The Good Soldier Švejk

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Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie leave the Sarajevo Town Hall on 28 June 1914, five minutes before the assassination.

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 the narrative, Švejk's anecdotes, or indirectly through words and expressions.

This web page contains short write-ups on the people/animals that the novel refers to; from Napoléon in the introduction to Hauptmann Ságner in the last few lines of the unfinished Part Four. The list is sorted in 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.

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 as a fictional character who is directly involved in the plot.
  • Fähnrich Dauerling as a fictional character who is not part of the plot.
  • Heinrich Heine as a historical person.

Note that a number of seemingly fictional characters are inspired by living persons. Examples are Oberleutnant Lukáš, Major Wenzl and many others.

Military ranks and some other titles related to Austrian officialdom are given in German, and in line with the terms used at the time (explanations in English are given in tooltips). This means that Captain Ságner is still referred to as Hauptmann although the term is now obsolete, having been replaced by Kapitän.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 translated into English. This also goes for ranks in the nobility, at least where a direct translation exists.

People index of people, mythical figures, animals ... (587) Show all
I. In the rear
II. At the front
III. The famous thrashing
Index Back Forward II. At the front Hovudpersonen

3. Švejk's happenings in Királyhida

Negro Kristiannn flag
*Christiansted 2.10.1890 - †Praha 4.10.1924
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Večerní České slovo,8.10.1924




"Sylvestr pana Pažana", Jaroslav Hašek

Denní hlasatel,28.12.1915


Prager Tagblatt,27.3.1924

Kristian was the subject of one of Švejk's anecdotes when escorted from Mariánská kasárna to Budějovické nádraží when the regiment was transferred to Bruck an der Leitha - 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 poems for the Lada magazine and thus had given birth to Kristian.


Kristian (Kristian 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.

Egon Erwin Kisch wrote in Prager Tagblatt about a chance meeting with Kristian in a hotel in Trenčianske Teplice in 1921 where the latter worked as a waiter[a]. Eduard Bass, another acquaintance of Hašek, also wrote about Kristian who he knew from Prague and Brno. Bass even provided an obituary for Lidové noviny[b].

Augustin Knesl mentions Kristian in the series "Švejk a ti druzí" (Švejk and the others)[e] but somewhat naively concludes that Hašek's description of him was precise. Knesl had evidently not registered that Kristian was from the Caribbean and thus could not have been the son of an Abyssinian king.

Hašek had also mentioned Kristian many years before he wrote The Good Soldier Švejk. Exatly when the story Silvestr pana Pažana was first published is not known but it appeared in a Czech-Amerian paper in 1915[d] so it was probably written in 1914 or in early 1915.

Danish citizen

Ebenezer was born in the Danish colony St.Croix in the Carribean. His mother tongue was Danish but already as a teenager he spoke English fluently.

Kristian is actually the only Nordic citizen who is mentioned by name in The Good Soldier Švejk. It is possible that the mysterious psychologist Doctor Kallerson is a distortion of e.g. Karl Larsson.

To Prague

As a 14-year-old he arrived in Prague together with engineers from the Daňkovka factory. He was a waiter apprentice at the newly established Café Louvre where he worked for several years. He became a well-known character in Prague and learned Czech exceptionally quickly.

Already in 1905 he is mentioned in the newspapers and during the following year his name appeared several times. In 1916 he was to marry Božena Hanušová from Mladá Boleslav but the bride somehow disappeared, and the story ended in the newspapers. He even became an ardent Czech nationalist and caused distaste amongst Germans. Eduard Bass even called him a chauvinist[b]. Already in 1909 the socialdemocrat satirical magazine Kopřivy associated him with Klofáč and his Česká strana národně sociální. Here it is also revealed that he still worked at Louvre[c].

Poor health and early death

Throughout his life he was plagued by poor health. He had problems walking and also suffered from tuberculosis, a disease that in the end proved fatal. Shortly before he died he married the same woman who had vanished in 1916. His last address was Vinohrady, Puchmajerova 56. It is now known if he had any offspring and nor do we know if he did military service.

Egon Erwin Kisch (1921)

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.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.3] „Případ vašeho černocha Kristiána,“ řekl jednoroční dobrovolník, „třeba promyslit i ze stanoviska válečného. Dejme tomu, že toho černocha odvedli. Je Pražák, tak patří k 28. regimentu. Přece jste slyšel, že dvacátý osmý přešel k Rusům. Jak by se asi Rusové divili, kdyby zajali i černocha Kristiána. Ruské noviny by jistě psaly, že Rakousko žene do války svá koloniální vojska, kterých nemá, že Rakousko sáhlo už k černošským reservám.“

Sources: Egon Erwin Kisch, Hans-Peter Laqueur, Jaroslav Šerák, Augustin Knesl, Eduard Bass, Café Louvre

Also written:KristiánHašekChristianKisch

aBrief aus Trencsin‑TeplitzPrager Tagblatt25.6.1921
bČernoch Kristian zemřelLidové noviny6.10.1924
dSylvestr pana PažanaDenní hlasatelJaroslav Hašek28.12.1915
eŠvejk a ti druzí. 17.Večerní PrahaAugustin Knesl1983
Wrestler Zipps, Chambersnn flag
*18xx USA/Canada? - †19xx ?

Národní listy,28.4.1912


Zipps à l'entraînement.

La Vie au grand air,10.11.1906


Průvodčí cizinců a jiné satiry z cest i domova, Jaroslav Hašek,1913


Salt Lake Tribune,25.11.1906

Zipps is mentioned indirectly as "some negro" during Švejk's observations when escorted from Mariánská kasárna to Budějovické nádraží, during the regiment's transfer to Királyhida.

Discussing with Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek, Švejk imagines the eventuality that a man marries and the wife suddenly gives birth to a black child. Given that she nine months ago attended a wrestling match at Varieté where one of the competitors was black, her husband could start to imagine things.


There is no doubt that the black man who Švejk imagines was wrestling at Varieté refers to Chambers Zipps, a North-American wrestler who by all accounts spent periods of his life in Europe. In April 1912 he fought several matches at Varieté and even the adverts from the theatre itself refers to him as the "negro-wrestler Zipps"[a].

One could argue that other black wrestlers may have appeared at Varieté during Hašek's lifetime, but the author himself actually puts to rest any uncertainty regarding his source of inspiration. Only a few days after the wrestling tournament finished he published a story where Zipps was the main character. Here Jaroslav Hašek mentions the matches at Varieté and many other details[b]. During a visit at U Brejšky the narrator was unfortunate enough to step on giant negro's sore toe... The theme Zipps and Varieté also appears in another story that Hašek wrote at the time[f] but here he mentioned it only in passing.

Horses and wrestling

Zipps initially worked as a horse-keeper for the wealthy American racehorse owner/breeder/trainer Eugene Leigh (1860-1937) who in 1901 relocated to Europe (Wikipedia). In 1906 Zipps' name started to appear in French newspapers in connection with Greco-Roman wrestling. Already then one of the news items described him as "the famous negro Zipps"[c].

At the end of October 1906 he took part in the World Championship (there were two competing tournaments at the time) at Folies Bergère in Paris and this event was widely reported, also in the foreign press. Czech newspapers wrote that he had defeated the Czech Šmejkal and that Zipps himself weighed 110 kilos[d].

In his homeland his achievements were also noticed and it was added that he had been a successful amateur wrestler, and was so strong that he could carry a horse on his shoulders[e].

He continued to compete across Europe and during the years until 1915[g] he took part in tournaments in France, England, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Russia [1]. From the tournament in Moscow in 1912 there even exists a video clip[i]. In 1915 he toured Russia but thereafter he disappeared from the news for the rest of the war.

In 1919 a wrestler named John Zipps (also a black American) appeared in news reports but it is unclear if this is the same person. The latest recorded newspaper notice about any wrestler Zipps is from 1927[h].

Zipps was described in sympathetic terms in both the Czech and Austro-German press. He was reportedly a joker and often entertained the public when he was performing. We know nothing about when and where he was born/died and the only point of reference is information in the French sports press that he was young when he arrived in France. It is therefore tempting to suggest that he was born between 1880 and 1890.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] Ale najednou v nějakém kolenu že se vobjeví černoch. Představte si ten malér. Vy se voženíte s nějakou slečnou. Potvora je úplně bílá, a najednou vám porodí černocha. A jestli před devíti měsíci se šla podívat bez vás do Varieté na atletické zápasy, kde vystupoval nějakej černoch, tu myslím, že by vám to přeci jen trochu vrtalo hlavou.“

Sources: John Hubert Williams

1. List of countries according to state borders in 1914. Defined by current borders he also performed in Poland, Ukraine, Czechia, and Romania.
aThéâtre VariétéPrager Tagblatt18.4.1912
bJak jsem přemohl černošského obra Zippse ze Severní AmerikyDobrá kopaJaroslav Hašek3.5.1912
cL'engagement du fameux nègre ZippsLe Journal16.10.1906
eShoulders the horsesSalt Lake Tribune25.11.1906
fPrůvodčí cizinců a jiné satiry z cest i domovaJaroslav Hašek1913
gTURNIER-DATENBANK / TOURNAMENT DATABASE: 1910-1919Pro-Wrestling Title Histories27.4.2022
hČesko římské zápasyVečerní České slovo16.4.1927
iБорется Иван Поддубный, 1912 годАндрей Кочуров19.8.2014
Feldoberkurat Lacinann flag
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Stráž na Bečvě, 20.7.1928

Lacina is mentioned 10 times in The Good Soldier Švejk.

Lacina was a fat and gluttonous military cleric from k.u.k. Kavallerietruppendivision Nr. 7 who also enjoyed a tipple or two. He arrived in Budějovice the day before Ersatzbataillon IR. 91 left for Bruck and travelled with Švejk and Einjährigfreiwilliger 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 The Good Soldier Švejk, Josef Lada, envisaged him.


The senior field chaplain was no doubt inspired by 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 had been "identified" as a model for the literary field chaplain already before his death[a].

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.3] „A to taky pojedu,“ prohlásil páter Lacina, a otáčeje se po eskortě, dodal: „Kdo říká, že nemůžu ject? Vorwärts! Marsch!„

Když se vrchní polní kurát ocitl v arestantském vagoně, položil se na lavici a dobrosrdečný Švejk svlékl si plášť a položil ho páterovi Lacinovi pod hlavu, k čemuž k uděšenému desátníkovi poznamenal tiše jednoroční dobrovolník: „Obrfeldkuráty ošetřovati.“

Páter Lacina, pohodlně natažen na lavici, počal vykládat: „Ragout s hříbkami, pánové, je tím lepší, čím je víc hříbků, ale hříbky se musí napřed smažit na cibulce a pak teprve se přidá bobkový list a cibule...“

„Cibuli už jste ráčil dát předem,“ ozval se jednoroční dobrovolník, provázen zoufalým pohledem desátníka, který viděl v páterovi Lacinovi opilého sice, ale přece jen svého představeného.

Situace desátníka byla opravdu zoufalá.

„Ano,“ podotkl Švejk, „pan obrfeldkurát má ouplnou pravdu. Čím víc cibule, tím lepší. V Pakoměřicích bejval sládek a ten dával i do piva cibuli, poněvadž prej cibule táhne žízeň. Cibule je vůbec náramně prospěšná věc. Pečená cibule se dává i na nežidy...“

Páter Lacina zatím na lavici mluvil polohlasně, jako ve snění: „Všechno záleží na koření, jaké koření se do toho dá a v jakém množství. Nic se nesmí přepepřit, přepaprikovat...“
[II.3] Švejk přistoupil k páteru Lacinovi, obrátil ho ke stěně a znalecky řekl: "Ten bude chrnět až do Brucku," a vrátil se na své místo, provázen zoufalým pohledem nešťastného desátníka, který poznamenal: "Abych to šel snad oznámit".
[II.3] A vy,“ obrátil se na Švejka, „vy půjdete do kuchyně naší mináže, vezmete příbor a přinesete mně oběd. Řekněte, že to je pro pana obrfeldkuráta Lacinu. Hleďte, abyste dostal dvojnásobnou porci. Jestli budou knedlíky, tak neberte od špičky, na tom se jenom prodělá. Potom přinesete mně z kuchyně láhev vína a vezmete s sebou esšálek, aby vám do něho nalili rumu.“

Páter Lacina hrabal se v kapsách.
aHaškův polní kurát Lacina zemřelStráž na Bečvě20.7.1928
Přednosta stanice v Budějovicíchnn flag

Chytilův úplný adresář Království Českého1915

Přednosta stanice v Budějovicích (the stationmaster in Budějovice) is mentioned in connectio with Feldoberkurat Lacina when the regimenet was departing from Budějovice to Királyhida. The officers from the regiment hid in the station master's office when they got a whiff of the drunk field chaplain.


Accoring to the address book from 1915 the two station masters at Budějovické nádraží in 1915 were Johann Hellmich and Josef Schwarz. Head of the railway authorities in the city was Karl von Fodermayer[a].

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] Ráno dostal nápad, že musí dělat pořádek při odjezdu prvních ešalonů regimentu, a proto se potloukal po celé délce špalíru, účinkoval na nádraží tak, že důstojníci řídící dopravu pluku uzavřeli se před ním v kanceláři přednosty stanice.
aChytilův úplný adresář Království ČeskéhoAlois Chytil1915
Muḥammadnn flag
*572 Mekka - †8.6.632 Medina
Wikipedia czdeennnno Search

Muhammad went to the montain and meet the angel Gabriel.

Muḥammad is pulled into the plot when Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek ridicules the escorting corporal on the train to Bruck. 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 that Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek quotes refers to Jabal an-Nûr an-Nûr by Mekka, where in the cave Hira Muḥammad met the angel Gabriel (according to legend).

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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:MahomedHašekMohamedczMohammedde

Hájek, Ladislavnn flag
*9.3.1884 Domažlice - †26.3.1943 Praha
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Žofie Hájková, Ladislav Hájek, Jaroslav Hašek.

Lázně Poděbrady,21.5.1913


Lázně Poděbrady,8.5.1913


Lidové noviny, 28.3.1943

Hájek enters the plot when Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek relates his experiences from his time as editor of Svět zvířat. He was Marek's predecessor in the job.

Hájek is mentioned again in by Švejk in [III.3], now with his full name and even his add-on "Domažlický" (from Domažlice) was included. Here the theme is Hájek's time 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[b].

As this partly autobiographical part of The Good Soldier Švejk reveals, Hájek was Hašek's predecessor as editor of Svět zvířat (and also his successor). On 5 October 1912 Hájek married Žofie Fuchsová, the daughter of the late Fuchs, the magazines former owner and publisher (again a parellel to Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek's story on the train). After marrying the couple moved to Ferdinandova třída no. 339[c]. Here Hašek celebrated Christmas 1922 together with them.

In 1913 Hájek owned and published the supplement to Nezávislost, Lázně Poděbrady. Jaroslav Hašek contributed a couple of stories to this magazine. In may that year it also printed a well known picture from Poděbrady, featuring Hašek and Hájek together with a group of friends (top right)[e]. That same year Hájek published the magazine Svět in addition to the well known Svět zvířat.

Little is known about Hájek's personal life apart from the fact that he was married twice. According to Břetislav Hůla his first wife committed suicice, and Hájek then married Milena, a lady who was still alive in 1948[a]. The research of Jaroslav Šerák reveals that his first wife killed herself in 1919 and that Hájek worked in Olomouc until 1923. He then returned to Prague where he lived for the rest of his life.

Quote(s) 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.
[II.3] Majitel listu, když jsem mu byl představen svým kamarádem Hájkem, přijal mne velice vlídně a otázal se mne, zdali mám vůbec nějaké ponětí o zvířatech, a byl velice spokojen mou odpovědí, že jsem si vždy velice zvířat vážil a viděl v nich přechod ke člověku a že zejména se stanoviska ochrany zvířat respektoval jsem vždy jejich tužby a přání. Každé zvíře si nic jiného nepřeje, než aby bylo před tím, než je sněděno, usmrceno pokud možno bezbolestně.
[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.

Sources: Jaroslav Šerák, Břetislav Hůla

aI. Připojuji...Břetislav Hůla - LA-PNP14.12.1948
bZ mých vzpomínek na Jaroslava HaškaLadislav Hájek1925
cPobytové přihlášky pražského policejního ředitelstvíNAČR1851 - 1914
eLázně PoděbradyLadislav Hájek21.5.1913
Fuchs, Václavnn flag
*14.3.1857 Hořice - †27.9.1911 Smíchov
Wikipedia cz Search Švejkův slovník

Svět zvířat,1.10.1911


Das interessante Blatt,5.11.1896


Židovské matriky,1857

Fuchs is mentioned by Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek when he on the train from Budějovice to Királyhida relates his experiences as editor of the magazine Svět zvířat. Fuchs was the owner of the magazine and the former editor Hájek fell in love with his daughter. The father didn't approve and employed Marek as editor when he in a convincing manner presented his plans for the magazine. In due course the new-baked editor let his imagination get the upper hand and he invents new animals and other curiosities from nature. Eventually, this raised the attention of the readers and culminated when Jos. M. Kadlčák, the editor of Selský obzor, used an editorial to put Marek in his place because he took the liberty to rename the jay to "walnutter". This was the final straw and Fuchs was so agitated that he crept under a pool table and three days later he died from meningitis.


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

Renowned expert

His name appears in national newspapers from 1894 onwards. In the beginning, he was often mentioned in connection with rabbit-breeding and he was at the time based in 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 award 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 antisemitic 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 was launched in Jičín. At the beginning Fuchs was not alone in running the magazine but the next year he bought a large villa above the Klamovka park and moved there together with his family. Here he also relocated the editorial offices and the magazine now became a bi-weekly.

From now on he was sole proprietor and the villa also housed his dog breeding and trading enterprise. Fuchs 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 Ladislav 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 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 Nezávislost was announced by himself 12 November.

Shit packet post mortem

From Strana mírného pokroku


Hašek did through his alter ego Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek a lot to make Fuchs and Svět zvířat known to future generations. Not only does he mention the magazine and its owner in The Good Soldier Švejk, Fuchs is also mentioned in 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 deceased 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 Ladislav 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 too eager to entangle 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 fall-out 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 became exasperated by Hašek's whims, and travelled to Poděbrady to beg 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 non-religious 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).



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 now 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 passed awaz). 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 a lawyer. The daughter Žofie married Hájek on 5 October 1912. He was at the time editor of 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 (at the time Austria did now permit cremation). Editor Ladislav Hájek wrote the obituary in Svět zvířat[a].

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.

Quote(s) 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.
[II.3] ,Kvíčale se má říkat jalovečník nebo jalovice, pane šéf,` podotkl jsem, ,poněvadž se živí jalovcem.` Pan Fuchs uhodil novinami o stůl a vlezl pod kulečník, chroptě ze sebe poslední slova, která přečetl: ,Turdus, kolohříbek. - Žádná sojka,` řval pod kulečníkem, ,ořešník, koušu, pánové!` Byl konečně vytažen a na třetí den skonal v rodinném kruhu na mozkovou chřipku.

Sources: Jaroslav Šerák, Ladislav Hájek

aVáclav Fuchs, zakladatel našeho listu, již nežijeSvět zvířatLadislav Hájek1.10.1911
Fuchsová, Žofienn flag
*26.8.1894 Jičín - †4.10.1919 Praha
Search Švejkův slovník

Žofie Hájková, Ladislav Hájek, Jaroslav Hašek.

Lázně Poděbrady,21.5.1913


Wedding announcement

Národní listy,25.9.1912

Žofie Fuchsová is mentioned indirectly by Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek when he on the train from Budějovice to Királyhida relates his experiences as editor of the magazine Svět zvířat. She is referred to as the daughter of the magazine's owner, Mr. Fuchs.


Žofie Fuchsová was the daughter of Václav Fuchs, the owner of Svět zvířat. In 1912 she married Ladislav Hájek, then editor of the magazine. These circumstances confirm beyond doubt that it is her that Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek refers to in The Good Soldier Švejk.

She was born in 1894[a], presumably in Jičín, and was only 4 when the family moved to Klamovka from where her father managed Svět zvířat and the associated kennel. In 1908 she got aquainted with Hájek, then editor of the magazine, and on 5 October 1912 the two married in the church Svatý Václav in Smíchov[c].

Soon after the wedding the young couple moved to Ferdinandova třída (now Národní) from where her husband published the magazine. For a period Hašek also stayed with them and according to Hájek she was fond of the future author of The Good Soldier Švejk [b]. Little is known about her life thereafter but according to Břetislav Hůla she committed suicide "years ago"[d].

Research by Jaroslav Šerák confirms that he she shot herself in the head on 4 October 1919. She was only 25 years old when she died. We don't know if the couple had any children.

Quote(s) 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.

Sources: Jaroslav Šerák, Ladislav Hájek, Břetislav Hůla

aPobytové přihlášky pražského policejního ředitelstvíNAČR1851 - 1914
bZ mých vzpomínek na Jaroslava HaškaLadislav Hájek1925
cSňatekNárodní listy25.9.1912
dSňatekBřetislav Hůla - LA-PNP14.12.1948
Brehm, Alfred Edmundnn flag
*2.2.1829 Unterrenthendorf - †11.11.1884 Renthendorf
Wikipedia czdeenno Search



Brehms Thierleben, A.E. Brehm, 1876


Jay (garrulus glandarius)

Brehms Tierleben, 4. Band, 1891

Brehm is mentioned 8 times in The Good Soldier Švejk.

Brehm enters the plot when Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek relates his experiences from his time as editor of Svět zvířat. All the references to Brehm in The Good Soldier Švejk pertain to his magnum opus Brehm's Life of Animals rather than his person.

Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek used invented quotes from Brehm in his zoological polemic with Jos. M. Kadlčák, the editor of Selský obzor.


Brehm was a prominent German zoologist, explorer and writer. Through the multi-volume reference work Brehms Tierleben (Brehm's Life of Animals), his name became a synonym for popular zoological literature. Brehm was a son of a distinguished ornithologist and already as an 18 year old he took part in an expedition to Egypt and the upper Nile (1847-1852), and later he undertook expeditions to Spain, Norway and Siberia. He published books about his expeditions and also went on tours where he lectured about his travels and discoveries. From 1862 to 1867 he was director of the zoo in Hamburg and later he founded the well-known aquarium in Berlin where he remained until 1874. Brehm was married and the father of five children.

Brehms Tierleben

It was however his publishing of the zoological reference work that would make him famous. The first edition, containing six volumes, was published from 1864 to 1869 with the title Illustrirtes Tierleben. From 1876 to 1879 the second edition followed, expanded to 10 volumes, with new illustrations and now titled Brehms Thierleben[1]. Mammals and birds were described in three volumes each, and fish, insects, reptiles and invertebrate in one volume each. The volumes contained 1945 illustrations[a].

The 2nd edition was translated into many languages. The first translation into Czech was published from 1882 to 1990 by publisher Otto. Various translators were involved and one of them was Doctor Bayer who translated the volume on fish and other maritime animals. The third edition was printed from 1890 to 1893 and was the first that appeared after Brehm's death. The differences from the 2nd edition were relatively few. This edition was also translated into Czech and still published by Otto.

Garrulus glandarius

A central part of Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek's polemics with Jos. M. Kadlčák is the jay (garrulus glandarius), a bird in the raven family that lives on the Eurasian continent. Marek is remarkably precise when he refers to page 452, because in Brehms Tierleben, volume 4, this is indeed the page where the description of jays starts (3rd edition German version). This strongly indicates that Hašek based the details in The Good Soldier Švejk on the German original and not a Czech translation where it is unlikely that the description is on that very page. The bird itself is pictured on page 454. Whether Hašek had "Brehm" available when he wrote this passage at Lipnice or simply remembered such details is open to speculation but given his unusually good memory even the latter would be no surprise...

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.3] Přibývala mně nová zvířata každým dnem. Sám byl jsem velice překvapen mými úspěchy v těchto oborech. Nikdy jsem si nepomyslil, že je třeba zvířenu tak silně doplnit a že Brehm tolik zvířat mohl vynechat ve svém spise ,Život zvířat’. Věděl Brehm a všichni ti, kteří šli po něm, o mém netopýrovi z ostrova Islandu, ,netopýru vzdáleném’, o mé kočce domácí z vrcholku hory Kilimandžaro pod názvem ,pačucha jelení dráždivá’?
[II.3] Poslal jsem dopis, ve kterém jsem celou svou theorii vyložil o ořešníku, propletaje dopis četnými nadávkami a vymyšlenými citáty z Brehma.
[II.3] Sojka zůstane sojkou, i kdyby se redaktor ,Světa zvířa’ z toho podě..l, a zůstane to jen dokladem, jak lehkomyslně a nevěcně se leckdys píše, byť by se i on dovolával Brehma nápadně neurvale. Ten sprosťák píše, že sojka patří podle Brehma do čeledi krokodýlovitých, str. 452, kde se mluví o ťuhýku čili strakoši obecném (Lanius minor L.). Pak se tento ignorant, smím-li to jeho jméno zdrobnit, dovolává opět Brehma, že sojka patří do čeledi patnácté, a Brehm havranovité počítá do čeledi sedmnácté, k nimž druží se havrani, rod kavek, a jest tak sprostý, že i mne nazval kavkou (Colaeus) s rodem strak, vran modrých, podčeledí blbounů nejapných, ačkoliv na téže stránce jedná se o sojkách hájních a strakách pestrých...’
1. Note the change in German ortography, probably introduced at the end of the 19th century: Thierleben -> Tierleben.
aBrehms ThierlebenNeue Freie Presse14.12.1879
Engineer Kún, Vilémnn flag
*1877 Nosislav - †1934
Search Švejkův slovník

Pestrý týden,17.11.1928




Adresář hlavního města Prahy,1910

Kún is mentioned through "engineer Khúns flea", one of Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek's many zoological inventions during his time as editor of Svět zvířat. The discovery was reported in good faith by Čech but ridiculed by Čas (the Realist Party mouthpiece) and it led to a heated debate.


Kún was a long-time friend of Jaroslav Hašek. As Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek states he was an engineer but far better known as an editor and translator. The two had met through Hašek's acquaintance with students from the technical high school at Karlovo náměstí.

Kún was also member of Strana mírného pokroku v mezích zákona. A curiosity is that his home address in 1910 was in the same building as Bendlovka.

Palaeopsylla Kuniana

It was in August 1913 that the Catholic daily Čech printed a short note about "the geologist engineer Kun who not long ago discovered a flea from ancient times in a piece of amber". The discovery happened by Královec[1], the flea was blind and was named Palaeopsylla Kuniana after the man who discovered it[c].

The first publication to unravel the story of Kun's flea was the Social-Democratic mouthpiece Právo lidu who revealed that the "news" was printed in Svět zvířat (The Animal World) during fasting time four years ago and that the "inventor" of the flea was the humorist Jaroslav Hašek. Právo lidu drily observed a new development in Catholic science, that Čech who previously drew wisdom from the Holy Scriptures now turned to The Animal World. The article in Právo lidu was reproduced in several newspapers and one of them was the Realist Party paper Čas[c]. This seems to have alerted Čech as they provided an irate response[e]. The similarities to Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek's story in The Good Soldier Švejk are thus obvious. The flea-story was even printed in USA where it appeared in several Czech-language newspapers, among them Minnesotské noviny on 11 September 1913.


Even though Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek's story no doubt is inspired by Hašek's experiences as editor of Svět zvířat there are also some differences. The debate between Čech and Čas took place three years after Hašek's dismissal as editor and can as such not have contributed to him losing the job. Nor is it true that Čech wrote that "what God does he does well". The original article in Svět zvířat has to our knowledge never been identified but to judge by the information from Právo lidu it appeared "at masopust (Lenten period) four years ago"[d]. If this is true it would have been published in February 1909 but there is no trace of such an article in the issues of Svět zvířat from February and March 1909 or even 1910.

Lidové noviny tripped up first

Neues Wiener Journal,6.1.1911

Recently (2023) it was pointed out by Alena Kráčmarová that Lidové noviny already five days before Čech's mishap had printed the "revelation"[b]. Thus it was not only the clerical mouthpiece that fell into the trap! The two newspapers used the same headline and the wording corresponded to the letter. The article may have been published by other news outlets as well but that's a subject for further investigations.

Palaeopsylla Klebsiana

Still, this is not the entire story. Already in January 1911 there appeared an article in Westfälisches Tageblatt, Neues Wiener Journal a.o. that largely aligned with the notice that was printed by Lidové noviny and Čech in August 1913. In August 1911 a similar item appeared and here the wording was very close to the later Czech language version[f].

There is however one glaring difference: the man who discovered the ancient flea was the known geologist Dr. Klebs and not the geologist Kún! The flea was officially named Palaeopsylla Klebsiana[a] and is scientifically recognised. It is exposed in a museum in Göttingen[g].

From Klebs to Kún

Palaeopsylla klebsiana

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen,2012

How the slightly twisted story found its way to the columns of Czech newspapers more than two years later is a mystery but one must assume that a certain prankster from Prague played a part! However, it is impossible that the news could have appeared in Svět zvířat in February 1909 or 1910 because the first description of the discovery was printed in December 1910[h]. Nor has it been possible to identify any mention of such a flea in The Animal World during the time that Jaroslav Hašek edited the periodical (February 1909 - October 1910), and not even in 1912 and 1913 when he also contributed to the journal. So when and how the flea metamorphosed from Klebs to Kún remains an enigma. Perhaps Hašek planted his renamed prehistoric flea in some publication (but not in Svět zvířat) in the weeks leading up to mid August 1913?

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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?

Sources: Radko Pytlík, Jaroslav Šerák, Václav Menger, Alena Kráčmarová

Also written:KhúnHašek

1. Královec is the Czech name of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), a city by the Baltic Sea.
2. Richard Klebs (1850-1961) was a well known German geologist and an expert on amber.
aEin vorweltlicher BernsteinflohNeues Wiener Journal6.1.1911
bBlecha z dávnověkuLidové noviny12.8.1913
cBlecha z dávnověkuČech17.8.1913
dHaškova blecha a katolická vědaČas21.8.1913
eNovověká kukačka lapajicá pravěké blechyČech22.8.1913
fEin Floh der VorweltNeues Wiener Journal19.8.1911
gFossiler FlohGeorg-August-Universität Göttingen2012
hPalaeopsylla klebsianaSchriften der Physikalisch-Ökonomischen Gesellschaft zu KönigsbergDr. Alfons Dampf1910
Beekeeper Pazourek, Karelnn flag
*1858/1859 - †27.5.1913 Čestice

Svět zvířat,15.12.1909

Photo: Martin Dvořák


Svět zvířat,1.1.1910


Český včelař,15.6.1913

Pazourek was a well know bee-keeper who was hit by a stroke when he read Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek's advice on bee-keeping in Svět zvířat.


Pazourek no doubt refers to Karel Pazourek, an expert beekeeper and head teacher from Čestice in hejtmanství Hradec Králové . Various newspaper clips and adverts reveal that he was active in beekeeping associations and often travelled around to give lectures and hold courses on the subject.

A well-known beekeeper

Little is known about the life of Pazourek but his name appeared in connection with beekeeping already in 1897[a]. Otherwise, we know that he died in May 1913 at the age of 54, was a family father and was well known amongst bee-keepers[b].

Apart from giving lectures and courses he also wrote for specialised magazines like Český včelař (The Czech Beekeeper) and significantly Svět zvířat. During Hašek's time as editor of the magazine (February 1909 - Oktober 1910) Pazourek contributed to almost every issue and it must be assumed that the two met.

He continued his contributions until a few weeks before his death and the magazine honoured him with an obituary.


The claim by Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek that Pazourek was hit by a stroke seems improbable because Pazourek was seriously ill in March 1913 but still contributed to the magazine until died in May[b]. In his obituary in Svět zvířat it is revealed that he died after protracted suffering, not a typical for a stroke victim. Moreover, Pazourek died two and a half year after Hašek was sacked as editor of Svět zvířat.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
aXIV. sjezd včelařů Česko-slov. v České SkaliciČeský včelař15.10.1897
bÚmrtíČeský včelař15.6.1913
Editor Kadlčák, Josef M.nn flag
*15.11.1856 Březnice - †27.4.1924 Praha
Wikipedia cz Search Švejkův slovník

Politický kalendář občanský a adresář zemí koruny České, 1911


Čech, 28.4.1924

Jos. M. Kadlčák is mentioned by Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek when he relates his experiences as editor of Svět zvířat.


Jos. M. Kadlčák was a teacher, editor and conservative politician from Moravia who from 1907 served as Reichsrat deputy for the Catholic National Party. From 1907 (or earlier) until 1911 he was editor of the monthly Selský obzor (Farming Horizon), an activity he undertook from Frýdlant nad Ostravicí where he lived from 1886 to 1919[a]. In Czechoslovakia he continued his political career and at the time of his death in 1924 he was deputy chairman of the Czechoslovak Senate.

Dispute with Hašek

Due to the many similarities between Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek from The Good Soldier Švejk and Jaroslav Hašek regarding their respective careers as editors of Svět zvířat, we must assume that the dispute between Marek and Jos. M. Kadlčák to a degree is inspired by Hašek's own experiences at the magazine.

It is an indisputable fact that Jos. M. Kadlčák edited Selský obzor at the time when Hašek edited Svět zvířat (1909 and 1910) and that he indeed was a clerical parliamentary deputy as Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek says. That Country Life at the time printed pictures of jays is also a foregone conclusion and it is very likely that Svět zvířat did so as well.

On the other hand we can rule out that Selský obzor printed any editorial or other articles that took issue with Hašek and his renaming of the jay to "walnutter". So when Hašek wrote The Good Soldier Švejk he probably "mystified his own mystification" to some degree. Thus it would be careless to assume that Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek's experiences fully reflected those of Hašek. That said there is definitely a core of truth in the story, but it would require a systematic investigation of both Country Life and Svět zvířat to shed more light on this question.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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! Vystřihl jsem z anglického časopisu ,Country Life’ obrázek nějakého ptáčka, který seděl na ořechu. Dal jsem mu název ořešník, stejně jako bych se nijak logicky nerozpakoval napsat, že pták sedící na jalovci je jalovník, případně jalovice. I co se nestalo. Na obyčejném korespondenčním lístku napadl mne pan Kadlčák, že prý je to sojka a žádný ořešník, a že prý je to překlad Eichelhäher. Poslal jsem dopis, ve kterém jsem celou svou theorii vyložil o ořešníku, propletaje dopis četnými nadávkami a vymyšlenými citáty z Brehma. Poslanec Kadlčák odpověděl v ,Selském obzoru’ úvodním článkem.
aWer ist wer: Kadlčák, JosefRepublik Österreich - Parlament
Doctor Bayer, Františeknn flag
*15.5.1854 Mšené - †5.4.1936 Praha
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Zlatá Praha, 15.5.1914


"Naši ptáci", Fr. Bayer, 1888


"Naši ptáci", Fr. Bayer, 1888

Bayer is mentioned by Jos. M. Kadlčák in his dispute with Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek about jays (Ganulus glandarius B) and nutcrackers (Mucifraga carycatectes 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), published in 1886 and 1888[a]. He also translated Brehm's "Tierleben" (Animal Life) (3rd volume)[c] and wrote a number of entries for Ottův slovník naučný. Bayer was a highly respected scientist and by 1914 held the formal title as government advisor.

Naši ptáci

As mentioned the book "Our birds" was published in 1886 and 1888 and was a leading reference work in ornithology. It is this book that Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek refers to when he quotes Jos. M. Kadlčák about the jay (sojka), a bird that was described on page 148. Indeed the jay is mentioned on this page! Then on page 150 the nutcracker (ořešník) follows. Bayer used the latin terms corvus glandarius, L. and corvus caryocatactes, L. On the other hand the Latin terms that Marek used seem to be twisted variations of those used by Brehm and are universally recognised: Garrulus ganulus and Nucifraga caryocatactes.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
aKnihy redakci Lumíra zaslanéLumír20.9.1886
bNaši ptáciDr. František Bayer1888
cŽivot zvířatNárodní listy8.11.1889
Mestek, Ferdinandnn flag
*17.3.1858 Praha - †16.6.1916 Praha
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Noční Prahou, K.L. Kukla, 1927


Prager Tagblatt,15.12.1907


Národní politika, 17.1.1914




Lidové noviny, 18.6.1916


Letem světem, 30.4.1935

Mestek is mentioned when Švejk's provides a counterpoint to Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek's tale about his experiences as editor of Svět zvířat, where the theme is that anyone can make mistakes. In this case Mestek was the one who made the mistake. He claimed to have discovered a mermaid who he subsequently exhibited in a window in Havlíčkova třída in Vinohrady. The "mermaid" was a woman frå Žižkov who after finishing her daily performance as mermaid was seen soliciting in Táborská ulice. The lady didn't have a police book and when Polizeikommissar Drašner discovered this she was locked up and Mestek's mermaid business came to an end.


Mestek was a city character and household name in Prague, a man with an extremely diverse career and who even caught the attention of some prominent writers. Amongst these were Jaroslav Hašek and Egon Erwin Kisch.

City character

Ferdinand Mestek was born in 1858 in a house opposite Emauzský klášter, son of a tailor from Mníšek[a] and one of four siblings. From 1888 he is listed in the police records, as for instance "gold worker" and "pub landlord", descriptions that don't cover his extremely varied activities. He had a number of professions (impresario, circus director, flea circus owner, pub landlord) but they were rarely executed with success.

One example is a short appointment at the workshop of the firm Eduard Lokesch & Son (see Artur Lokesch), where we has employed after claiming knowledge of gold. The hollowness of the claim was quickly exposed and the working relation was terminated (Egon Erwin Kisch).

In 1907 he was on a long tour that included Maribor, Vienna, Brno, Olomouc and Innsbruck. One of the attractions was the lady Lona who was exhibited suspended in the air. Mestek was married to Anna, but his wife died in 1909 at an age of 44.

In literature

His major claim to fame is his part in the mildly ironic story Dramaturgie des Flohtheaters by Egon Erwin Kisch. It was printed in Kisch's book Die Abenteuer in Prag[g] from 1920[g]. It is largely a largely a reprint of three stories about Mestek that Kisch published in Bohemia in the summer of 1914[h][i][j]. Kisch also wrote a play about Mestek in 1925 and staged it at the Rokoko Theatre at Václavské náměstí. The main character was played by Vlasta Burian (1891-1962)[d], a comedian and actor who also have played Švejk.

Hašek also knew Mestek in person and his name appears in a couple of short stories printed in Tribuna during the spring of 1921. These were Tři muži se žralokem[b] and Reelní podnik[c], both written a few months before Mestek was introduced to the readers of The Good Soldier Švejk. The latter was in 1975 filmed with Miloš Kopecký playing Mestek.

Jaroslav Hašek and Egon Erwin Kisch were not the only ones who wrote about Mestek. Both Jan Neruda and Jakub Arbes had already "discovered" him and thus added him to the Czech literary heritage. Karel Ladislav Kukla also wrote about him and revealed that Mestek actually exhibited mermaids, albeit stuffed[e]. Whether or not this happened in Havlíčkova třída like Švejk claims has not been verified.


Mestek was a well known character in Prague, even to the extent that most major newspapers printed sympathetic obituaries when he died form tuberculosis in 1916. Amongst them were Bohemia, Národní politika, Prager Tagblatt, and Lidové noviny. In the latter Eduard Bass even wrote a longer tribute to him[f].

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.3] V sedumhodin večer pak Mestek zavřel panorámu a řek: ,Mořská panno, můžete jít domů,` vona se převlíkla a v deset večer už ji bylo vidět chodit po Táborskej ulici a zcela nenápadně každýmu pánovi, kterýho potkala, říkat: ,Hezoune, šel si to zafilipínkovat.` Poněvadž neměla knížku, tak ji při šťáře s druhejma podobnejma myšema pan Drašner zavřel, a Mestek měl po kšeftě."

Sources: Jaroslav Šerák, Egon Erwin Kisch, Jaroslav Hašek

aFerda Mestek de PodskalJaroslav Šerák
bTři muži se žralokemTribunaJaroslav Hašek3.4.1921
cReelní podnikTribunaJaroslav Hašek8.5.1921
dJak si Ferda Mestek de Podskal obšlápnul koncesi na bleši divadloTribuna7.5.1925
eNoční PrahouK. L. Kukla1927
fFerda Mestek de PodskalLidové novinyEduard Bass28.6.1916
gDramaturgie des FlohtheatersEgon Erwin Kisch1920
hFerda Mestek de PodskalBohemiaEgon Erwin Kisch21.6.1914
iMestek sucht personalBohemiaEgon Erwin Kisch5.7.1914
jAus den Geheimnissen eines FlohtheatersBohemiaEgon Erwin Kisch19.7.1914
Dantenn flag
*1265 Firenze - †14.9.1321 Ravenna
Wikipedia czdeenitno Search

Dante is mentioned by Einjährigfreiwilliger Marek on the train to Bruck. 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(s) from the novel
[II.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.
Sculptor Štursa, Jannn flag
*15.5.1880 Nové Město na Moravě - †2.5.1925 Praha
Wikipedia czdeen Search Švejkův slovník

Štursa as soldier in IR. 81

Světozor, 13.11.1914


Pilsner Tagblatt, 31.12.1916


Kuděj meeting Hašek - Štursa was present


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


Štursa is regarded as one of the founders of modern Czech sculpture. He studied at k.k. Kunstakademie (Academy of Art) in Prague from 1899 to 1904 and was employed there from 1908[b]. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was called up and sent to the front with Infanterieregiment Nr. 81 (Jihlava). Due to a damaged hand he was deemed unfit for carrying arms, and served as an officer's servant and other auxiliary duties, amongst them assisting at funerals. The latter activity was later reflected in his art. In 1916 he was released from service and could resume his career, now as a professor at the art academy[b]. sculptor Štursa committed suicide in 1925, allegedly due to depression related to syphilis.

Acquaintance of Hašek

Jaroslav Hašek knew sculptor Štursa in person as he frequented the same circles as the author of The Good Soldier Švejk. Zdeněk Matěj Kuděj recalled that the sculptor was present at Montmartre on the day that Hašek and Kuděj met for the first time (in 1909 at the earliest)[a]. Hájek also wrote about them enjoying common company, this time at U Brejšky[c].

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] „Dovolte, pane desátníku, nestál jste snad modelem sochaři Štursovi?“ Desátník podíval se na jednoročního dobrovolníka a řekl smutně: „Nestál.“
aJaroslav Hašek spisovatel a člověkZdeněk M. Kuděj
bK.k. KunstakademiePrager Abendblatt5.6.1908
Doctor Mráznn flag
Search Švejkův slovník

Prager Tagblatt,11.7.1911

Mráz was a reserve officer, in civilian life a teacher of maths at a realgymnasium. He was commander of the troop transport train between Budějovice and Bruck and led the inspection patrol who in the arrestee car encountered an unexpected passenger, the snoring Feldoberkurat Lacina.


The list of officers from Infanterieregiment Nr. 91 does not contain any Mráz but it should be noted that the surname (it means "frost") is widespread in southern Bohemia where this regiment was recruited from[c]. Elsewhere in Bohemia the name is less common and in the address book for Prague for 1910 only two are listed. One of them actually had a doctor title but was however in the subject of law, not in mathematics.

Interesting is a note by Bohumil Milčan about an episode that took place in a hotel Budějovice in 1915. Hašek was offered to stay in the flat of some H. Mráz who was about to serve two weeks in the arrest[b]. On a further military note, Mráz is a frequent name in the Verlustliste of Infanterieregiment Nr. 91. During the battle of Chorupan no less than five of them were reported missing or injured[a].

Newspapers reveals the existence of dr. Antonín Mráz (1870-1935), a doctor of theology. He held a prominent position in the Catholic Church in Budějovice [d]. Significantly he was also a lecturer at a middle school (reálka) in Písek so there is at least some similarity with the literary figure. Still it would be very far-fetched to assume a connection between the theologist and Hašek's reserve officer.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.3] "Jak se jmenujete?" otázal se doktor Mráz, dívaje se opět do svých papírů. "Švejk Josef, poslušně hlásím, pane lajtnant " "Ehm, vy jste tedy ten známý Švejk," řekl doktor Mráz, "vy jste měl opravdu vyjít o jedenácté. Ale pan nadporučík Lukáš mne žádal, abych vás nepouštěl až v Brucku, je prý to bezpečnější, alespoň na cestě nic nevyvedete."
aSeznamy ztrát - 91. pěší plukÖStA - Jan Ciglbauer2021
bVoják Jaroslav Hašek v Čes. BudejovicíchBohumil Milčan
cPříjmení: 'Mráz', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
dÚmrtí kněze-vlastenecJihočeské listy3.7.1935
Fredynn flag

Fredy is mentioned by the drowsy Feldoberkurat Lacina as he is woken up by Doctor Mráz' inspection. It is possible that he recognized Mráz, who thus carries the first name Bedřich (Friedrich).

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
Supák Schreiternn flag
Search Švejkův slovník

Schreiter is an extremely rare surname in Czechia.

Příjmení: 'Schreiter', počet výskytů v celé ČR2017

Schreiter was a junior officer who Švejk had a conflict with when doing his national service. Schreiter had called the soldiers railway watchmen, a description that Švejk, as a soldier serving the Emperor objected to. He complained to the company commander, it was passed on to the battalion and finally to the regiment. Schreiter in the end had to apologize to Švejk in front of the officers. This happened in 1912 during the so-called Prochaska Affair (see konsul Prochaska).


Where Hašek drew inspiration for supák Schreiter[1] from is unclear. The author himself didn't serve in the army until 1915 so it could not have been based on any personal experience from 1912. Schreiter is an altogether rare surname and not even in Verlustliste for Infanterieregiment Nr. 91 does it appear[a]. This however doesn't rule out that a similar incident took place somewhere and that Hašek know about it, be it from newspapers or from fellow soldiers.

1. Supák was a colloquial term for a soldier who stayed on in the armed forces after completing his compulsory military service. The actual rank of the figure from The Good Soldier Švejk is Feldwebel. See also supák Solpera.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.3] ,Co chceš?’ povídá hejtman. ,Mám, poslušně hlásím, pane hejtmane, stížnost na našeho pana feldwebla Schreitra, my jsme přec císařští vojáci, a ne žádní vechtři. My sloužíme císaři pánu, ale nejsme žádní hlídači ovoce.’
[II.3] Toho se lek a hned dal do kanceláře zavolat našeho supáka Schreitra a ten mě musel vodprosit přede všema oficírama za to slovo ,vechter’.
[II.3] Já jsem si na nic nemohl vzpomenout, a tak jsem se z dlouhý chvíle podepsal na stěně pod název ,Supák Schreiter je hnát’.
[II.3] Asi patnáctkrát tu zeď od magacínu s těma nápisama i s mým podpisem páni od vojenskýho soudu fotografovali, desetkrát mně dali napsat, aby zkoumali můj rukopis: ,My na vojnu nepůjdeme, my se na ni vyséreme’, patnáctkrát musel jsem psát před nimi ,Supák Schreiter je hnát’ a nakonec přijel jeden znalec písma a dal mně napsat: ,Bylo 29. července 1897, kdy Králový Dvůr nad Labem poznal hrůzy prudkého a rozvodněného Labe’.
aSeznamy ztrát - 91. pěší plukÖStA - Jan Ciglbauer2021
Konsul Prochaska, Oskar Ferdinand Alfons Mariann flag
*12.7.1876 Adamov - †26.7.1945 Wien
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Rozkvět, 10.12.1912


Biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte der böhmischen Länder,2000


East Oregonian, 16.11.1912


Arbeiter-Zeitung, 18.11.1912


Reichspost, 19.11.1912


Österreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik, Band 5, 1930


Lidové noviny, 16.1.1913

Prochaska is mentioned in Švejk's story from his time doing military service in 1912. He was accused of writing "We'll shit on the war" on a wall by a munitions dump. This happened when war was looming due to that consul Prochaska. Švejk was taken to the Landesgericht in Terezín because of his alleged scribbling.


Prochaska was an Austro-Hungarian diplomat who in the autumn of 1912 hit the headlines all over the world because of the so-called Prochaska Affair, a diplomatic twist between Austria-Hungary and Serbia that threatened to ignite a major war in Europe[1].

Early years

Prochaska was born in Adamov by Brno in 1876, the son of Ferdinand (lawyer) and Olga (nee Lachnit, also from a family of lawyers). He was educated at k.u.k. Konsularakademie in Vienna (1895-1900). After completing his military service as a one-year volunteer, he was from December 1901 employed at consulates in Ottoman Balkans: Üsküb (Skopje), Monastir (Bitola), Prizren. At the last location, he worked from April to August 1904, then from December 1906 until February 1913, and from 22 January 1911 as consul[b]. On 10 January 1912, he had his surname changed to Prochaska-Lachnit[a].

The Prochaska Affair

After the outbreak of the First Balkan War on 17 October 1912 the situation in Prizren became tense. At the end of the month, Serbian forces entered the city[c] and Prochaska's employers at k.u.k. Außenministerium lost contact with him. On 8 November the Serbian ambassador in Vienna filed a complaint to the Foreign Ministry, claiming that the consul had organised resistance against the invaders and that shots had been fired at them from the roof of the consulate[m]. That very day the Austrian press started to take an interest in the matter[l]. On the 16th Neue Freie Presse received a telegram from the Serbian government, assuring that the consul in Prizren was well and there was no reason for concern. The content was printed the next day[r].

The good news however drowned in the noise caused by an article on the 17th in the Berlin paper Vossische Zeitung. It concerned the events in Prizren and claimed that the Serbians massacred the Muslim population, and forced their way into the consulate and killed Albanians who had taken refuge there[n]. On the 18th the article was quoted in many Austrian newspapers and Reichspost in particular blew up the story. On the 19th it claimed that the consul had been gored by bayonets and was seriously injured[j]. The war cry became louder and louder, the flag on the consulate had allegedly been desecrated and it was claimed that Prochaska had been murdered[k], even entmannt (castrated). The demands for severe measures against Serbia increased and war loomed. Russia raised the alert and partly mobilised in the army districts that bordered Austria-Hungary. The Dual Monarchy decided to put parts of the army on a war footing.

In the meantime, Prochaska had decided to leave Prizren and on the 25th he arrived in Üsküb[e], a city that already for a month had been occupied by Serbia and renamed Skoplje. From here it was possible to send dispatches to k.u.k. Außenministerium about the events of the recent weeks[f]. Prochaska revealed that from 10 November guards had been posted by the consulate so Prochaska was prevented from leaving the premises, and moreover, his horse had been stolen. The employees at the consulate had been verbally abused and on departure, he was sworn at by a stone-throwing mob. On the other hand, the writing in some newspapers of Austria-Hungary about mutilation and murder were pure inventions and Prochaska didn't report any desecration of the flag or that the consulate had been attacked. Nor had he been subjected to any physical harm.

Still, not all the stories in the press of his homeland were invented. Prochaska himself witnessed several cruel episodes where the Albanians were victims. The Serbian reign of terror in the occupied areas was also reported by Leo Trotsky, a journalist (later well-known revolutionary) who reported on the Serbian occupation of Ottoman Makdeonia at the end of 1912[d].

On 13 December 1912 k.u.k. Außenministerium finally received a report from the ambassador in Belgrade (von Ugron) that summarised the affair[h]. There had been certain transgressions of international law by the Serbians, but it was added that if the consul had exercised more tact the matter might have been resolved with less disruption. Still, in an answer dated 19 December Austria-Hungary demanded that Serbia officially apologise and that the flag of the Dual Monarchy again is raised in Prizren, and with Serbian soldiers and Prochaska himself present[i].

These terms were accepted by the Serbians and the case was seemingly resolved. On 15 January 1913 at 10 in the morning, the flag was raised in a ceremony where the consul appeared in gala uniform and the Serbian military formed a guard of honour with the band playing[o]. Still there must obviously have been frictions because on 24 February he was replaced.


The Prochaska affair was an omen of the disaster that was to follow 18 months later. The affair went hand in hand with Austro-Hungarian opposition to allowing Serbia a port on the Adriatic, and this issue was arguably more important than the Prochaska Affair itself. Large parts of the Austrian press took a belligerent stance and military measures were taken. A total of eight army corps were mobilised, totalling more than half a million men[x]. The Czech press and public were generally sceptical and some newspapers attacked Prochaska directly using the word pověstný (notorious). The Austrian Social Democrats were particularly vocal in their opposition to the war. Some large Vienna newspapers like Die Zeit and Neue Freie Presse showed a more measured approach. In the end, the affair became an embarrassment for Austria-Hungary who also had wasted resources on the partial mobilisation.

Later life

In 1913 Prochaska-Lachnit obtained a new position as consul in Rio de Janeiro and he kept this post until after World War I. Then he became a Czechoslovak citizen but was not allowed a pension so he moved to Vienna. Even there he had trouble getting his service recognised but he eventually obtained a position as a lecturer in Portuguese at the university but this was as late as 1937. Later that year 1937 he was also employed by a court as an interpreter in English, French and Italian[z].

Meeting E.E. Kisch

Der rasende Reporter, Egon Erwin Kisch, 1924

On at least three occasions Egon Erwin Kisch wrote about a chance meeting he had with Prochaska in Brno, presumably in the early twenties. The famous reporter touched on the rumours of castration and asked the former consul directly: "Ist es wahr, Herr Generalkonsul, daß Sie 1912 von den Serben kastriert worden sind?". Prochaska grinned and reassured Kisch that this was not the case before he went on to explain how the rumour came about in the first place.

When around 26 November 1912 the news broke that he had arrived in Skopje there was a technical problem. In Serbian it sounded correctly "Prochaska u Skoplje" (Prochaska in Skoplje) but because of an error with the telegraph machine, the letter 'n' had been added. In the Serbian language "uskopljen" is something far more sinister than simply being present in the Macedonian capital: it means that the subject has been castrated! Thus the letter 'N' had a severe effect on the flow of world history. Kisch's article was printed in Prager Tagblatt on 1 July 1923 [t] and in a slightly shorter version in Der rasende Reporter (1924)[p] and more verbose in Marktplatz der Sensationen (1942)[s].

Hašek and Prochaska

Radko Pytlík assumes that a story about the affair that was printed just before Christmas 1912 in Karikatury was written by Hašek although it was signed by one of his friends[q] (Hašek often borrowed pseudonyms from his circle of acquaintances). Here he ridicules the affair, particularly the Christian-Social party and their mouthpiece Reichspost. This newspaper was behind some of the more absurd claims about Prochaska and was one of the prime warmongers. Hašek also added in his grotesque way that the consul had his intestines cut out and that these were sold for 5 dinars per centimetre in Skopje.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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 Procházkacz

aMatrika narozených (Adamov)Moravský zemský archiv Brno
bDie effektiven Konsuln Österreich (-Ungarns) von 1825–1918Engelbert Deusch2017
cPrizrend erobertPrager Tagblatt31.10.1912
dBehind the Curtains of the Balkan WarsLev Trotsky - tr. Robert Elsie1912
eNr. 4625. Tel. des Konsuls Maryan von Heimroth aus Üsküb, 25. Nov. 1912Österreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik1930
fNr. 4646. Tel. des Konsuls Maryan von Heimroth aus Üsküb, 26. Nov. 1912Österreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik1930
gNr. 4647. Tel. des Konsuls Maryan von Heimroth aus Üsküb, 26. Nov. 1912Österreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik1930
hNr. 4896. Bericht aus Belgrad, 13. Dez. 1912Österreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik1930
iNr. 4968. Erlass nach Belgrad, 19. Dez. 1912Österreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik1930
jKonsul Prochaska durch Bajonettstiche verletztReichspost19.11.1912
kHilf, Österreich, wir gehen unter!Grazer Volksblatt26.11.1912
lDer Konflikt des Konsuls ProchaskaDie Zeit8.11.1912
mNr. 4316. Tel. nach Belgrad, 8. Nov. 1912Österreich-Ungarns Aussenpolitik1930
nSchreckenszenen bei der Einnahme von PrizrendVossische Zeitung17.11.1912
oSatisfakce v PrizrenuLidové noviny16.1.1913
pDer rasende ReporterEgon Erwin Kisch1924
qBojovnost vídeňských křesťanských sociálůKarikaturyEduard Drobílek23.12.1912
rDer österreich-ungarische Konsul Prochaska wohlbehaltenNeue Freie Presse17.11.1912
sMarktplatz der SensationenEgon Erwin Kisch1924
tDer Buchstabe ״n“ und der WeltkriegPrager Tagblatt1.7.1923
xBalkan Mobilisation CrossNew Zealand History
zPersonalnachrichtenNeues Wiener Abendblatt5.10.1937
1Prochaska AffairThe International Encyclopedia of the First World War8.10.2014
Coal trader Škvor, Františeknn flag
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General František Škvor (1868-1941)


Adresář královského hlavního města Prahy a obcí sousedních, 1910

František Škvor is mentioned in a story Švejk tells on the train from Budějovice til Királyhida. Škvor was a coal trader who was locked up together with him at c.k. policejní ředitelství at the beginning of the war, was accused of high treason, and was known for his famously nebulous comment when asked if he had objections to the court protocol:

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

Later he appeared before a military court and may have been executed.


Škvor is in Bohemia a moderately common surname (it means ear-wig), predominantly found around Benešov[a]. In Vinohrady lived three František Škvor in 1912 (one servant, one brick-layer and one assistant installer). In the address book of Prague from 1910 ten of them are listed but none of them as a coal trader. On the other hand a certain Ferdinand Škvor from Žižkov is listed as a trader in coal and wood[b].

General Škvor

Hašek may also have been aware of a high-ranking officer who shared both the first- and surname of the coal trader from The Good Soldier Švejk. That said, the two obviously had little in common because the officer hardly traded in coal and was definitely not put in jail at the start of the war. Rather the opposite: František Škvor (1868-1941) enjoyed a distinguished military career both in k.u.k. Heer (Feldmarschall-Leutnant by 1917) and later as general in the Czechoslovak army[c].

Another well-known František Škvor (1898-1970) was a composer but his date of birth indicates that Hašek hardly could have been aware of him when he wrote The Good Soldier Švejk in 1921-1922.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.’
aPříjmení: 'Škvor', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
bAdresář královského hlavního města Prahy a obcí sousedníchVojtěch Kraus1910
cArmádní generál Ing. František ŠkvorSpolek pro vojenská pietní místa5.5.2007
Reservist Kudrna, Josefnn flag
*1.12.1881 Postřižín - †7.5.1915 Motol
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K vítězné svobodě 1914-1918, Rudolf Medek, 1928


Prager Tagblatt,7.5.1915

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 allegedly happened in Benešov where Kudrna was saying goodbye to his family before leaving for the front.


Kudrna was a soldier in IR102 who was accused of mutiny in Benešov. He was executed by a firing squad at Motol on 7 May 1915 and left his wife and seven children behind. Shortly after his widow committed suicide. The story has been dramatised and filmatised (1929), and in 1935 a book about him was published[a].

Protests and rebllion

Kudrna was called up at the outbreak of war and sent to the front against Serbia with IR102. At some stage he was wounded and after recuperating he was assigned to 10. Marschbataillon that was due for the front in the Carpathians.

When the news about the imminent departure caught the ear of the soldiers on 3 May 1915 a drinking binge started and a conflict erupted (albeit unarmed) when two unpopular officers Oberstleutnant Kukačka and Hauptmann Chocenský tried to control the situation. In the end Dragoons were dispatched to quell the threatening rebellion[c]. Three soldiers, amongst them Kudrna, were considered the leaders of the alleged mutiny and for some reason the latter was singled out as the main culprit and sentenced to death by martial court. The other two were given prison sentences[b].

Early victim

Kudrna was one of the best known victims of the persecution that the Austrian authorities carried out in Bohemia and Moravia after the outbreak of war. He was also the first to be sentenced to death by k.u.k. Militärgericht Prag. The case was very quickly conducted and bore traces of a judical murder. It also appeared to be designed to deter Czech soldiers from obstructing the war effort, an assumption underpinned by the fact that the replacement battalion of IR102 and also the Prague garrison were commanded out to witness the execution.

The main architect of the affair seems to have been general Schwerdtner (see Generalmajor von Schwarzburg) who himself was present at the exercise ground in Motol during the execution.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
aPoprava pěšáka KudrnyFrantišek Zavřel1935
bPoprava Josefa Kudrny, oběti rakouské vojenské justiceVHÚ Praha13.5.2015
cJosef Kudrna, oběť rakouské soldateskyFrantišek Loubal1929
Editor Kotek, Josefnn flag
*17.6.1883 Plzeň - †23.12.1914 Moravská Ostrava
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K vítězné svobodě 1914-1918-1928

Rudolf Medek, 1928


One of the last issues of Pokrok that Kotek edited.



News about the execution of Kotek

Prager Abendblatt,2.1.1915

Kotek is indirectly referred to "as an editor in Mähren" when a soldier in the escort on the train from Budějovice to Királyhida talks about recent executions. He gives reservist Kudrna and the editor as examples.


Kotek is not mentioned by name in The Good Soldier Švejk but the timing and circumstances around this part of the plot leave no doubt that Kotek was the man the soldier on the train had in mind. He was the only editor that had been executed at this time, and probably the only Czech editor that was executed during the entire war. He is no doubt one of the best-known victims of Austrian wartime persecution.

Unionist and editor

Josef Kotek hailed from a working-class family and was himself a trained metal worker. From 1901 to 1904 he worked at Škoda and otherwise also in Prague, Jičín, Náchod, Mladá Boleslav and Přerov. He engaged in trade union and poltical work, and was active in the consumer co-operative and in Česká strana národně sociální. From 1 August 1913 he was editor of the party's regional weekly Pokrok in Prostějov in Mähren[a]. After the outbreak of war, the paper was sensored and Kotek decided to close it[b].

Sentenced and executed

On 6 December 1914 Kotek held a talk for co-op members in a tavern in the village of Smržice by Prostějov. The purpose was to explain to the local members why their branch had to be closed down, but the speech proved fatal. He was denounced, arrested and tried at a military court in Moravská Ostrava. According to some witnesses, his speech was strongly anti-Austrian and anti-German whilst Kotek himself claimed that he had uttered nothing against the state, and simply pointed out that the war hurt the co-op movement[c].

He was sentenced to death by a k.k. Landwehr martial court on 23 December 1914 and executed by a firing squad only two hours after the verdict[b]. The sentence was announced in the new year in the newspapers. In order to deter, placards were posted across Moravia. The justification for the harsh verdict was that Kotek's utterance were hostile to the state and the unity of the empire, although he was sentenced according to a paragraph on public order.


In connection with the general amnesty of emperor Karl I. on 2 July 1917, the case was reconsidered and Kotek was rehabilitated post-portem[d]. This news item even reached Jaroslav Hašek in faraway Kiev and he mocked Kotek's "amnesty" in a feuilleton that he had published on New Year's Eve that year[e].

Already before the war ended, the social democrat daily Arbeiter-Zeitung described the execution of Kotek as judicial murder and pointed out that the paragraph he was judged by carried a maximum sentence of 5 years and that a field court had no jurisdiction behind the lines[f]. This was obviously also pointed out by the Czech press after the war.

In posterity, Kotek was honoured in Czechoslovakia. He had streets named after him and memorial plaques have also been installed, for instance on the wall of the tavern where he held his fatal speech.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] A politický lidi vůbec zavírají. Taky už vodstřelili jednoho redaktora na Moravě. A náš hejtman povídal, že to na vostatní ještě čeká.“
aZodpovědný redaktor Jos. KotekPokrok1.8.1915
bŽivot a poprava Josefa KotkaFerdinand Kahánek1922
cStandrechtliche HinrichtungDeutsches Nordmährerblatt1.1.1915
dAmnestován dva a půl roku po popravěDělnické listy20.9.1917
eFeuilleton (Velmi důmyslně stojí...)ČechoslovanJ.H.31.12.1917
fDas Strafgesetz bestimmtArbeiter-Zeitung18.5.1918
Esaunn flag
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The Mess of Pottage, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902), gouache on board, 8 3/8 x 10 1/2 in. (21.3 x 26.8 cm), at the Jewish Museum, New York.

Esau is mentioned by the stupid Korporal in the escort from Budějovice to Királyhida. He was making himself important by telling a story of how he harassed an editor who had problems getting to grips with the practicalities of military life. The editor 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.

Esau was according to the Book of Genesis born hairy and rusty red and this is where the expression "red as Esau" comes from.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
Koníčeknn flag
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Example of a stabbed corporal

Deutsches Volksblatt,15.6.1909

Koníček was a soldier from Infanterieregiment Nr. 35 who had stabbed to death a Korporal who had pestered him, and then stabbed himself. This was a story Švejk told the corporal who was responsible for the prisoners on the train from Budějovice to Királyhida. Švejk had read about the incident in Kurýr.


No obvious model for Koníček has been identified. That soldiers killed their superiors happened and the newspapers mentioned a handful of such incidents over the years. Some victims were stabbed by knife or bayonet, but most of the cases involved firearms. Corporals were found amongst perpetrators as well as victims. Any case as grotesque as that of Koníček has not been pin-pointed (Kurýr is of 2022 not available digitally).

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] „Pro tyhle samý věci, pro takový sekýrování, zapích před léty u pětatřicátýho regimentu nějakej Koníček sebe i kaprála. Bylo to v ,Kurýru’.
Korporal Fialann flag
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Fiala was a junior officer from Drábovna by Turnov who some years ago had his throat slit by his own soldiers in Dalmatia. This is in a story Švejk tells the escort corporal about corporals who had been killed by their own men.


Fiala is a very common Czech surname and Verlustliste reveal that several of them were Korporal. Still, as in the related case Koníček it has not been possible to find any parallel to the story in newspapers from the period in question. It must therefore be assumed that the story is one of Švejk's grotesque exaggerations or even invention, an assumption that is underpinned by the fact that Drábovna was not a populated place.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
Korporal Rejmáneknn flag
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Rejmánek was a junior officer from Infanterieregiment Nr. 75, part of the same story as Korporal Fiala, which Švejk fails to complete because Feldoberkurat Lacina wakes up making noises like the young giant Gargantua. To judge by the two other corporals in the anecdote Rejmánek also suffered a grim fate.


Rejmánek is a very rare Czech surname[a] and searches for such a junior officer in periodicals from the relevant historical period show no results. The surname it however appears, albeit rarely. Schematismus reveals one Leopold Rejmánek who in 1914 is listed as Oberartzt i. d. Reserve in Infanterieregiment Nr. 13. Rejmánek was born in 1884 and was the only person with this surname that is registereed with the police in Prague (1909 til 1913). He was from Hradec Králove and eventually he became a well-known medic in his home city. This indicates that the stay in Prague was for study purposes. He lived in Vinohrady in 1913[b]. Hašek mingled a lot with students but it would be far-fetched to concluded that there is any connection.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] Potom ještě vím o jednom kaprálovi od pětasedmdesátejch, Rejmánkovi...“
aPříjmení: 'Rejmanek', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
bPobytové přihlášky pražského policejního ředitelstvíNAČR1851 - 1914
Gargantuann flag
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Gustave Doré, 1873.


Original print, Lyon, 1535

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


Gargantua is one of the two main protagonists in a five-volume epic by Rabelais, titled La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel, written in the 16th century. Gargantua is the father and Pantagruel the son in these stories. It is a satirical work, replete with vulgarities and descriptions of troublesome digestion.

Translated into Czech

The novel series was translated into Czech in the period from 1912 and 1930[b], so the inspiration for the sounds that Hašek attributes to Feldoberkurat Lacina is probably from the first book. Several translations into English exist[c].

Gargantua as newly born

Early in this volume (chapter 6) there is a description of how the newly born Pantagruel behaved. In this sequence the reader may recognise elements from Lacina's waking up in The Good Soldier Švejk [a] without this necessarily being the passage that Hašek had in mind.

Chapitre VI.

En sorte qu’elles considerant ceste complexion divine pour le resiouir au matin faisoyent davant luy donner des verres avecques un cousteau, ou des flaccons avecques leur toupon, ou des pinthes avecques leur couvercle. Auquel son il s’esguayoit, il tressailoit, et luy mesmes se bressoit en dodelinant de la teste, monichordisant des doigts, et baritonant du cul.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
aLa vie inestimable du grand Gargantua, père de PantagruelFrançois Rabelais1535
bŽivot Gargantuův a PantagruelůvFrançois Rabelais1930
cGargantua and his son PantagruelFrançois Rabelais1894
Rabelais, Françoisnn flag
*1483 (1494) Chinon - †9.4.1553 Paris
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Rabelais is mentioned when the author compares the sounds Feldoberkurat Lacina emits with the sounds of the awakening giant Gargantua. He is referred to as "old merry Rabelais".


Rabelais was a French monk, humanist, scholar, doctor and not the least author. He is best known for his five volume satirical classic 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(s) from the novel
[II.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.
Marínann flag

Pochodové písně českoslov. vojáka, 1919


Slovanské písně lidové k pochodu a cvičením prostným,1912

Marína from Hodonín appears in a verse Švejk sings for Feldoberkurat Lacina during the train journey to Bruck. The latter does not get angry despite the verse's suggestion of immorality amongst the clergy.


Marína is the subject of a Slovak folk song that exists in a few variations (Švejk only sings the first verse). It was popular as a soldier's song in the Legions and also amongst Czech and Slovak soldiers in k.u.k. Heer.

In 1919 it was included in a song-booklet that the Czechoslovak military authorities published in Irkutsk. Except for two ortographical details the text of the first verse is the same as in The Good Soldier Švejk [a]. In a pre-war version the first verse is different as there is no allusion to the priest[b].

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] Ide Marína od Hodonína, za ní pan farář s bečicú vína.
[II.3] "Kdyby zde alespoň bylo trochu rumu, nemusela by být bečka vína," řekl usmívaje se v naprosté přátelské náladě, "a tu Marínu bychom si taky odpustili, beztoho to jen svádí ke hříchu."
aPochodové písně českoslov. vojákaInformačně-osvětový odbor Ministerstva vojenství1919
bSlovanské písně lidové k pochodu a cvičením prostnýmFrantišek Waic1912
Bricklayer Mlíčkonn flag
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The roofer Mlíčko in Dejvice, 1910.

Mlíčko was a bricklayer from Dejvice who was in the habit of lending others small change but he rarely got the money back. This was according to an anecdote Švejk told on the train from Budějovice til Királyhida. He is not to be confused with carpenter Mlíčko.


It has not been possible to identify any "model" for this figure although one Antonín Mlíčko (born 1885) actually lived in Dejvice from 1906 onwards[a]. His profession is however not known. See carpenter Mlíčko for further information.

A roofer

A certian František Mlíčko (born 1871) also lived in Dejvice and worked as a roofer[b], an occupation that at least is related to bricklayer. He was registered in Dejvice from 1896 and his occupation is given as "tapezierer".

A rare name

Mlíčko is a rare family name and in 2021 only 35 persons are named such. Many of them live in the area around Blatná. The address directory of Prague (1910) only contain 6 persons with this surname.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] "Von mně připomíná s těma drobnejma, který nemá", prohodil Švejk, "že je jako nějaký Mlíčko, zedník z Dejvic, ten taky neměl tak dlouho drobný, až se zasekal po krk a byl zavřenej pro podvod. Prožral velký a neměl drobný."
aPobytové přihlášky pražského policejního ředitelstvíNAČR1851 - 1914
bAdresář královského hlavního města Prahy a obcí sousedníchVojtěch Kraus1910
Oberleutnant Kirschnernn flag
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Prager Tagblatt,1.12.1914


Adresař hl.m. Prahy,1910

Kirschner was a senior lieutenant whose servant Oberleutnant Lukáš had to share when Švejk was on his anabasis or was locked up in Budějovice. The servant of Kirschner neglected Lukáš totally, to the degree that Lukáš was glad to have Švejk back despite his numerous misdeeds. The reunion happened at a railway station in Vienna.


There were many officers named Kirschner in k.u.k. Wehrmacht in 1914 but none of them belonged to Infanterieregiment Nr. 91 or other units that were garrisoned in Budějovice [a][b].

Karl Kirschner

Still there is a minor chance that the former bank-employee Jaroslav Hašek may have known about an Oberleutnant (reservist) Karl Kirschner from Traindivision Nr. 8[c] and borrowed his name. He was from Prague and worked at Česká spořitelna (Böhmische Sparkasse) and was the son of a railway inspector. In 1914 Prager Tagblatt reported that Kirschner had been promoted from Leutnant [e] at the front in Serbia and in 1915 he was decorated with a Signum Laudis[d]. Kirschner was born in 1881 and lived in Korunní třída in Vinohrady[f], an area that Hašek knew well and lived in from 1906 to 1908 or 1909.

Because Traindivision Nr. 8 belonged to 8. Korpskommando Prague it is very likely that it operated in the same sections of the front as Infanterieregiment Nr. 91 but their exact deployment during the war is yet to be investigated.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
aSchematismus für das k.u.k. Heer (s. 1)K.k. Hof und Staatsdruckerei1914
bSchematismus der k.k. Land­wehr (s. 1)Ministerium für Landesverteidigung1914
cRanglisten des Kaiserlich und Königlichen Heeres (s. 924)K.k. Hof und Staatsdruckerei1916
dBeförderung an der FrontPrager Tagblatt1.12.1914
eKriegsauszeichnungenPrager Tagblatt29.8.1915
fPobytové přihlášky pražského policejního ředitelstvíNAČR1851 - 1914
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Vaníček is mentioned in an anecdote Švejk tells Oberleutnant Lukáš at a railway station 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.


Vaníček is a common Czech surname and in 2022 a few families live in Pelhřimov [a]. Still, it has not been possible to identify any source of inspiration for this figure. Hašek used the name also in the stories Number fifteen[c] and The unhappy story with the tomcat[b], but here the figure(s) Vaníček had little in common with the unfortunate old man from Pelhřimov.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
aPříjmení: 'Vaníček', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
bNešťastná historie s kocouremHumoristické listyJaroslav Hašek23.6.1911
cČíslo patnáctHlas liduJaroslav Hašek26.11.1912
Archduke Stephannn flag
*5.9.1860 Židlochovice - †7.4.1933 Żywiec
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Karl Stephan, Erzherzog von Österreich

Stephan is said to have honoured the house of pleasure Zum Kukuruzkolben with a visit during the large manoeuvres by Sopron in 1908.


Stephan (Archduke) would over the years fit several people but none of them were alive in 1908 when the army manoeuvres by Sopron supposedly took place.

The person that Hašek had in mind was therefore most likely Karl Stephan, an Austrian archduke of the House of Habsburg, brother of Archduke Friedrich and admiral in k.u.k. Kriegsmarine. Explanations found in the most recent Polish and German translations of The Good Soldier Švejk also assume this, and Milan Hodík arrived at the same conclusion. The hypothesis makes some sense but on the other hand it seems strange that a naval officer attended the exercises of the terrestrial armed forces.

Kaisermanövern 1908

Illustrierte Kronen-Zeitung,4.3.1908

Hašek was however on track when he referred to the large manoeuvres by Sopron in 1908. That year western Hungary hosted the annual Kaisermanövern and Sopron was indeed one of the sites. The manoeuvres headquarters were located further east, in Hajmáskér by Veszprém. The newspapers reported on the event and reveal that many luminaries attended: Emperor Franz Joseph I., Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Archduke Karl Franz Joseph, Feldmarschall Conrad, Archduke Friedrich etc. Franz Ferdinand headed the manoeuvres that took place from 15 to 18 September 1908. On the other hand Karl Stephan is not mentioned and we shall soon discover why.

Engagement celebration

Karl Stephan's alibi, his future son-in-law.

Österreichische Illustrierte Zeitung,6.9.1908

Based on other news items it is safe to conclude that Karl Stephan hardly could have attended these manoeuvres. On 12 September 1908 he and his wife travelled to attend a celebration in Balice by Kraków, not far from their residence in Saybusch (Żywiec). The occasion was the engagement of their daughter Renata to Prince Hieronim Mikołaj Radziwiłł (1885–1945) and Neue Freie Presse reported that around that time the noble party had been on an excursion to Wola-Justowska (now part of Kraków)[a]. It is therefore unlikely that the archduke left the area around Kraków during the period the Kaisermanövern lasted.

That some archduke at some stage visited some brothel in Királyhida is of course possible but it would not have been Karl Stephan during the great exercises by Sopron in 1908. Most likely the whole episode is inspired by hearsay and enhanced by the author's urge to heap dirt on the Austrian elites.

The good soldier Švejk in captivity

Stephan is mentioned also in Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetí and the context is the same: his alleged visit to Zum Kukuruzkolben during the manoeuvres in 1908.[1]

Jinak Királyhida je zaprášené město. Obyvatelé nevědí, jestli jsou Němci nebo Maďaři. Městské děvy pěstují flirt s důstojníky vojenského tábora z Brucku. Také tu kvete prostituce jako všude v Maďárii. Jsou tam jen dvě památnosti, zříceniny cukrovaru a vykřičený dům U kukuřičního klasu, který ráčil poctíti svou návštěvou arcivévoda Štěpán roku 1908 za velkých manévrů.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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 ŠtěpánHašekHabsburg–Tescheni Károly Istvánhu

aZur Verlobung der Erzherzogin RenataNeue Freie Presse21.9.1908
1Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetíJaroslav Hašek1917
Offiziersdiener Mikulášeknn flag
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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 Oberleutnant 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.


This figure doesn't seem to have any obvious model from real life, unlike for instance his superior Major Wenzl. Mikulášek is not an uncommon surname but is mostly found in Moravia. In the recruitment area of Infanterieregiment Nr. 91 it is very rare so it is unlikely that anyone with this name served with Jaroslav Hašek in the regiment[a]. More frequent in the area is the similar Mikolášek[b] and this variation provides a few clues, although pretty airy.

IR. 91 in 1915

In Infanterieregiment Nr. 91 some Zugsführer Jan Mikolášek served together with Hašek. He was assigned to the 13th company and was taken prisoner by Pogorelcy east of Chorupan on 11 September 1915[c]. Hašek may have known him but it would be far-fetched to claim that this person was a "model" for Mikulášek. At most, it could be a question of name-borrowing. Mikolášek had first served in the army in 1908 and this doesn't fit the description in The Good Soldier Švejk of a youth. In 1915 he would have been around 28.

An episode in 1920

In both his books about Hašek Jan Berwid-Buquoy wrote that some Jan Mikolášek told him about an episode that was very similar to the one described in The Good Soldier Švejk. According to this story, Mikolášek was in 1920 assigned to help Rudolf Lukas when he started serving in the Czechoslovak ministry of defence. Hašek dropped by to greet his former commander and engaged in a conversation with Mikolášek who was sitting on a table. When Lukas returned he allegedly ordered Hašek to get find the pistol to shoot Mikolášek down from the table[d]!

At first glance this appears as a "good story" which it probably also is. That such an episode happened in Prague in 1920 is impossible because Rudolf Lukas served in Budějovice and Ružomberok that year and was transferred to the ministry of defence as late as 1 June 1921. Thus any suh meeting must have occured during the summer of 1921 (Hašek left Prague on 25 August). It is also odd that Lukas during conversations with Morávek[f] didn't mention that he ever met Hašek after the war and to my knowledge there are no others who can witness that such a meeting actually took place.

Moreover Mikolášek is a mystery in his own right because no-one in Hašek's circle mentions him in their various books and he also remained unknown to modern biographers. Mikolášek was born in 1900 and was still alive in 1982. Jan Berwid-Buquoy provided pictures of him in both his books. It is also claimed that he was Hašek's intimate friend and even attended the funeral. Furthermore, Mikolášek was of the opinion that Hašek didn't die from natural causes, that he was poisoned.


According to Jan Berwid-Buquoy's latest book (2011) Mikolášek also claimed that he lent Hašek 50 crowns on the condition that he was featured in The Good Soldier Švejk. Hašek also allegedly borrowed another 50 crows provided that Mikolášek was given a part in the play From Karlín to Bratislava in 365 days[e]. He was also promised a meeting with Egon Erwin Kisch and Emil Artur Longen, but this never materialised. Nor was he ever paid back the money he had lent Hašek. In the play, some Mikulášek is actually the main character and a stoker on the boat that carries out the long journey. The play was first performed just before new year 1921 so it is unlikely that it was written during the summer when Hašek was still in Prague. According to Radko Pytlík the play was written by Hašek and Longen at Lipnice at the end of 1921[g].

One could also imagine that someone who took a financial risk just to get his name into a certain novel would be prone to invent the entire story as well (or parts of it), a Herostratus in a miniature shape. If he knew Hašek that well, why didn't he contact recognised Hašek-experts some time during the preceding 30 years?

From Karlín to Bratislava in 365 days




This is a play that was written in 1921, presumably close to the end of the year. It is a farcical story about a roundabout journey from Prague to Bratislava with the steamer Lanna, along the waterways of Europe. The play was first advertised in Tribuna, Prager Presse and Rudé právo on 30 December 1921 and the authors were literally: E.E. Kisch, Rossenvelt pres. U.S.A., J. Hašek, Jules Werenes, E.A. Longen. It was performed at the theatre Adria, the same stage that from 1 November 1921 had hosted Emil Artur Longen's theatre version of The Good Soldier Švejk with Longen as director. In later adverts "Werenes"" and "Rossenvelt"" were for obvious reasons left out.

The manuscript reveals that the script was approved by the police on 29 December 1921 and that the censors had some objetions! Still, there were no major changes. Emil Artur Longen, Jaroslav Hašek and Egon Erwin Kisch are listed as authors[x].

Two names that are familiar from The Good Soldier Švejk feature prominently: Mikulášek and pubkeeper Rampa. Incidently these names appeared in the novel around the time when the play was written. In the play Mikulášek is a stoker and main character whereas Rampa is described much in the same way as in the novel. One of the scenes involves Mikulášek being drunk in Rampa's pub!

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.

Sources: Jaroslav Šerák, Jan Berwid-Buquoy

aPříjmení: 'Mikulášek', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
bPříjmení: 'Mikolášek', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
cSeznamy ztrát - 91. pěší plukÖStA - Jan Ciglbauer2021
dDie Abenteuer des gar nicht so braven Humoristen Jaroslav HašekJan Berwid-Buquoy1989
eJaroslav Hašek a jeho Dobrý voják ŠvejkJan Berwid-Buquoy2011
fJaroslav Hašek - dobrý voják ŠvejkVečerní České SlovoJan Morávek1924
gToulavé houseRadko Pytlík1971
xZ Karlína do Bratislavy parníkem Lanna 8 za 365 dníE.E. Kisch - Jaroslav Hašek - E.A. Longen29.12.1921
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Die „Abenteuer des Braven Soldaten Schwejk” in Österreich1983



Etelka Kakonyi Kakonyi is mentioned 7 times in The Good Soldier Švejk.

Etelka Kakonyi was the wife of the ironmongers Mr. Kakonyi in Soproni utca in Királyhida. Oberleutnant Lukáš fell for her in the theatre in Királyhida and the subsequent letter of admiration was the reason for the huge scandal that ensued after her husband had read the letter. We are also told that she was a German from Sopron.


Mrs. Kakonyi has no obvious model, although it can't be ruled out that the literary character was inspired by some real person and event. It can however be stated with near certainty that no person carrying this name lived in Bruck an der Leitha or Királyhida in 1915[a].

It is also striking that the author assigns a Hungarian name to a German lady from Sopron, further evidence to suggest that this figure has no real-life model.

Short stories

The name Etelka Kakonyi had appeared in Hašek's writing already in 1905 and recurred a few times over the years[b].

The good soldier Švejk in captivity

There is a precedent to the story of the scandal involving the Kakonyi couple, and it is 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.[1]

Švejk nalévat koňak, který je tak důležitou oporou politické psychologie němectví. Pak Dauerling napsal nějaké psaní a odevzdal je Švejkovi s rozkazem, že musí hledět to psaní doručit za jakýchkoliv okolností a čekat na odpověď. Adresa zněla: Királyhida, Pozsony utca 13, Etelka Kakonyi.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] 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.“
[II.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 Kakonyiová. 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?“
[II.3] 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 Kakonyiové toto psaní.
[II.4] Spíš by snad vás zajímal článek v ,Komárenském večerníku’, kde se o vás tvrdí, že jste se pokoušel znásilnit paní Kákonyiovou přímo v jídelně při obědě u přítomnosti jejího manžela, kterého jste ohrožoval šavlí a nutil ho, aby zacpal ručníkem ústa své manželky, aby nekřičela.
[II.4] Je s ním nějaký sapér Vodička, u kterého po rvačce našli, když je přivedli na hauptwachu, váš dopis, který jste poslal paní Kákonyiové.
[II.4] „Pane nadporučíku,“ obrátil se na něho důvěrně plukovník, „ruku na srdce. Kolikrát jste se vyspal s paní Kákonyiovou?“
[II.5] Našel jsem šťastně paní Kákonyiovou a mohu říct, že je to velice hezká ženská, já ji sice viděl jenom, když plakala...

Sources: Klara Köttner-Benigni

aDie „Abenteuer des Braven Soldaten Schwejk” in ÖsterreichKlara Köttner-Benigni - Konrad Biricz1983
bElindúlta Ajgó Márton…SvětozorJaroslav Hašek18.8.1905
1Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetíJaroslav Hašek1917
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Josef Lada,1930


Die „Abenteuer des Braven Soldaten Schwejk” in Österreich1983


Duch času,19.7.1903

Kakonyi is mentioned 11 times in The Good Soldier Švejk.

Kakonyi was the owner of an ironmonger's shop in Soproni utca, married to Etelka Kakonyi. He did nok take lightly to the letter from Oberleutnant Lukáš that Švejk and Sappeur Vodička delivered, intended for his wife. The ensueing row led 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. His first name is revealed only once, in the article by deputy Barabás in Pester Lloyd.


Mr. Kakonyi has no obvious model, although it can't be ruled out that Jaroslav Hašek was inspired by some real person and event. It can be stated with near certainty that no person carrying this name lived in Bruck or Királyhida at the time[a].

Five short stories

The name Gyula Kakonyi appeared in Hašek's writing as early as 1903[b] and 1904[c]. In 1907 his name appeared in another and longer story[d]. The surname Kakonyi is found in two more stories. In all five short stories the context is entrirely different from the plot in The Good Soldier Švejk, and two of them are set in Slovakia.

The good soldier Švejk in captivity

There is a precedent to the story of the scandal involving the Kakonyi couple. It had appeared already in 1917 in the short novel Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetí, although in a partly different setting. Here the author lets Kakonoyi live in Pozsony utca 13, another street that didn't exist. Gyula Kakonyi owns a stationary shop, and he welcomes Švejk with a tirade against the Austrians, i.e. the peoples of Cisleithania, including Czechs.[1]

Pan Kákonyi tedy pokračoval. Rozebral poznovu, co to znamená souručenství Maďarů s Rakušany. Proklel Švejkovi i Dauerlingovi matku. Řekl: "My známe své Rakušany," a dál rozvinul svůj program. Kdo mu poleze za ženou, toho srazí schodů.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.3] Ten krám patří nějakému Maďarovi Kakonyimu. 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 Kakonyi? 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 Kakonyiové toto psaní.“
[II.3] Za tohoto poutavého a poučného rozhovoru našel Švejk s Vodičkou konečně železářský krám pana Kákonyie na Sopronyi utcza čís. 16.
[II.3] Švejk s Vodičkou stáli před dveřmi bytu pana Kákonyiho. Než přitlačil na knoflík zvonku, poznamenal Švejk: „Slyšel jsi někdy, Vodičko, že vopatrnost je matkou moudrosti?“
[II.3] Rozčilený pán se chtěl vrhnout na Švejka, který stál klidně a spokojeně před ním, ale starý sapér Vodička, sledující každý jeho pohyb, podrazil mu nohu, vytrhl mu psaní z ruky, kterým stále mával, strčil do kapsy, a když se pan Kákonyi vzchopil, chytil ho Vodička, odnesl ke dveřím, otevřel si dveře jednou rukou, a už bylo slyšet, jak na schodech se něco válí.
[II.3] Po rozčileném pánovi zůstal jen ubrousek. Švejk ho zvedl, zaklepal slušně na dveře pokoje, odkud před pěti minutami vyšel pan Kákonyi a odkud bylo slyšet ženský pláč.
[II.3] Srazil paty dohromady, zasalutoval a vyšel na chodbu. Na schodech nebylo znát tak dalece nijakých stop zápasu, zde dle předpokladů Vodičkových odehrávalo se vše úplně lehce. Jedině potom u vrat v průjezdě našel Švejk utržený nákrční límeček. Tam se patrně, když pan Kákonyi zoufale se zachytil domovních vrat, aby nebyl vyvlečen na ulici, odehrával poslední akt této tragedie.
[II.3] Zato na ulici bylo rušno. Pana Kákonyiho odtáhli do protějšího průjezdu, kde ho polívali vodou, a uprostřed ulice bil se starý sapér Vodička jako lev proti několika honvédům a honvéd-husarům, kteří se zastali svého krajana.
[II.4] K jaké národnosti patřili vojáci z nedalekého vojenského tábora v Brucku nad Litavou, kteří přepadli a ztrýznili tamějšího obchodníka pana Gyulu Kákonyie?
[II.4] Když se mě pan auditor zeptal, proč jsme vtrhli do bytu toho pana Kákonyiho, tak jsem mu prostě řek: ,Já myslel, že se nejlépe s panem Kákonyim poznáme, když ho budem navštěvovat.’ Pan auditor se mě pak už na nic neptal a měl už toho dost.
aDie „Abenteuer des Braven Soldaten Schwejk” in ÖsterreichKlara Köttner-Benigni - Konrad Biricz1983
bDobrodružství Gyuly KákonyeNárodní listyJar. Hašek28.6.1903
cNezdaření výměnaNárodní listyViktor Janota27.1.1904
dŘádný učitelVenkovJaroslav Hašek3.11.1907
1Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetíJaroslav Hašek1917
Waitress Růženkann flag
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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. Her friend was Sappeur Vodička.


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

Bohumil Vlček

V lágru nás nic nepoutalo, proto po zaměstnáni navštěvovali jsme v Mostě hostinec u "Růže" kde nás obsluhovala naše česká číšnice Růženka / jak v románě též o tom zmínka :/ Tam byl stalým hostem Jaroslav Hašek, kterého jsem tam též osobni poznal. Většinou do restaurace chodili Češi, jednoročáci a i mužstvo od náhr. praporu.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.3] Vždyť jsem ti to všecko, když jsme seděli s tou českou kelnerkou, vykládal, že nesu psaní vod svýho obrlajtnanta, že je to naprosté tajemství.

Sources: Bohumil Vlček

Also written:RosieSadlon

aPřipomínky k románu "Dobrého vojáka Švejka"Bohumil Vlček20.3.1956
Sappeur Vodička, Antonínnn flag
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Josef Lada,1930

Vodička is mentioned 79 times in The Good Soldier Švejk.

Vodička was a Czech sapper who served with a unit from Styria (see Die Steirer) who were garrisoned in Brucker Lager. Vodička was an old acquaintance of Švejk frå Prague and had previously lived in the street Na Bojišti where he got to know Švejk. At the start of the war Vodička had served by Przemyśl. Otherwise it is revealed that he is ill-tempered, pretty uncomplicated and brutal both in deeds and words. The identity of his original regiment is not revealed, but the sequence where he mentions Landwehrsoldat Purkrábek indicates that it was k.k. Landwehrinfanterieregiment Nr. 16.

Švejk was on his way to Soproni utca 16 to carry out his delicate errand for Oberleutnant Lukáš when he bumped into his former neighbour. They proceeded to Zum schwarzen Lamm to have a drink for the old days and Švejk unwisely revealed his delicate mission to his former neighbour. Vodička hated Magyars, was quarrelsome by nature, and had also tanked up a bit. The ensuing scandal is well known for anyone who has read The Good Soldier Švejk with attention.

His first name was revealed by Landwehrsoldat Purkrábek during a fight by Pausdorf. When Vodička took Purkrábek for a Hungarian and was about to hit him, the latter exclaimed: "Tonda, it's me, Purkrábek, from 16th landwehr!"


For this figure Hašek surely borrowed the surname and some attributes and biographical details from people he knew. The family name Vodička was was quite widespread [a] so there would have been many to choose from. The name was actually very common around Lipnice where the author lived when he wrote this part of the novel.

Josef Vodička - a likely inspiration

The most likely prototype for the irate sapper is no doubt Josef Vodička from the Olomouc district in Moravia. He fits well with regards to age and temperament, but most important of all is the fact that he knew Jaroslav Hašek quite well from their time in Totskoye and also in the Legions[c]. See Josef Vodička for more information about this person.


In Prague lived at the time of Hašek many Vodička and many of them with the first name Antonín. In 1910 no Vodička was known to live in Na Bojišti but a certain Antonín (tailor) lived around the corner in Kateřinská ulice 1476/36. Several more Vodička also lived in this area of Nové město where Hašek grew up and also frequented later in his life.

Jan Berwid-Buquoy claims that the inspiration for Sappeur Vodička was Stanislav Vodička (1895-1918), one of the leaders of the so-called Rumburk rebellion in 1918. Vodička was executed due to his involvement in the episode. Berwid-Buquoy does not underpin the claim with any evidence, apart for stating that Vodička hated Germans an Hungarians[b]. The theory appears to have little substance: Vodička was not a person that Hašek knew (althoug he would have heard of him at the time when The Good Soldier Švejk was written), he was only twenty in 1915, and had no obvious connection with Prague or Királyhida.

The good soldier Švejk in captivity

Vodička is not mentioned in this version of Švejk, despite the description of the brawl in Királyhida being similar to that found in The Good Soldier Švejk.[1]

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.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!’
[II.4] A tak se rozešel dobrý voják Švejk se starým sapérem Vodičkou. "Wenn die Leute auseinander gehen, da sagen sie Auf Wiedersehen."
aPříjmení: 'Vodička', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
bJaroslav Hašek a jeho Dobrý voják ŠvejkJan Berwid-Buquoy2011
cJe Josef Vodička sapér Vodička?Obrana lidu25.1.1958
1Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetíJaroslav Hašek1917
Landwehrsoldat Purkrábeknn flag
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Purkrábek is a very rare surname in Czechia.


Purkrábek was a soldier from k.k. Landwehrinfanterieregiment Nr. 16 who by mistake almost got beaten up by Sappeur Vodička in Pausdorf. He should not be confused with the bald Mr. Purkrábek from Banka Slavia.


No obvious inspiration for this figure has been identified, and the name itself may simply be a re-use of the representative of Banka Slavia from [II.1]. It was also strange that a Czech soldier served in a regiment that was recruited from Kraków and surroundings.

Purkrábek is a very rare surname inasmuch as only 43 persons in the entire Czech Republic carries it[a]. The near identical Pulkrábek is also rare but still much more widespread (286). In Prague lived at Hašek's time only a few Purkrábek. One was the musician Narcius (born 1880) and another was a waiter Oldřich, later pub landlord, born in 1870, who lived in Nusle. It wouldn't be a big surprise if Hašek knew or knew about one of them, but the rest is speculation.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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!’
aPříjmení: 'Purkrábek', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
Mejstříknn flag
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Mejstřík was not an uncommon surname in Prague, and quite a few of them lived in areas that Hašek knew well.


Karel Mejstřík was someone that Hašek probably knew about but the connection between this officer and the liteary figure surely stops there.

Mejstřík was some Czech soldier who Sappeur 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.


Mejstřík is a quite common surname, most predominant around Kutná Hora [a]. In Prague there lived several at the time so that Hašek knew some of them is possible. Several of them were residents of areas that Hašek knew well, and one of them, a postman, even a few steps from U kalicha.

In k.u.k. Heer

In the recruitment area of Infanterieregiment Nr. 91 the surname is extremely rare (only 4 persons in 2022) so it is not surprising that the surname is totally absent from the regiment's Verlustliste [b].

In the Legions

In the Legions 15 Mejstřík are listed but many of them joined after Hašek had already left. There is however one that Hašek may have know come across. His name was Karel Mejstřík (1886-1945), was from Zbraslav by Prague, served with Infanterieregiment Nr. 11 as an Oberleutnant, was captured by Sokal om 27 July 1915 and one month later he applied to become a Czech volunteer. Thus he would have served in 9. Infanteriedivision like Hašek but it is unlikely that the two met already in k.u.k Heer. He was the only Mejstřík who already was a member of the Legions when Hašek joined on 29 June 1916. By the time he left the Czechoslovak army in Russia he had advanced to staff major and his military career continued in Czechoslovakia. Mejstřík was killed during the Prague uprising in May 1945.

No obvious source of inspiration

Regardless of whether Hašek knew some Mejstřík or not: it would surely be nothing more than name-borrowing and in the end it has not been possible to identify any particular person who could have served as an inspiration for the literary soldier with the big paws.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.3] Tak ten náš Mejstřík skočí do kola a tu největší fešandu chce brát jednomu honvédovi, kerej začal něco brebentit, a Mejstřík mu hned jednu hodil, ten se svalil, my už hned chytli überšvunky, votočili jsme si je kolem ruky, aby nám bajonety neulítly, skočili mezi ně, já jsem vykřik: ,Vinnej nevinnej, berte to po řadě!’ a už to šlo jako na másle.
[II.3] Byla udělaná do našeho Mejstříka a šla s ním potom nahoru po cestě na Királyhidu, kde jsou pod lesem sušírny na seno.
aPříjmení: 'Mejstřík', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
bSeznamy ztrát - 91. pěší plukÖStA - Jan Ciglbauer2021
Liquor trader Paroubeknn flag
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Příruční slovník jazyka českého,1937-1938


Paroubek is not a common surname.

Příjmení: 'Paroubek', počet výskytů v celé ČR2017

Paroubek was the landlord of a pub in Libeň who Švejk tells Sappeur Vodička about to timely remind him of the dangers of violent excess. A slovak guest claim that Paroubek watered own the spirit and swore at the pub owner, calling him a crook , Šaščínská bestie and so on. Paroubek reacted violently and chased the guest down to Invalidovna, onwards to Žižkov and all the way to Malešice before he caught him. But the hunt didn't pay in the end because when he returned to his pub the other guests had served themselves copiously.


Although though several Paroubek, Paraubek or Parubek lived in Prague at Hašek's time, none of them had the address Libeň or seemed to be a pub-owner. In the Libeň address book from 1896 these surnames are not found at all[a]. The name is otherwise not very common[b].


According to dictionaries the word means liquor trader or an alcoholic that is addicted to liquor but in this context the author no doubt refers to the owner of a pub/liquor shop. Zenny Sadlon interprets it as gin-mill owner whereas Cecil Parrott uses the less specific pubkeeper.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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. Potom ještě řekl Paroubkovi, že je huncút a šaščínská bestie, tak ho milej Paroubek chyt, votlouk mu jeho pastě na myši a dráty vo hlavu a vyhodil ho ven a mlátil ho po ulici tyčí na stahování rolety až dolů na Invalidovnu a hnal ho, jak byl zdivočelej, přes Invalidovnu v Karlíně až nahoru na Žižkov, vodtud přes Židovský pece do Malešic, kde vo něj konečně tyč přerazil, takže se moh vrátit nazpátek do Libně.
[II.3] U kořalny bylo napolovic stažený roló, u kterýho stáli dva policajti, taky silně nabraný, když dělali vevnitř pořádek. Dopolovic všechno vypitý, na ulici prázdnej soudek vod rumu, a pod pultama našel Paroubek dva vožralý chlapy, kteří byli přehlédnutý policajty a kteří, když je vytáhl, chtěli mu platit po dvou krejcařích, víc prej žitný nevypili.
aAdresář obce libeňskéLadislav Hubený1895
bPříjmení: 'Paroubek', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
Hauptmann Jetzbachernn flag

One of the two Jetzbacher that were wounded in the war.

Verlustliste Nr. 495,30.11.1916

Jetzbacher was a swine of a captain who, according to a story Sappeur Vodička told Švejk, was shot by his own soldiers by Przemyśl.


Jetzbacher is an extremely rare surname and in contemporary Czechia it does not exist. Even in the German-speaking neighbouring countries there are very few. Newspapers items suggest that the name was most frequent in Herzogtum Salzburg.

In Verlustliste only two appear and both were wounded rank and file soldiers from Herzogtum Salzburg. Thus it is no surprise that no such named officer served in k.u.k. Wehrmacht in 1914 or earlier, confirmed by Schematismus for both k.u.k. Heer and k.k. Landwehr.

One must therefore assume that the name is invented and if some captain was shot by his own soldiers by Przemyśl he was called something else.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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. Tak jsme si řekli, že až to začne z ruský strany hvízdat, že taky náš hejtman Jetzbacher žít nebude.
Bitterlichnn flag

A Bitterlich that didn't shoot himself.

Ehrenhalle des k. k. Landwehr, des k. k. Landsturmes und der k. k. Gendarmerie,1915-1917


Hermann Bitterlich seems to have been shot during fighting in the vicinity of Przemyśl, but suicide with a shot in the stomach sounds unlikely.

Nachricthen über Verwundete und Kranke,16.11.1915

Bitterlich was a soldier who committed suicide because of Hauptmann Jetzbacher. He was German but a good man and served in the same company as Sappeur Vodička during the fighting by Przemyśl.


Bitterlich is a rare surname and is today virtually non-existent in Czechia (5 persons in 2022)[a]. At Švejk's time it was also rare but somewhat more common, mainly in the German-speaking areas of Bohemia.


In Verlustliste the names appears, albeit ony 11 times (9 persons) where three were reported fallen[b]. All the deaths appeared from the summer of 1915 and could as such not have occured by Przemyśl[1]. Seven of the Bitterlich had Heimatrecht in hejtmanství Šluknov (Schluckenau) on the border of Saxony by Rumburk and thus mostly served with k.k. Landwehrinfanterieregiment Nr. 9 or Infanterieregiment Nr. 42. All those entered in the casualty list were from North Bohemia so it appears that the name's origin was in this area.


It is impossible to guess where Hašek picked up this rare surname from. Anyway, he probably just attached it to some event he had read or heard about (or invented the story).

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
1. The last battles around Przemyśl took place i early June 1915. The city was back in the hands of Central Powers on 3 June.
aPříjmení: 'Bitterlich', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
bVerlustliste ausgegeben am ...K.u.k. Kriegsministerium1914-1918
Locksmith Voborník, Antonínnn flag

Adresář královského hlavního města Prahy,1910

Voborník appears in a story Švejk tells Sappeur Vodička in the hope of pesuading the latter to keep a low profile when carrying out the delicate task of handing over the letter from Oberleutnant Lukáš to Etelka Kakonyi. Voborník lived in Neklanova ulice in Vyšehrad.


Voborník is not a common surname[a] but still frequent enough to underpin the assumption that Hašek may have known someone with this surname. It is most widespread in eastern Bohemia but not uncommon even elsewhere. In Prague were in 1910 several Voborník listed in the address book, and some of them lived in the areas of Nové město and Vinohrady where Hašek spent most of his time before World War I. Still, none of them were locksmiths or lived in Neklanova ulice [b]. Indeed, not a single locksmith lived in this street. One must therefore assume that Hašek's choice of name for this character is pretty random.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.
[II.3] ,Vidíš, Toníčku, kdybyste byli nepřišli dva, tak jsem ti jenom zahrála a nehodila ti na hlavu decimálku.`
aPříjmení: 'Voborník', počet výskytů v celé ČRKdeJsme.cz2017
bAdresář královského hlavního města PrahyVojtěch Kraus1910
Vrchlický, Jaroslavnn flag
*17.2.1853 Louny - †9.9.1912 Domažlice
Wikipedia czdeen Search

Besedy lidu, číslo 8, 1903


Oesterreichische Buchhändler-Correspondenz,6.6.1874


Národní listy,19.12.1911

Vrchlický is quoted by Švejk when he in Királyhida is explaining to Mr. Kakonyi that he himself wrote the compromising letter to his wife Etelka Kakonyi, that it was no fault of Oberleutnant Lukáš. Vrchlický is said to have used the term "in love up to the ears".


Vrchlický (real name Emil Bohuslav Frída) was a Czech poet and translator, a pupil of Victor Hugo. He translated a number of classics to Czech, amongst them: Goethe, Baudelaire, Hugo, Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley, Dante, Petöfi and Ibsen. He is regarded as one of the greatest Czech poets ever and was repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Price.

That Vrchlický ever used the term "in love up to the ears" or similar has not been verified. It is anyway a pretty common expression. Švejk's add-on, Kapitales Frau likely does not originate from Vrchlický as it is in line with the broken German that Hašek assigns to his hero. Vrchlický, as the translator of Goethe, would not have made such a basic error.

Kafka not impressed

On 18 December 1911 Franz Kafka made 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[a].

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.

Quote(s) from the novel
[II.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.“
aTagebücher, Heft 4Franz Kafka18.12.1911
Index Back Forward II. At the front Hovudpersonen

3. Švejk's happenings in Királyhida

© 2008 - 2024 Jomar Hønsi Last updated: 10.6.2024