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. In January 2021 there were still around twenty entries to be added.

The quotes in Czech are copied from the on-line version of The Good Soldier Švejk: provided by Jaroslav Šerák and contain links to the relevant chapter. The toolbar has links for direct access to Wikipedia, Google maps, Google search, svejkmuseum.cz and the novel on-line.

The names are coloured according to their role in the novel, illustrated by the following examples:

  • Dr. Grünstein 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.

Titles and ranks have until 2020 largely been missing on this web page. Senior Lieutenant Lukáš has, for instance, only been known as Lukáš. This weakness is now (24 Desember 2020) slowly being addressed. Military ranks and other titles related to Austrian officialdom will appear in German, and in line with the terms used at the time. This means that Captain Ságner is still referred to as Hauptmann although the term is now obsolete, having been replaced by Kapitän. Civilian titles denoting profession etc. are in general translated into English.

>> 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 I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

6. Švejk at home again, having broken through the vicious circle

The Devilnn flag
Wikipedia czdeennnno Search

© Josef Lada

The Devil is mentioned 42 times in The Good Soldier Švejk.

The Devil name is first invoked when the interrogator at c.k. policejní ředitelství gets uptight about Švejks reassurance that his exclamation: "Long live the Emperor, we'll win this war!" was not meant ironically. His name occurs repeatedly, mostly in the form of Czech and German swear words.


The Devil is a mythological figure in numerous religions; symbolising evil. Alternative names are Satan, Lucifer, Mephistopheles and Beelzebub. In monotheist religions, the Devil is generally considered the opposite of God. He presides in Hell as opposed to God who rules in Heaven. The Devil has a bad name, he is invoked whenever one seeks to convey a negative association, typically uttered through so-called swearwords. As a symbolical expression, the word devil through it's many variations, may be one of the most used ever.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.6] Vem vás čert, Švejku,“ řekla nakonec úřední brada, „jestli se sem ještě jednou dostanete,tak se vás vůbec nebudu na nic ptát a poputujete přímo k vojenskému soudu na Hradčany. Rozuměl jste?
[I.14.6] Zatímco Švejk koupal Maxa, plukovník, bývalý jeho majitel, strašně doma láteřil a vyhrožoval, že postaví toho, kdo mu psa ukradl, před válečný soud, že ho dá zastřelit, pověsit, zavřít na dvacet let a rozsekat. „Der Teufel soll den Kerl buserieren,“ ozývalo se v bytě plukovníka, až se třásla okna, „mit solchem Meuchelmördern werde ich bald fertig.“

Also written:Čert cz Der Teufel de

Čimperann flag
Search Švejkova cesta Švejkův slovník

"Encyklopedie pro milovníky Švejka". Milan Hodík

Čimpera owned a piece of land in Straškov no.5 that he advertised for sale in a newspaper found at U kalicha. Švejk read the advert out loud to demonstrate his total lack of interest in the attention of detective Bretschneider who again sought to trap him.


A Václav Čimpera actually lived in Straškov no. 5 in 1910 . This is information from Encyklopedie pro milovníky Švejka, II., Hodík a Landa, 1999. The document is from 22 February 1910. It is not known why (or whether) Čimpera later sold the property.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.6] Švejk sňal s věšáku nějaké noviny a prohlížeje si zadní stranu inserátů, ozval se: „Tak vida, tenhle Čimpera v Straškově č. 5, p. Račiněves, prodá hospodářství s třinácti korci vlastních polí, škola a dráha na místě.“ Bretschneider nervosně zabubnoval prsty a obraceje se k Švejkovi řekl: „To se divím, proč vás to hospodářství zajímá, pane Švejku.“

Sources: Milan Hodík, Jaroslav Šerák

Miss Mařenann flag

Mařena was a woman who the porter at the nigh café Mimosa had brought home. This happened when Švejk got back from his time in custody and discovered that Mrs. Müllerová had rented his room out, and that in his bed slept the night porter and the mentioned woman. Mařenay contributed to the novel with a single utterance when she dressed down Švejk with the select words: "you son of an Archbishop!"

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.6] „Já jsem chtěl spát do osmi večer,“ zaraženě ozval se portýr, navlékaje kalhoty, „já platím denně z postele dvě koruny té paní a můžu si sem vodit slečny z kavárny. Mařeno, vstávej!“
Detective Kalousnn flag
Search Švejkův slovník

Kalous was police agent who, like detective Bretschneider, bought dogs from Švejk in order to lure something compromising out of him. He got nowhere and soon disappeared from the plot.


The detective may have been inspired by Josef Kalous, a policeman in Nusle who is listed in the address book of 1910.

On 13 March 1913 Karikatury printed a story by Jaroslav Hašek called The detective Kalous. It was signed Richard Mayer, one of the many pseudonyms the author used.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.6] Pak tam šel koupit psa detektiv Kalous a vrátil se s vyjevenou potvorou, připomínající hyenu skvrnitou, s hřívou škotského ovčáka, a v položkách tajného fondu přibyla nová: D...90 K.
Index Back Forward I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

6. Švejk at home again, having broken through the vicious circle

© 2008 - 2023 Jomar Hønsi Last updated: 30.11.2023