The Good Soldier Švejk

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

The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk is a novel with an unusually rich array of characters. In addition to the many who directly form part of the plot, a large number of fictive and real people (and animals) are mentioned; either through Švejk's anecdotes, the narrative or indirectly through words and expressions.

This web page contains short write-ups on the persons the novel refers to; from Napoléon in the introduction to captain Ságner in the last few lines of the unfinished Book Four. The list is sorted in to the order of which the names first appear. The chapter headlines are from Zenny K. Sadlon's recent translation and will in most cases differ from Cecil Parrott's version from 1973. In January 2014 there were still around twenty entries to be added.

  • The quotes in Czech are copied from the on-line version of the novel provided by Jaroslav Šerák and contain links to the relevant chapter
  • The tool-bar has links for direct access to Wikipedia, Google search and Švejk on-line

The names are colored according to their role in the novel, illustrated by the following examples: Doctor Grünstein who is directly involved in the plot, Heinrich Heine as a historical person, and Ferdinand Kokoška as an invented person. Note that a number of seemingly fictive characters are modelled after very real living persons. See for instance Lukáš and Wenzl.

>> The Good Soldier Švejk index of people mentioned in the novel (584) Show all
>> I. In the rear
>> II. At the front
>> III. The famous thrashing
Index Back Forward I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

9. Švejk in the garrison prison

Klíma, Jaroslavnn flag
*1879 Kostelec nad Černými lesy - †5.5 1927 Menton
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Moravská orlice, 8.5.1927


Rovnost, 13.7.1923


Information from 1906

Klíma is mentioned by the author when he writes about policemen in the Austrian power structure who kept their positions in the new Czechoslovakia.


Klíma was a lawyer and high commisioner in K.u.k. Staatspolizei which career was very similar to that of Slavíček. According to Václav Menger he was the policeman who interrogated Hašek after the famous incident at U Valšů in November 1914, where Hašek pretended to be a trader from Russia.

Klíma takes a more extensive role in Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetí than in the novel; now he leads the interrogation of Švejk at Policejní ředitelství. In the story Kolik kdo má kolem krku he also features. See Slavíček.

In Czechoslovakia he continued to serve in the police but was like his colleague "exiled" to Slovakia. In 1927 he fell ill with aftereffects of the Spanish flu, was sent abroad for recuperation but died soon after, at the age of 48. His was succeeded as Bratislava police chief by Slavíček!


Quote from the novel
[1.9] Státní policie dodávala také na garnison materiál, pánové Klíma, Slavíček & Comp. Vojenská censura dopravovala sem autory korespondence mezi frontou a těmi, které doma zanechali v zoufalství. Sem vodili četníci i staré výměnkáře, kteří posílali psaní na frontu, a vojenský soud házel jim na krk za jich slova útěchy a líčení bídy domácí po dvanácti letech.
Slavíček, Karelnn flag
*23.1 1874 Vodňany - †21.10 1929 Bratislava
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Národni Politika, 22.10.1929

Slavíček is mentioned when the author informs that Klíma and Slavíček were still working for the state police in the new Czechoslovak Republic.


Slavíček was a lawyer and high commissioner in K.u.k. Staatspolizei where he was employed from 1900 until 1918. He held a degree in law from Universita Karlova and joined the police when he was 26. His career progressed rapidly within the security police where he also came across Jaroslav Hašek, for instance after the famous episode at U Valšů on 24 November 1914.

Slavíček was investigated by the new Czechoslovak authorities in 1919, but was allowed to continue in the police, albeit in "exile" in Bratislava. Here he played a major part in organising and "demagyarizing" the police in Slovakia. From 1923 he was stationed in Košice, from 1927 he was back in Bratislava. Here he suddenly died from a stroke two years later, at the age of 56.

Dr. Slavíček is given a more prominent place in Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetí where he interrogates Švejk in person. The author also dishes out a thinly veiled death threat: he knows that Slavíček and Klíma live near Riegrové sady and that in this park there are trees with branches strong enough to carry their weight.

Changed spelling

In the story Kolik kdo má kolem krku Slavíček and Klíma arrested Kramář and Klofáč and sent them on to Vienna. The author additionally relates from his own encounter with them during a house search at the end of 1914. The same death threat is included; the stories were written during the same period. When this story appeared in Sebrane spisy in 1925 Slavíček had been renamed Klabíček and Klima became Slíva. But in the original printed in Čechoslovan (19 February 1917) the author used their real names! Obviously publisher Adolf Synek or editor Antonín Dolenský didn't want to offend the two policemen who were still alive and held important positions in the police in Slovakia. Perhaps they feared a law-suit? In Spisy Jaroslava Haška from 1973 the rewritten names are still not corrected, so the editors had obviously not bothered to read Čechoslovan too closely. A certain commissioner Knotek has also been renamed, to Snopek.

Švejk (1917): Bude-li to někoho zajímat, poznamenávám, že Klíma i Slavíček bydlí naproti Riegrovým sadům a že mají vyhlídku na dva jasany v parku. Jsou to zdravé stromy se silným větvemi. Komisař Klíma má kolem krku 40 cm, komisař Slavíček 42 cm.


Quote from the novel
[1.9] Státní policie dodávala také na garnison materiál, pánové Klíma, Slavíček & Comp. Vojenská censura dopravovala sem autory korespondence mezi frontou a těmi, které doma zanechali v zoufalství. Sem vodili četníci i staré výměnkáře, kteří posílali psaní na frontu, a vojenský soud házel jim na krk za jich slova útěchy a líčení bídy domácí po dvanácti letech.
Stabsprofus Slavíknn flag
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Slavík was a brutal "stabsprofus" (staff guard) at the garrison jail at Hradčany. He was the first who received Švejk in the prison and was also present at the Holy Mess in the jail chapel, served by Katz for the prisoners. Slavík was imprisoned for theft after the war.


Slavík is described as a real person, but it has not been possible to determine who the author had in mind. In 1906 there were two "stabsprofus" at the prison: Jan Frkal and Josef Bureš. Otherwise Slavík is a very common surname, and it has not been possible to establish any obvious candidate amongst the many entries in the address books from 1907, 1910 and 1924.

Quote from the novel
[1.9] Je úplně přirozené, že štábní profous Slavík, když přejímal Švejka, vrhl na něho pohled plný němé výčitky:„I ty máš porouchanou pověst, že jsi se dostal až sem mezi nás? My ti, chlapečku, pobyt zde osladíme, jako všem, kteří upadli v naše ruce, a ty naše ruce nejsou nějaké dámské ručky.“ Aby pak dodal váhy svému pohledu, přiložil svou svalnatou, tlustou pěst Švejkovi pod nos a řekl: „Čichni si, lumpe!“ Švejk si čichl a poznamenal: „S tou bych nechtěl dostat do nosu, to voní hřbitovem.“
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Řepa was a sergeant at the garrison jail (on one instance a corporal), a torturer with many lives on his conscience. His specialty was breaking the ribs of prisoners by jumping on them. He was also called "the executioner". Řepa returned to his profession as bricklayer after the war.


It has not been possible to pin-point any real life individual that might have inspired the author's creation of this character.

Quote from the novel
[1.9] A v garnisoně trojice: štábní profous Slavík, hejtman Linhart a šikovatel Řepa, přezdívaný též „kat“, vykonávali již svou úlohu. Kolik jich umlátili v samovazbě!
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Linhart was a captain at the garrison prison, but little involved in the plot apart from a less than cordial phone conversation with prosecutor Bernis about Švejk's documents.


This is another character without an identifyable real life model. One Karel Linhart served in the police in Smíchov (Jaroslav Hašek lived here in 1910-11) but the connection to the literary figure is difficult to established although it is likely that Jaroslav Hašek knew or knew about him. Linhart was a very common name in Prague and the author may have been aware of several of them.

Quote from the novel
[1.9] A v garnisoně trojice: štábní profous Slavík, hejtman Linhart a šikovatel Řepa, přezdívaný též „kat“, vykonávali již svou úlohu. Kolik jich umlátili v samovazbě!
Feldkurat Katz, Ottonn flag
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Katz is a field chaplain in Prague and no doubt one of the most famous characters in the novel. He was of Jewish origin but had converted to the Roman Catholic church to promote his career. Katz was a notorious drunkard and of dubious moral substance, but a colourful and intelligent person who the author clearly has some sympathy for.

Katz is the only one of Švejk's superiors who never shouts or swear at him. He plays a pivotal role in this and the next four chapters. He saved Švejk from the garrison prison by taking him on as an officer's servant and Švejk had a good time when working for Katz. Together they served field masses, provided the last rites, took part on the same side in a religious debate, and consumed large amounts of whatever drinkable they could get their hands on. This blissful existence ended miserably in [I.14] where Katz gambled away his servant to obrjlajtnant Lukáš in a game of cards.

The author provides a number of biographical details about his favourite field chaplain. Katz studied at a commercial academy, inherited his father's trading company and drove it to bankruptcy within a year. After the collapse of the firm he embarked on a military career. He then converted to the Roman Catholic church, was ordained as a priest, which in turn paved the way for his well known occupation as a professional army cleric. He lived in Královská třída but is not known what unit he served with. More details on Katz is mentioned by the author in the epilogue to book one. Here it is revealed that he had left the church after the war and had become a manager at some paint factory in North Bohemia. He didn't like the way Jaroslav Hašek described him in the novel, wrote the author an angry letter, but the two still met to put things straight. They were reconciled and it turned out that his drinking habits hadn't changed one bit.


Several people with the name Otto Katz lived in Prague during the author's life time and are possible inspirations for Otto Katz in his early role as a merchant. These are discussed in detail under the item Katz a spol..

Attempts to find an inspiration for Otto Katz in the role of army chaplain has proved fruitless. The study by Augustín Knesl (1983) is useful in the search for models for the merchant Katz, but gives no clues to what may have inspired the field chaplain Katz.

In the same speculative strain is Jan Berwid-Buquoy's theory (2011). He claims that the model was a Lev Mojžíš a cleric from Břevnov. His servant was allegedly Zdeněk Matěj Kuděj, one of Jaroslav Hašek's closest friends. There is no back-up proof of this theory, but a lot that contradicts it. Kuděj doesn't mention Mojžíš or Břevnov with a word in his unpublished memoirs. It is also nearly ruled out is that Lev Mojžíš was ever a merchant or factory owner. Considering his age he is also unlikely to have been drafted as a field chaplain, and "Schematismus" from 1914 can confirm that he didn't serve in K.u.k. Heer, not even as a reserve. The same source however lists another reserve field chaplain with a Jewish sounding surname: Jan Mojžíš. This one actually served in Budějovice and Jaroslav Hašek is likely to have been aware of him so he could in theory have leant a trait or two to Katz.

Leo Josef Mojžíš was born in Česká Skalice on 1 April 1864, served at Břevnovský klášter from 1888 until 1920, and at the parish at Bílá Hora from 1924 to 1948. Newspaper clips during the war always refers to him as a priest from Břevnov, never as a military chaplain. Apart from the name there is no indication that he was of Jewish origin (he survived the Nazi occupation).

An unclear picture

As opposed to his colleagues Lacina and to a lesser extent Ibl, field chaplain Katz has no obvious real life model. Katz as a Jewish merchant does have a few plausible models, Katz as an army cleric no-one that springs to mind. In 1914 there was according to "Schematismus" not a single army cleric called Katz in K.u.k. Heer. Some of the field chaplain's less admirable traits may even hail from the author himself: cynicism, drunkenness and a tendency to shirk financial obligations. It is obvious that field chaplain Katz is Jaroslav Hašek's main instrument in his mocking of the Catholic church, and that inspiration has been drawn from many sources (including the author's vivid imagination) to create this grotesque but interesting figure.


Source: Jan Berwid-Buquoy, Augustín Knesl, Václav Petera

Quote from the novel
[1.9] Potom ještě to kázání, ta zábava a legrace. Polní kurát Otto Katz byl přece jen roztomilý člověk. Jeho kázání byla neobyčejně poutavá, legračná, osvěžující tu nudu garnisonu. Uměl tak krásně žvanit o neskonalé milosti boží, sílit zpustlé vězně a muže zneuctěné. Uměl tak krásně vynadat od kazatelny i od oltáře. Uměl tak báječně řvát u oltáře své: „Ite, missa est“, celé bohoslužby provést originelním způsobem a přeházet celý pořádek mše svaté, vymyslit, si, když už byl hodně opilý, úplně nové modlitby a novou mši svatou, svůj ritus, něco, co zde ještě nebylo.
Arcibiskup Kohn, Theodornn flag
*22.3.1845 Březnice - †3.12.1915 Ehrenhausen
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Das interessante Blatt, 16.2.1915


Národní Politika, 9.11.1892


Wiener Zeitung, 4.12.1915

Kohn is given as an example of someone who was a Jew like Katz, but that this in itself was not very important. The author also adds that Kohn even was a friend of Machar. Moreover he informs that Katz had an even more colourful past than the famous archbishop.


Kohn was professor of church law and theology, and between 1892 and 1904 archbishop of Olomouc. He was of Jewish descent but his grandfather had converted to Catholicism. The family were Czech-speaking and of humble origins but thanks to grants the gifted and diligent young man got a good education and we was consecrated as a priest in 1871. After serving in various parishes, holding positions at the university of Olomouc and at the city's archdiocese, he was finally elected archbishop in 1892. He was the first non-noble holding the seat for 300 years, and his election was therefore popular amongst the population, particularly the Czechs.

Kohn gradually fell out with parts of the Catholic church hierarchy, he was for instance not well thought of in Vienna due to his common and Jewish background. Kohn notes in his autobiography that Eduard Taaffe, the Minister-President in Cisleithanien commented about his election as archbishop: Und hat er sich schon getauft lassen? (and has he already had himself baptised?)

Kohn was a capable administrator and the economy of the archdiocese improved, but soon revealed himself as headstrong and even despotic, and often took disciplinary measures against those he thought undermined him. He was increasingly criticised, also in the press, and after the so-called Rectus affair in 1903 he was called to Roma for a consultation with the Pope. The case even appeared in Reichsrat, see Parlament. In this particular controversy Kohn had sued based on a critical anonymous letter to a newspaper Rectus, but it soon became obvious that he had accused the wrong person. The Pope eventually asked Kohn to give up his position and in 1904 Kohn resigned and moved to the castle Ehrenhausen in Styria. Here he spent the rest of his life and dedicated his time to scientific studies. In his will the left parts of his fortune to the Czech university in Brno.

Support from J. S. Machar

It was at the height of this affair that he received support from an unexpected direction - from the strongly anti-clerical writer Machar. On 5 May 1903 who wrote a long article that was printed in Die Zeit, a newspaper in Vienna that already had written about Kohn. In 1909 the two were involved in another controversy: Kohn received a visit from the above mentioned Machar in Ehrenhausen and the news caused a stir despite attempts by the former archbishop to be discrete about the visit.


Source: Jitka Jonová

Quote from the novel
[1.9] Polní kurát Otto Katz, nejdokonalejší vojenský kněz, byl žid. To ostatně není nic divného. Arcibiskup Kohn byl také žid a ještě dokonce Macharův kamarád. Polní kurát Otto Katz měl ještě pestřejší minulost než slavný arcibiskup Kohn.
Machar, Josef Svatopluknn flag
*29.2.1864 Kolín - †17.3.1942 Praha
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Machar is mentioned by Jaroslav Hašek as a friend of archbishop Kohn.


Machar was a Czech poet and satirist. He was like Hašek strongly anti-Austrian, anti-clerical and a master in the use of colloquial Czech. He was for a while one of the favourites of Masaryk, member of his Realist Party and contributed to the party newspaper Čas. After the war he fell out with the president and oriented himself towards the political far right.

The friendship with Kohn that the author refers to is probably based on events in 1903 at the height of so-called Rectus affair when controversy around Kohn reached a critical point. Machar defended the archbishop in a newspaper article in Die Zeit, printed on 5 May. He also visited the now deposed Kohn in Ehrenhausen in 1909. Both these events were widely reported in the press and Jaroslav Hašek would surely have been well informed about the case.


Source: Jitka Jonová

Quote from the novel
[1.9] Polní kurát Otto Katz, nejdokonalejší vojenský kněz, byl žid. To ostatně není nic divného. Arcibiskup Kohn byl také žid a ještě dokonce Macharův kamarád. Polní kurát Otto Katz měl ještě pestřejší minulost než slavný arcibiskup Kohn.
Páter Schachleiter, Albannn flag
*20.1.1861 Mainz - †20.6.1937 Feilnbach
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© Langhans Praha


Národní politika, 7.11.1908


Národní listy, 5.12.1918


Národní listy, 21.6.1937

Schachleiter was the priest who baptised Katz after the latter's conversion from Judaism. In the novel referred to as páter Albán, he ceremoniously dipped Katz in the baptismal font in Emauzský klášter.


Schachleiter (born Johann Jakob) was a German Benedictine monk and from 1908 abbot at Emauzský klášter. In 1886 he was ordained as a priest, and he was associated with the monastery in various roles from 1892 to 1918. He was very involved in church music, played the organ himself and was also an expert on the instrument. He was also involved in politics, and was for instance one of the leaders of the German nationalistic Los-von-Rom-Bewegung that worked for closer links with Germany both religiously and politically.

Schachleiter was an affluent man - in 1908 he bought a sumptuous car from Laurin a Klement, the firm that was later to become Škoda. In August 1914 he converted the work-shop of the monastery into a hospital that could receive up to 50 patients. Due to his German nationalism Pater Alban was unpopular amongst the Czech part of the population and despite his many years in Prague he never bothered to learn Czech. The population register shows that his home address was the very monastery (1902) but in 1915 he was not registered as a resident of Prague any more.

The new state

In the tense situation after the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the creation Czechoslovakia 28 October 1918, Schachleiter was from part of the Czech press subjected to accusations, one of them being espionage. Already on 31 October a delegation named by the newly created National Committee appeared to investigate the claims but let itself be convinced that they were without substance. The Emaus monastery still became a victim of the fervent moods that that prevailed these days. It was surrounded by crowds, occupied and guarded by Sokol and the so-called Academic League (students).

To refute the claims he had a proclamation printed (dated 5 November) in Národní politika, Prager Tagblatt and Bohemia. This made scant impressions and the abbot was confined to his house and in the hostile environment he chose to leave the country as the National Committee couldn't guarantee his safety. When leaving on 9 December he was recognised in Benešov and arrested. On intervention from higher authorities he was released and could continue to Linz where he arrived on 10 December 1918. It turned out that the abbot had left the country for good and in 1920 he resigned his position at the monastery. All the German monks likewise left the Emaus monastery and emigrated.

He was never taken to court and there is no indication that any proofs were ever put on the table. Schachleiter himself claimed that members of the atheist organisation Volná myšlenka were behind the smear campaign, and also emphasised the that the Czechoslovak authorities were not directly involved in the harassment of him and Emauzský klášter.

Nazi association

Schachleiter settled in Bavaria and if he had been a nationalist in Prague, he soon took it a bit further. For posterity he has become notorious due to his open co-operation with the Nazis and Adolf Hitler personally, a connection that had been established as early as 1923. On several pictures he is seen shaking hands with Der Führer. His political involvement led him into direct conflict with the Catholic church and he was briefly suspended. On his 74th birthday Schachleiter received personal greetings from Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess and several others from the NSDAP hierarchy and in 1937 he was honoured with a state funeral.


Quote from the novel
[1.9] Křtili ho slavnostně v Emauzích. Sám páter Albán ho na máčel do křtitelnice. Byla to nádherná podívaná, byl u toho jeden nábožný major od pluku, kde Otto Katz sloužil, jedna stará panna z ústavu šlechtičen na Hradčanech a nějaký otlemený zástupce konsistoře, který mu dělal kmotra.

Also written:Páter Albán Hašek

Francis de Salesnn flag
*21.8.1567 Chateau de Sales - †28.12.1622 Lyon
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Wiener allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, 11.10.1816

Francis de Sales had his portrait displayed on the wall of the sacristy of the garrison chapel at Hradčany. He even witnesses Švejk's first conversation with field chaplain Katz. See also Vězeňské kaple.


Francis de Sales was a French bishop and theologian, later to be canonised. He was a distinguished counter-reformist, notable for his stand against Calvinism. He is the patron saint of the deaf, writers and journalists.


Quote from the novel
[1.9] Seskočil se stolu a cukaje Švejkovi za rameno křičel pod velkým, zasmušilým obrazem Františka Sáleského: „Přiznej se, lumpe, žes brečel jen tak kvůli legraci?!“ A František Sáleský díval se tázavě z obrazu na Švejka.

Also written:František Saleský cz Franz von Sales de Frans av Sales no

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Bernis was judge advocate at the military court at Hradčany. He was a libertine who had his focus anywhere but in court. He mislaid most court documents and often had to invent accusations to get the trials done.

Quote from the novel
[1.9] Vyšetřující auditor Bernis byl muž společnosti, půvabný tanečník a mravní zpustlík, který se zde strašně nudil a psal německé verše do památníků, aby měl pohotově vždy nějakou zásobu. Byl nejdůležitější složkou celého aparátu vojenského soudu, poněvadž měl tak hrozné množství restů a spletených akt, že uváděl v respekt celý vojenský soud na Hradčanech. Ztrácel obžalovací materiál a byl nucen vymýšlet si nový.
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Jaroslav Hašek, 1921. © LA-PNP.


Adolf Synek, 1930


Vydavatelstvo ROH, 1955

Říha was also employed at the garrison prison. He is mentioned briefly in an anecdote that one of the prisoners in cell 16 relates (from his stay in cell number 12).


Also in this case there is no obvious link to any living person although people with the surname Říha were quite a few in Prague at the time. He was probably not an active soldier, so looking for him in pre-war address books yields no results. In 1915 several with the surname Říha served in IR91, so the name may have been borrowed from one of these.

In post WW2 editions of the novel Říha is simply replaced by Řepa in his role. The editors must have thought that the author really meant the latter and corrected the "error" (which it probably was). More than one hundred minor changes were done to the text in the early nineteen-fifties: removing "russisisms", adapting to modern Czech and Hungarian orthography, and on at least one occasion spelling mistakes in German were corrected.

The revision of the novel means that Říha also has disappeared from both post-war English translations, as well as most other modern translations, and even translations that were done in the inter-war years but have been revised after. In the most recent German translation (2014) Říha has resurfaced.


Quote from the novel
[1.9] Tak tam hned přilítli, zavolali štábního profousa a kaprála Říhu. My všichni jeden jako druhý říkáme, že se zbláznil, že včera i dlouho do noci žral a že to všechno sežral.
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Koudela was an inmate at garrsion prison who fell victim to Bernis' disorderliness. The latter had swapped his acts with those of Švejk. Documents found after the war indicated that this Koudela was executed.

Quote from the novel
[1.9] Spisy byly zastrčeny do spisů týkajících se jakéhosi Josefa Koudely. Na obálce byl křížek a pod ním „Vyřízeno“ a datum.)
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Maixner was an infantryman who was accused at the same time as Švejk. This is revealed in a telegram Bernis receives from Policejní ředitelství just when Švejk was to be in his office for interrogation.

Quote from the novel
[1.9] Po odchodu polního kuráta dal si auditor Bernis předvésti Švejk a nechal ho stát u dveří, poněvadž právě dostal telefonogram od policejního ředitelství, že vyžadovaný materiál k obžalovacímu spisu čís. 7267, týkající se pěšáka Maixnera, byl přijat v kanceláři čís. 1 s podpisem hejtmana Linharta.
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9. Švejk in the garrison prison

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