The most famous Slovak bandit – Juro Janosik

If the Slovaks didn’t have Janosik, they would have had to invent him. The most famous Slovak bandit comes into the world as the youngest of five children. At the age of nineteen, he is recruited into the imperial army. Then he helps the imprisoned bandit Tomas Uhorcik escape. And eventually joins him. Hidden in the shadows of deep forests, they raid rich merchants and townspeople, plunder churches and smuggle horses from Poland.

They set aside a portion of every loot for the poor. Janosik thus becomes a hero without fear or shame, fighting for the rights of the poor. For he and his band chose the life of wanted scoundrels not to get rich quick, but as revenge on the hated mocipans. That’s why they become heroes of the poor who have nothing but hard labor.

Although Juro is an experienced robber, his robbery only lasts less than two years! He gets out of prison for the first time because he bribes a guard. He ransoms himself with fox skins and ostiepok cheese. But when Janosik is arrested for the second time at 25, no one and nothing can help him. Every soldier is eager to get the bandit and earn a great reward. The hero slowly becomes a hunted animal.

The legendary Janos was an inspiration during the Enlightenment. The authors started from the idea that the outlaw was unjustly condemned by the authorities. How did they come up with that? There are records! Jur’s lawyer reportedly insisted on a mistrial for lack of evidence. He was denied.

So in March 1713, one of the most famous highwaymen was tried for a series of robberies and the murder of a parish priest. His punishment was a lengthy and painful death. At the gallows in Liptovský Mikuláš he was hanged from a hook by one of the ribs on his left side! Some sources claim that he was „only“ slowly hung. Even then, he did not reveal the names of his comrades.


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