Juraj Jánošík

Juraj Jánošík

Wood engraving by Władysław Skoczylas, which reads, "The name of Janosik will never perish".
Born January 1688
Terchová, Žilina District, Žilina Region, Slovakia, Kingdom of Hungary
Died March 17, 1713
Svätý Mikuláš, Liptov Region, Slovakia, Kingdom of Hungary
Nationality Hungarian (ethnic Slovak)
Other names Juro Jánošík, Jurko Jánošík, Jerzy Janosik, Jánosik György
Occupation soldier, prison guard, highwayman
Known for Slovak folk hero

Juraj Jánošík (first name also Juro or Jurko, Slovak pronunciation: [ˈjuraj ˈjaːnɔʃiːk]; Polish: Jerzy Janosik Polish pronunciation: [ˈjɛʐɨ jaˈnɔɕik], Hungarian: Jánosik György; baptised January 25, 1688, died March 17, 1713) was a famous Slovak highwayman. Jánošík has been the main character of many Slovak and Polish legends, novels, poems and films. He is a semi-legendary character in East-Central Europe.

According to the legend, he robbed nobles and gave the loot to the poor, a deed often attributed to the famous Robin Hood. The legend was also known in neighbouring Silesia, the Margraviate of Moravia and later spread to the Kingdom of Bohemia. The actual robber had little to do with the modern legend, whose content partly reflects the ubiquitous folk myths of a hero taking from the rich and giving to the poor. However, the legend was also shaped in important ways by the activists and writers in the 19th century when Jánošík became the key highwayman character in stories that spread in the north counties of the Kingdom of Hungary (much in present Slovakia) and among the local Gorals and Polish tourists in the Podhale region north of the Tatras (Tatra). The image of Jánošík as a symbol of resistance to oppression was reinforced when poems about him became part of the Slovak and Czech middle and high school literature curriculum, and then again with the numerous films that propagated his modern legend in the 20th century. During the anti-Nazi Slovak National Uprising, one of the partisan groups bore his name.


The page No. 39 of the protocol from the trial with Juraj Jánošík. It is archived under the title Fassio Janosikiana, anno 1713 die 16 mensis Martii. Jánošík is called here "agili Georgius Janošík Tyarchoviensis latronum et praedorum antesignatus" - cautious (or agile) Juro Jánošík from the Ťarchová, the chief of the thieves and outlaws.[1]

Jánošík was born shortly before his baptism on January 25, 1688. His parents were Martin Jánošík and Anna Čišníková from Terchová. His godparents were Jakub Merjad and Barbara Krištofíková. His first name, ("George" in English) has been a very common name all over Europe and his last name is still common around his birthplace.

He grew up in the village of Terchová (Terhely) in the Habsburg monarchy's Kingdom of Hungary area (present-day Žilina District in northwestern Slovakia). He fought with the Kuruc insurgents when he was fifteen. After the lost Battle of Trenčín, Jánošík was recruited by the Habsburg army.[2] In autumn 1710, as a young prison guard in Bytča (Nagybiccse), he helped the imprisoned Tomáš Uhorčík escape.[3] They formed a highwayman group and Jánošík became its leader at the age of 23, after Uhorčík left to settle in Klenovec.[4] The group was active mostly in northwestern Kingdom of Hungary (today's Slovakia), around the Váh (Vág) river between Važec (Vázsec) and Východná (Vichodna),[5] but the territory of their activity extended also to other parts of today's Slovakia, as well as to Poland and Moravia.[2] Most of their victims were rich merchants. Under Jánošík's leadership, the group was exceptionally chivalrous: They did not kill any of the robbed victims and even helped an accidentally injured priest.[5] They are also said to share their loot with the poor and this part of the legend may be based on the facts too.[5]

Jánošík was captured in autumn 1712 and detained at the Mansion of Hrachov, but was released soon afterwards.[6] He was captured again in spring of 1713, in the Uhorčík's residence in Klenovec (Klenóc).[1][7] Uhorčík lived there under the false name Martin Mravec at that time. According to a widespread legend, he was caught in a pub run by Tomáš Uhorčík, after slipping on spilled peas, thrown in his way by a treacherous old lady. Jánošík was imprisoned and tried in Liptovský Svätý Mikuláš (Liptószentmiklós, present Liptovský Mikuláš).

His trial took place on March 16 and March 17, 1713 when he was sentenced to death. The date of his execution was not recorded, but it was customary to carry it out as soon as the trial was over. The manner of his execution, not in public awareness until the early 19th century, became part of his modern legend. A hook was pierced through his left side and he was left dangling on the gallows to die. This brutal way of execution was reserved for leaders of robber bands.[5] However, sources diverge about how he was executed, and it is also possible that Jánošík was hanged.[1] A legend says that he refused the grace offered in exchange for enlisting soldiers of his abilities with the words: "If you have baked me so you should also eat me!" and jumped on the hook.[8]

Other members of Jánošík's group

Jánošík in film

Jánošík in literature

In music

See also



See also: Jánošík
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