived on the premises. If any of them was a model for the literary figures is impossible to say and it can not be determined if the author had anything to do with the garrison prison at all, so we must assumed that the inspiration for those figures hailed from elsewhere. On the other hand it is possible that Jaroslav Hašek had heard some story from former inmates of the prison. The description of the conditions in the prison and the brutality of the warders all in all appears strongly exaggerated.

There is every sign that the author was not very familiar with the organisation of the garrison. There is contradicting information on where Švejk actually was: at Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany or in a sick-bay within the prison. One passage indicates that the author believes that the military hospital was part of the prison, which it clearly wasn't. In chapter nine the reader gets the impression that the garrison actually WAS the prison, which it wasn't (at most "garrison" was a colloquial term for the garrison prison).

Antonín Matějovský

Antonín Matějovský

In 1923 a series of publications called "Documents from our national revolution" started to appear. Here one witness, A. Matějovský, gives some insight into the conditions at the prison. He was arrested after having distributed the so-called "Tsar's manifest" in 1914 and given a 10 year term. He spent the first 16 months at Hradčany before being transferred to Arad. His description of the prison is completely at odds with what Švejk experienced. The staff behaved impeccably towards the prisoners and gave them a friendly send-off to Arad, where the condition in the prison was much worse. Matějovský was released in 1917 during the general amnesty of the new emperor Karl I.

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Quote from the novel
[1.8] Švejka v posádkové věznici do nemocničního baráku právě mezi takové malomyslné simulanty.

Also written:Garrison prison en Garnisonsgefängnis de Garnisonsarresten no

Vojenská nemocnice Hradčanynn flag
Loretánská 181/4, Praha IV.
Google mapsearch Švejk-muzeum

© Stará Praha


Český svět, 5.5.1916

Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany is mentioned by Grünstein when he asks Švejk if he enjoys his stay at the military hospital. It is however unclear if the hospital is part of the plot at all, as the information about Švejk's stay amongst the malingerers at Hradčany is somewhat contradictory. In other parts of the text the reader gets the impression that it is talk of a sick-bay that is part of the garrison prison. See Posádková věznice for more on this topic.


Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany refers to a branch of k.u.k. military hospital no. 11 in Prague. It was located in the same barrack complex as the garrison prison, the military court, and other army institutions. The main military hospital in Praha was Vojenská nemocnice Karlovo náměstí.

Chief staff doctor in 1916 was dr. Křejčí as revealed when newspapers reported on a visit by Countess Coudenhove, the wife of Bohemia's governor. The visit took place on 10 April 1916, too late to fit chronologically with the visit of baroness Botzenheim, but nevertheless there are interesting similarities.

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Quote from the novel
[1.8] Druhého dne při visitě otázal se dr Grünstein Švejka, jak se mu líbí ve vojenské nemocnici. Švejk odpověděl, že jest to podnik správný a vznešený.

Also written:Military hospital at Hradčany en Militärspital am Hradschin de Militærsjukehuset på Hradčany no

Československá Republikann flag
Karmelitská ul. 387/6, Praha III.
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Chytilův adresář 1924


Národní Listy, 11.4.1931

Československá Republika is mentioned during the visit of baroness von Botzenheim at Hradčany where she gave Švejk the book Episodes from the life of our emperor that was written by the future editor in chief of this paper.


Československá Republika was an official government daily newspaper that was published by this name from 1919 to 1932. It was a direct successor to Pražské úřední noviny, and was even located in the same offices. The mentioned editor, Otakar Filip, had been an working for the paper also during the old regime. From 1932 to 1938 it continued publishing, but now using the name Pražské noviny. The government's newspaper group also issued Úřední List Československá Republika and the evening paper Prager Abendblatt (in German).

In Rudé Pravo

Jaroslav Hašek also wrote a satirical article in Rudé Pravo where editor Filip and his newspaper is treated in more detail: What I would advise the Communists if I were the Chief Editor of the official Government newspaper Československá Republika. The article was dated 7 April 1921 printed on 8 May - around the time when the passages in the novel were written. In the article he claims that some Svátek was editor in chief, in the novel the author of the book about the emperor (i.e. Otakar Filip) has this role. According to the address book from 1924 the chief editor was Josef Hevera, and another of the names mentioned in the Rudé Pravo article, Adolf Zeman, was indeed on the editorial board. The article furthermore suggests that Jaroslav Hašek was still a Communist at heart.

On Hašek

The newspaper wrote about Hašek from time to time, mainly after he became famous, and on 5 January 1923 they printed an obituary. Shortly after his return from Russia they printed adverts for his appearance at the theatre Červená sedma where he related stories from his stay in Russia.

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Quote from the novel
[1.8] Potom vytáhla z koše tři láhve vína pro rekonvalescenty a dvě krabice cigaret. Vše elegantně rozložila na prázdnou postel vedle Švejka, kam přibyla ještě pěkně vázaná kniha „Příběhy ze života našeho mocnáře“, kterou napsal nynější zasloužilý šéfredaktor naší úřední „Československé republiky“, který se ve starém Frantíkovi viděl.
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8. Švejk as a malingerer

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