Slovakia

Juraj Jánošík

was a famous Slovak highwayman. Jánošík has been the main character of many Slovak and Polish legends, novelspoems 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.

Jánošík was born shortly before his baptism on January 25, 1688.  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  in the Habsburg monarchy‘s Kingdom of Hungary area (present-day Žilina District in northwestern Slovakia).

Juraj Jánošík and Tomáš Uhorčík formed a highwayman group and Jánošík became its leader at the age of 23. 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.  Most of their victims were rich merchants. 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] He was captured in spring of 1713. 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.

His trial took place on March 16 and March 17, 1713 when he was sentenced to death. A hook was pierced through his left side and he was left dangling on the gallows to die.  A legend says that he died with these word:  “If you have baked me so you should also eat me!” and jumped on the hook.