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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 This means that Captain Ságner is still referred to as Hauptmann although the term is now obsolete, having been replaced by Kapitän.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.

>> 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

8. Švejk as a malingerer

Bruno, Giordanonn flag
*1548 Nola - †17.2.1600 Roma
Wikipedia czdeenitno Google search

Giordano Bruno is mentioned by a prisoner at Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany who attempts to feign insanity by yelling day and night: "Giordano Bruno's fire is still smouldering, renew the process against Galileo!"

Background

Giordano Bruno was an Italian astronomer and philosopher who was burned as a heretic in 1600. Finally, in the year 2000 the Papal Cultural Council and a theological commission declared his execution as illegal.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Nejlepší,“ mínil jeden ze simulantů, „dá se simulovat šílenství. Z našeho učitelského sboru jsou vedle v cimře dva, jeden neustále křičí dnem i nocí: ,Hranice Giordana Bruna ještě dýmá, obnovte proces Galileův!’ a ten druhý štěká, napřed třikrát pomalu: haf - haf - haf, potom pětkrát rychle za sebou: hafhafhafhafhaf, a zas pomalu, a tak to jde neustále.
Galilei, Galileonn flag
*15.2.1564 Pisa - †8.1.1642 Arcetri
Wikipedia czdeenitnnno Google search
galileo.jpg

Galilée devant le Saint-Office au Vatican. Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury, 1847

Galileo is mentioned because a recruit at Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany was simulating madness by shouting day after day: "Giordano Giordano Bruno's fire is still smouldering, renew the process against Galileo!"

In Putim in [2.2] he is mentioned again when Švejk's explains his anabasis to Wachtmeister Flanderka. Here the author quotes an expression that is attributed to Galieo.

Background

Galileo was an Italian scientist, best known for his work in the fields of astronomy and physics. He is regarded as the founder of experimental natural sciences.

The process that is mentioned in The Good Soldier Švejk was a trial that was conducted in 1633 as a result of Galileo's book Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (Dialogue concerning the two chief World Systems). The systems being discussed in the book is the heliocentric (Copernicus) and the geocentric (Ptolemy).

The book caused anger in clerical circles and Galileo was put before a papal court. Here he withdrew his theories and thus avoided being sentenced to death by burning. He was found guilty of heresy and abjurium, sentenced to life imprisonment, albeit soon converted to house arrest. During interrogation when he was forced to retract his heliocentrical world view, he allegedly said about the earth: "and yet it moves" (Eppur si muove)[a]. It is this statement that the author refers to in connection with Švejk being arrested by Wachtmeister Flanderka in Putim.

Only in 1835 did the Catholic Church withdraw the ban of the book, but the final rehabilitation of the author only followed in 1992.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Nejlepší,“ mínil jeden ze simulantů, „dá se simulovat šílenství. Z našeho učitelského sboru jsou vedle v cimře dva, jeden neustále křičí dnem i nocí: ,Hranice Giordana Bruna ještě dýmá, obnovte proces Galileův!’ a ten druhý štěká, napřed třikrát pomalu: haf - haf - haf, potom pětkrát rychle za sebou: hafhafhafhafhaf, a zas pomalu, a tak to jde neustále.
[2.2] Strážmistr podíval se laskavě na Švejka, který klidně a důstojně řekl: „A přece jdu do Budějovic.“ Bylo to víc než Galileovo: „A přece se točí!“ Poněvadž ten to musel říct patrně asi hodně vztekle.
References
aDid Galileo Truly Say, ‘And Yet It Moves’? A Modern Detective StoryMario Livio, Scientific American6.5.2020
Henčlů, Frantann flag
Google search Švejkův slovník

Franta Henčlů (František Henčl) was a soldier from Hluboká who was given two years in prison after having informed members of parliament about maltreatment of soldiers. This is revealed in an anecdote Švejk tells his fellow malingerers at the military hospital at Hradčany. The episode happened during Švejk's period of national service and it is revealed that he at the time served in 11. Kompanie.

Background

This story surely has some connection to real events, but attempts to pinpoint it directly have so far proved futile. Before the war there were several reports in the press about mistreatment of soldiers, and at least one involving IR 91.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Nějakej ministr poslal k nám komisi, aby to vyšetřila, a nějakej Franta Henčlů ze Hluboký dostal potom dva roky, poněvadž to byl ten, co se vobrátil do Vídně k poslancům kvůli tý facce, kerou dostal na cvičišti od pana obršta.
Doctor Grünsteinnn flag
Google search Švejkův slovník
grunstein2.png

Military head doctors in 1906.

Grünstein was head doctor at the garrison at Hradčany where the malingerers were undergoing treatment. Doctor Grünstein made sure they got the demon of sabotage exorcised by medical means like quinine, aspirin, enema, stomach pumping and a strict diet. See Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany.

Background

Grünstein doesn't have an obvious model from real life. Although Jaroslav Hašek was admitted to a military hospital in 1915, this was in Budějovice so any person that may have served as inspiration for Grünstein may better be looked for there and not in Prague.

Dr. Halbhuber

That said, Hašek may also have been inspired by people he had only heard of or read about. We know that the head medic at Hradčany in 1916 was Dr. Josef Krejčí, and that his superior at the main military hospital at Karlovo náměstí was the infamous and hated Dr. Franz Halbhuber. The latter was well known and Hašek probably knew about him. As such Halbhuber may well have lent his dubious qualities to both Grünstein and doctor Bautze.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Přiblížila se doba odpolední visity. Vojenský lékař Grünstein chodil od postele k posteli a za ním sanitní poddůstojník se zápisní knihou. „Macuna?“ „Zde!“ „Klystýr a aspirin! - Pokorný?!“ „Zde!“ „Vypláchnout žaludek a chinin! - Kovařík?!“

Literature

Macunann flag
Google search Švejkův slovník

Macuna was one of the malingerer who was called up for treatment by doctor Grünstein. He was treated with anema and aspirin. See Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Přiblížila se doba odpolední visity. Vojenský lékař Grünstein chodil od postele k posteli a za ním sanitní poddůstojník se zápisní knihou. „Macuna?“ „Zde!“ „Klystýr a aspirin! - Pokorný?!“ „Zde!“ „Vypláchnout žaludek a chinin! - Kovařík?!“
Pokornýnn flag
Google search Švejkův slovník

Pokorný was one of the malingerer who was called up for treatment by doctor Grünstein. He was treated with stomach pumping and quinine. See Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Přiblížila se doba odpolední visity. Vojenský lékař Grünstein chodil od postele k posteli a za ním sanitní poddůstojník se zápisní knihou. „Macuna?“ „Zde!“ „Klystýr a aspirin! - Pokorný?!“ „Zde!“ „Vypláchnout žaludek a chinin! - Kovařík?!“
Kovaříknn flag
Google search Švejkův slovník

Kovařík was one of the malingerer who was called up for treatment by doctor Grünstein. He was given enema and aspirin. But soon after he quietly, from his bed by the window, he suddenly reported fit for duty, and Grünstein awarded him with an enema for the road. See Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] "Poslušně hlásím, pane obrarct," ozvalo se tiše od postele u okna, "já už jsem zdravej, já už v noci pozoroval, že mne záducha přešla." "Jmenujete se?" "Kovařík, poslušně hlásím, mám dostat klystýr:" "Dobře, klystýr dostanete ještě na cestu," rozhodl dr. Grünstein, "abyste si nestěžoval, že jsme vás tady neléčili".
Koťátkonn flag
Google search Švejkův slovník

Koťátko was one of the malingerer who was called up for treatment by doctor Grünstein. He was treated with stomach pumping and quinine. See Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] „Vypláchnout žaludek a chinin! - Kovařík?!“ „Zde!“ „Klystýr a aspirin! - Koťátko?!“ „Zde!“ „Vypláchnout žaludek a chinin!“ A tak to šlo, jeden za druhým, bez milosti, mechanicky, řízně.
Socratesnn flag
*4.6.469 f.kr Aten - †399 f.kr Aten
Wikipedia czdeennnno Google search
sokrates.jpg

La mort de Socrate, Jacques-Louis David, 1787

Socrates is mentioned because not even he emptied the poison chalice with such calm as Švejk drank quinine.

Background

Socrates was a Greek philosopher, one of the all time greats, and regarded as one of the founders of Western philosophy. The outspoken philosopher was late is his life accused and convicted of impiety and having corrupted the youth. He was sentenced to either exile from Athens or to take his own life by a method of his own choice. He chose the latter by emptying a chalice of poison.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Ani Sokrates nepil svou číši bolehlavu s takovým klidem jako chinin Švejk, na kterém vyzkoušel dr Grünstein všechny stupně trápení.

Also written:Sókratés cz

Baronesse von Botzenheimnn flag
Google search Švejkův slovník
botzenheim.png

The baroness watches Švejk devour his gifts

Josef Lada, 1930.

Von Botzenheim was the widow of an infantry general. She had read about Švejk's exploits in Bohemia. The editors had urged readers to collect money for the brave cripple, who brimming with patriotism was pushed to mustering in a wheelchair. The baroness brought splendid gifts for Švejk, amongst them a bottle of war liquor with the inscription Gott Strafe England! The author mocks the poor Czech of the German-speaking baroness and her visit ranks amongst the most famous episodes of the novel.

Background

Botzenheim is a surname that is impossible to find in name databases and is surely an invention. Needless to say no such noble family existed[a] and there is no trace of any Botzenheim (general or other) in Schematismus or other military records. Nor does the surname reflect any known geographical entity.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] V té době měla vdova po generálovi pěchoty baronka von Botzenheim velice mnoho starostí, aby vypátrala toho vojáka, o kterém uveřejnila nedávno Bohemie zprávu, jak se dal vozit, on, mrzák, na vozíku pro nemocné a křičel: „Na Bělehrad!“, kterýž vlastenecký projev dal původ redakci „Bohemie“ k vyzvání čtenářů, aby konali sbírky ve prospěch loyálního hrdiny-mrzáka.
References
aBaronka von BotzenheimJaroslav Šerák2009 - 2021
Editor Filip, Otakarnn flag
*1.7.1874 Praha - †10.4.1931 Praha
Google search Švejkův slovník
filip3.png

Národní politika, 18.8.1915

ofilip.png

On his 50th birthday. Národní listy 1.7.1924

cesrep.png

Národní Listy, 11.4.1931

Filip was probably the person the narrator had in mind as, quote: author of Stories from the life of our monarch and editor in chief of Československá Republika.

Background

Filip was a Czech journalist. author, and illustrator, and long time editor of local news in official newspapers that were published in Prague both under Austria-Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The book that is referred to he actually wrote, albeit with a title that differs somewhat from the one given in the novel. It was published in 1910 and contained 242 pages. That he was editor in chief of Československá Republika isn't entirely true, he was one of the board of editors. Filip specialised in reports and literature about Prague and published several books. See also Pražské úřední noviny.

The full title of the book Jaroslav Hašek refers to was: Osmdesátiletý mocnář: Význačné události a zajímavé obrazy ze života jeho veličenstva císaře a krále Františka Josefa I. Translated: The eighy year old monarch: significant events and interesting pictures from the life of His Majesty Emperor and King Franz Josef I.

On 18 August 1915, ironically on the very day that Jaroslav Hašek was awarded the small silver medal for bravery, an advert for a patriotic book appeared in his home town. It was titled The supreme protector of Czech children, His Highness Emperor and King Franz Josef I. and written by none other than our editor Filip!

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] 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.

Literature

Shrapnel, Henrynn flag
*3.6.1761 Bradford-on-Avon - †13.3.1842 Southampton
Wikipedia dadeen Google search Švejkův slovník

Shrapnel is mentioned indirectly through the term shrapnel as Baronesse von Botzenheim and her entourage enter the sick-ward of the malingerers at Hradčany. As the novel progresses his name, or rather his invention, crops up several times in various stories from the fighting.

Background

Shrapnel was a British officer and inventor who is famous for having invented the shrapnel shell, a shell filled with metal fragments. It turned out to be an effective anti-personnel weapon. The method was in use from the Napoleonic wars until the end of World War I.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Ani arcikněžna nemohla tak vážně vejít, jako to udělala baronka von Botzenheim. Za ní valil se celý průvod, ve kterém nescházel ani účetní šikovatel při nemocnici, který v tom všem viděl tajemnou ruku revise, která ho od tučného žlabu v týlu hodí napospas šrapnelům někam pod drátěné překážky posic.
[1.14.2] V tom okamžiku zapomínal, že sviští mu nad hlavou granáty a šrapnely, a probíral se neúnavně se zavazadly ke štábu, kde stálo vozatajstvo.

Literature

Footman Johannnn flag
Google search

Johann was the servant of Baronesse von Botzenheim and looked like the murderer Babinský.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Ja čist všekno f nófiny, já vám přinest pápat, kousat, kuřit, cucat, cešky fójak, toprá fójak. Johann, kommen Sie her!„ Komorník, připomínající svými ježatými licousy Babinského, přitáhl objemný koš k posteli, zatímco společnice staré baronky, vysoká dáma s uplakanou tváří, sedla si na Švejkovu postel a urovnávala mu slaměný polštář pod záda, s fixní myšlenkou, že se to patří dělat nemocným hrdinům.
Babinský, Václavnn flag
*20.8.1792 Pokratice u Litoměřic - †1.8.1879 Řepy u Prahy
Wikipedia czde Google search Švejkův slovník

Babinský is mentioned because footman Johann, the servant of Baronesse von Botzenheim, looked like him.

Background

Babinský was a Czech criminal, sentenced for a series of murders and a number of other crimes. He is one of the best known Czech criminals ever and Egon Erwin Kisch devotes a whole chapter to him in his Die Abenteuer in Prag. A lot of space was devoted to him in the police museum.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Komorník, připomínající svými ježatými licousy Babinského, přitáhl objemný koš k posteli, zatímco společnice staré baronky, vysoká dáma s uplakanou tváří, sedla si na Švejkovu postel a urovnávala mu slaměný polštář pod záda, s fixní myšlenkou, že se to patří dělat nemocným hrdinům.

Literature

Kaiser Wilhelm II.nn flag
*27.1.1859 Berlin - †4.6.1941 Doorn
Wikipedia czdeennn Google search Švejkův slovník

Wilhelm II. is mentioned first time when Baronesse von Botzenheim visits Vojenská nemocnice Hradčany. She gave Švejk a bottle of Kriegslikör where the label depicted Kaiser Franz Joseph I. holding hands with Wilhelm. On the other side of the bottle was written Gott strafe England.

The second mention of the German emperor is equally fleeting. Švejk browses a newspaper and notes that the Sultan has decorated emperor Wilhelm with a war medal whereas he himself so far had not even been awarded a small silver medal.

Wilhelm is mentioned twice thereafter. He was reportedly called an "animal" by the drunk gendarme Wachtmeister Flanderka in Putin, and together with Kaiser Franz Joseph I. he appears on a picture that decorates the wall at k.u.k. Gottes Hauptquartier in Kadett Biegler's pungent dream on the way to Budapest.

Background

Wilhelm II. was emperor of Germany and king of Prussia from 1888 until 1918, member of the house Hohenzollern. Forced to abdicate in 1918 after the defeat in World War I, he lived the rest of his life in the Netherlands. Tsar Nicholas II and the king of England were both his cousins. He was also related to the royal houses of Spain, Norway, Romania and Greece.

Kriegslikör
likor.jpg

Bezirksbote, 23.5.1915.

It has not been possible to verify that bottles of Kriegslikör with labels where Kaiser Franz Joseph I. and Wilhelm hold hands existed, but in any case similar propaganda material abounded. A colour post-card with this theme was actually printed and had the title In Treue fest[1]. The postcard was in circulation in 1916 and perhaps already in 1914.

Gott strafe England was likewise a common slogan from the end of 1914 onwards, so even if the bottle that Švejk was given is not hundred per cent pinpointed, similar items that may have inspired the author were plentiful.

The war medal
imtiaz.png

Neue Freie Presse, 10.3.1915.

The context of this sequence of the novel strongly indicates that the decoration of Wilhelm that Švejk refers to took place in March 1915. Already on the ninth the official Turkish news agency Agence Milli reported that the Sultan had telegraphed emperor Wilhelm and congratulated him on the great victories in the east. In the same telegramme it is revealed that the emperor was offered the Imtiaz war medal as an expression of the sultan's admiration.

25 March 1915 Milli reported that Goltz Paşa had travelled to Berlin in order to personally decorate the emperor. The war medal was even specially made for Wilhelm.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Baronka zatím vytahovala dárky z koše. Tucet pečených kuřat, zabalených do růžového hedvábného papíru a ovázaných černožlutou hedvábnou stužkou, dvě láhve nějakého válečného likéru s etiketou „Gott strafe England!“ Na druhé straně byl na etiketě František Josef s Vilémem, jak se drží za ruce, jakoby si chtěli hrát hru „Králíček v své jamce seděl sám, ubožátko, co je ti, že nemůžeš skákati“.
[1.14.3] „Tak vida,“ řekl pro sebe Švejk, sleduje se zájmem přehled denních událostí, „sultán vyznamenal císaře Viléma válečnou medalií, a já nemám dosud ani malou stříbrnou.“
[2.2] ...že je císař pán nemocný dědek a že co nejdřív natáhne brka, že je císař Vilém zvíře, že mu budete do vězení posílat peníze na přilepšenou a ještě víc takových řečí...
[3.1] Uprostřed pokoje, ve kterém po stěnách visely podobizny Františka Josefa a Viléma, následníka trůnu Karla Františka Josefa, generála Viktora Dankla, arcivévody Bedřicha a šéfa generálního štábu Konráda z Hötzendorfu, stál pán bůh.

Also written:Vilém II. cz

Notes
1. "In True Fest" (firm in loyalty) was the motto of the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Literature

Prince Eugen von Savoyennn flag
*18.10.1663 Paris - †24.4.1736 Wien
Wikipedia czdeenfrno Google search Švejkův slovník

Eugen is mentioned by a young doctor who attempts a rousing speech to the malingerers and points to prince Eugen and Marschall Radetzky as glorious military role models.

Eugen also appears at the end of [2.2] in the song that Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek and Švejk sing in the cell at Mariánská kasárna (Prinz Eugen, der edle Ritter).

Moreover the song is partly quoted in [3.1] when soldiers from the march battalion of the Deutschmeister regiment sing it on their way through Győr. See Zemun.

Background

Eugen was an Austrian prince and field commander. He gets most of the credit for the successful military operations against the Ottomans from the siege of Vienna in 1683 to the peace treaty of Sremski Karlovci in 1699.

The song however refers to an event that took place much later: the siege of Belgrade in 1717. The full name of the French born prince was Eugène-François de Savoie.

Quote(s) from the novel
[1.8] Mluvil dlouho o tom, že každý z těch, kteří opouští nemocnici, aby odešli ke svým plukům do pole, musí být vítězem i rytířem. On že jest přesvědčen, že budou zruční ve zbrani, na bojišti i čestní ve všech záležitostech válečných i soukromých. Že budou nepřemožitelnými válečníky, pamětlivými na slávu Radeckého i prince Eugena Savojského.
[1.12] V zápalu a v řečnickém rozmachu vydával polní kurát i prince Evžena Savojského za světce, který je bude chránit, až budou dělat mosty přes řeky.
[2.2] Večer z arestu ozývalo se vždy „Zachovej nám, Hospodine“ a „Prinz Eugen, der edle Ritter“.

Sources: Jaroslav Šerák

Also written:Eugene of Savoy en Evžen Savojský cz Eugène de Savoie fr Eugene av Savoia no

Literature

Index Back Forward I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

8. Švejk as a malingerer


© 2009 - 2021 Jomar Hønsi Last updated: 27.11.2021