Václav Babinský

Born on August 20th, 1796 in Litoměřice – died on August 1st, 1879 in Řepy u Prahy

Babinský used to be an ordinary criminal and nobody would notice him even now. He was on trial for six crimes which are still thought to be criminal. Some extenuating circumstances are hard to find.

The Babinský of the legend is a product of writers of late romantic period. At that time, "Babinský-pensioner" was already working as a gardener in a convent...

In the 1830s, Babinský leads a small gang of robbers to hold up travellers. Apolena Hoffmanová, his mistress, is a member of his gang too. Babinský is arrested on January 19th, 1832. When Babinský and Hoffmanová being inspected in Kuří Vody, the local reeve finds out that Babinský uses a false passport to prove his identity. What is more, Hoffmanová loses two shotted pistols at the same time. When being arrested, Babinský bites the reeve and hurts two catchpoles. Hoffmanová manages to escape.

Babinský is taken to Prague, but he escapes after a four-month custody. On August 4th 1833, Babinský commits his worst crime. In the forest, near Horní Kamenice, he murders a weaver. To avoid the criminal prosecution, Babinský escapes to Lodž, Poland. In autumn 1835, he is arrested again when visiting Pokratice u Litoměřic, his place of residence.

Babinský was accused of 12 crimes. Because of lack of evidence, he is acquited of six crimes. On December 1st, 1840 - at the age of 44 - Babinský is sentenced to 20 years of penal servitude for the following "bold" behaviour:

Fotografie Václava Babinského

Apolena Hoffmanová is sentenced to 12 years in a heavy jail. She dies of blood vomitting fifteen days after the trial. She is 41.

On June 10th, 1841, Babinský is taken to Brno State Prison - Špilberk. His name is written under Nr. 1042 in the prison conscription list. When being in Špilberk, Babinský seems to become submissive. He has his beads on him all the time and prays at every turn. He acquires the confidence of the jail chaplain and the governing body. Later, Babinský becomes a male nurse. Being the male nurse, he listens to lots of stories describing the lives of his ill co-prisoners.

The burial-place - Václav Babinský

On May 29th, 1855, the Brno State Prison - Špilberk becomes an army property and thus Babinský is taken to Kartouzy Prison (known as Valdice nowadays). He si released in 1861. The sixty-five-year old prayful man lives under one roof with nuns in the convent near Řepy. One part of the convent is used as a women prison and Babinský works as a gardener there until his death. He is buried in the prison cemetery in Řepy. The cemetery does not exist any longer.

Václav Babinský goes by train to Prague pubs and everybody who clear his bill there is told attractive stories on "his former criminal life". Having spent 20 years in prison, he has a pretty good source of such stories...

The very first part issue describing his "valiant stories" named "Babinský, the Bandit Leader in Bohemia" was to the extent of 110 pages and was published in Hradec Králové in 1862 - one year after Babinský having been released from Kartouzy Prison... It is worth mentioning that Babinský is called Müller in the stories. That name correspods to the name of his hearing examiner...

© Miloslav Jedlička, D. C. L.
Translated by inspector WO Pavel Vršovský, M. A.