1890: Josef Janecek Dies While in Austrian Custody

Josef Janeček, was drafted in 1883 at the age of 21 and served in the 11th Infantry. By 1888, Josef had completed his active term of service and was placed on active furlough. His military records (below) indicate that in 1888 he was arrested for failing to report for required training. On August 27, he was sentenced to 24 hours of jail time.

It appears from his personnel records that Josef never returned to active duty. There is no duty entry in his personnel record after the jail sentence listed on his criminal conduct record. The next entry is dated 13 September, indicating that Josef was in the military hospital located in Sechsaus (a section of Vienna) on September 13 and “buried at Baumgartner cemetery in the same place.”

There are several peculiar aspects to Josef’s death:

  • Soldiers on active furlough were required to report for periodic training. Josef Janeček moved to reserve status in 1886 but was not required to attend training for 2 years. It seems strange that after a 2 year gap, he was suddenly required to attend a second training just 5 months later.
  • There is no entry that Josef Janeček ever returned to duty after his imprisonment or what training he attended.
  • There is no entry that provides a reason or timeline for when Josef Janeček was brought to the hospital, more interesting is the entry indicates he was brought to a hospital, died, and buried all on the same day.
  • Typically military personnel who died at the Sechsaus military hospital were buried in the attached military cemetery. Instead, Josef Janeček was buried in a cemetery in the 15th district on the other side of Vienna, which conflicts with his military record
  • Based on the Catholic Church burial record, Josef Janeček was buried on September 13, 1888, yet there was typically a two day period between someone’s death and their burial – once again not lining up with the account in his military record.

Finally, the cause of death is not listed in his Josef Janeček’s military personnel record; however, the Catholic Church burial records from Reindorf indicate the cause of death as “Gehirnerschütterung.” Translated, Josef Janeček was concussed to death meaning he received one or many significant blows to the head.

The Bohemian conscripts in the Austrian military were often treated rather poorly. Based on the details provided, the timeline those details, the omitted details, and the inaccuracies of even where he was buried – it is an easy to come to the conclusion that Josef Janeček was likely beaten to death by his Austrian military jailors while imprisoned.


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