310 years ago Jánošík, the Slovak Robin Hood, was hanged

Photo: Jirka23/ CC BY-SA 3.0

310 years ago, in the middle of March 1713, the Carpathian bandit Juraj Jánošík was hanged to death in the Slovak town of Liptovský Mikuláš. In Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic, his legend continues to this day becoming the hero in films, TV series, and literary works.

“Accused, during the last three years encouraged by the devilish spirit, without fear or trepidation, disregarding divine and secular law, its prohibitions and punishments, he became the leader of a band of robbers. In the mountains and forests, on the king’s roads and on the water, he plundered good and steadfast people, detained merchants, and allowed himself to beat, rob, injure and kill them,” the documents from Jánošík’s trial state.

A short history of Jánošík

According to historians, Jánošík participated in an anti-Habsburg uprising led by Hungarian magnate František II Rakoczy in 1703. After the Rákóczi uprising, he served at the castle in Bytcza. There he met the imprisoned highland robber Tomáš Uhorčík. In October 1710. Jánošík helped him escape from prison, and a month later he deserted, or was ransomed by his father, from the army and joined Uhorčík’s band of robbers. In 1711, after Uhorchik stepped down as head of the bandits, Jánošík became the band’s Harnas [leader].

“On St. Michael’s Day, September 29, 1711, he took the appropriate oath and took over Uhorchik’s band. This much we know from historical sources. Jánošík never operated on Polish territory… he carried out his robbery deeds in the Trenčín and Liptov areas,” in an interview posted on the Jagiellonian University website Prof. Stanislaw Sroka said.

The brigands, led by Jánošík robbed mostly merchants, but their victims also included vicars, postal messengers, and other wealthier people. Janosik was reportedly supported by various local notables. In exchange for sharing the loot, they would get him out of trouble.

After Jánošík was captured for the first time and imprisoned in a dungeon, the deputy governor of Liptov county provided him with an alibi, thus leading to his release.

Capture and death Juraj Jánošík

In 1713 Jánošík was captured in the house of Tomáš Uhorčík. On the second day of his trial, he was subjected to torture: burning his skin, sticking burning needles under his fingernails, crushing his members, and other forms of torture.

He was eventually sentenced to death by hanging from a hook by his left rib. The execution was carried out on March 17 or 18, 1713 in public, at the market square in Liptovský Mikuláš.

Jánošík remained seen as a positive figure bestowing gifts in Slovak and Czech fiction, as well as Polish literature. Despite the passage of more than 300 years since his death, the fame of the Slovak Robin Hood is still alive.