Janos Damjanich
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J%C3%A1nos Damjanich
János Damjanich
Damjanics János.jpg
Native name
Born(1804-12-08)December 8, 1804
Staza, Croatian Military Frontier, Austrian Empire
DiedOctober 6, 1849(1849-10-06) (aged 44)
Arad, Kingdom of Hungary
Years of service?-1849
Commands held
  • 3rd Honved Battalion (1848)
  • 3rd Army Corps (1849)
  • Fortress of Arad (1849)
Hungarian Revolt of 1848

János Damjanich (Serbian: Jovan Damjani? / ; December 8, 1804 – October 6, 1849) was an Austrian military officer of Serb origin who became general of the Hungarian Revolutionary Army in 1848. He is considered a national hero in Hungary.

Early life

Damjanich was born in Staza[1] in Croatian Military Frontier (now part of Sunja, Croatia). His mother was a daughter of general Taborovi?.[2] His wife Emilija ?arni? was related to the ?arnojevi? family.[3]

Military career

Damjanich entered the army as an officer in the 61st regiment, and on the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 was promoted to be a major in the third Honvéd battalion[4] at Szeged. Although an Orthodox Serb, he was from the beginning a devoted adherent of the Hungarian liberals.[5]

His ability and valour at the battles of Alisbrunn (Serbian: Alibunar, Hungarian: Alibunár) and Lagerdorf/Temes?r in 1848 led to his promotion to colonel. In early 1849, he was appointed commander of the 3rd Army Corps in the middle Tisza, and quickly gained the reputation of being the bravest man in the Hungarian army. In March 1849 he annihilated an Austrian brigade at Szolnok, which was perhaps his greatest exploit.[5]

He was elected deputy for Szolnok to the Diet of Hungary, but declined the honour. Damjanich played a leading role in the general advance upon the Hungarian capital of Buda under Artúr Görgey.[5]

The engagements of Hort and Hatvan, along with the bloody Isaszeg turned Damjanich into a national hero. At the ensuing review at Gödöll?, Lajos Kossuth expressed the sentiments of the whole nation when he doffed his hat as Damjanich's battalions passed by. Damjanich uncompromisingly supported the views of Kossuth, and was appointed commander of one of the three divisions which, under Görgey, liberated Vác in April 1849. His fame reached its height when, on April 19, he won the Battle of Nagysalló, which led to the relief of the fortress of Komárom.[5]

At this juncture Damjanich broke his leg, an accident which prevented him from taking part in field operations at the most critical period of the war, when the Hungarians had to abandon the capital for the second time. He recovered sufficiently, however, to accept the post of commandant of the fortress of Arad.[5]

After the Surrender at Világos (now ?iria, Romania), Damjanich, on being summoned to surrender, declared he would give up the fortress to a single company of Cossacks, but would defend it to the last drop of his blood against the whole Austrian army. He accordingly surrendered to the Russian general Dmitry Buturlin, by whom he was handed over to the Austrians,[5] and he became one of the 13 Martyrs of Arad on October 6, 1849. Damjanich was last in the line to be executed because his enemies wanted him to watch hanging of his generals.[6] His famous last words were: I believed I would be the last, because I was always the first in battle. My poor Emily! Long live Hungary!

Execution of the Martyrs of Arad. Work by János Thorma.


Damjanich is a controversial historical figure. Hungarians consider Damjanich a national hero who led the Hungarian revolutionary army against the Habsburg Monarchy, while Serbs consider him a national traitor, who despite the fact that he was ethnic Serb by origin, fought on the Hungarian side against his own people, i.e. against the Vojvodinian Serb army that was on the side of the Habsburgs during the revolution. Therefore, the Serbs gave him a nickname "ljuta guja, srpski izdajica" ("furious snake, Serbian traitor"). The following quote is accredited to him, "Serbs shouldn't exist; I won't be still until the last Serb on this earth is dead and once that is done, I shall kill myself."[7][8][9] Other sources say that Damjanich was actually proud of his Serb origin.[10]


  1. ^ Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815-1950, 168. old.
  2. ^ Ignjatovi?, Jakov (1953). Rapsodije. Matica Srpska. p. 206.
  3. ^ Gligorijevi?, Milo (1987). Izlazak Srba. Knji?evne novine. p. 140.
  4. ^ Povesnica slobodne kraljeve varo?i Vr?ca: sv. Novo doba (1848-1886). B. Jovanovi?. 1886. p. 27. ... 1. ? ?. 3 3. ? ? 370 ? 2 ?. ? ? ? 450 ...
  5. ^ a b c d e f  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Damjanich, János". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 789. This cites Ödön Hamvay, Life of János Damjanich (Hung.), (Budapest, 1904).
  6. ^ Gligorijevi?, Milo (1987). Izlazak Srba. Knji?evne novine. p. 214.
  7. ^ Tutorov, Milan (1995). Seva munja bi?e opet buna: istorika Zrenjanina i Banata. Gradska narod. biblioteka ?arko Zrenjanin. p. 353. ... ? ? ? , ? - ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?, ? ? ? ?, ? ? .
  8. ^ Kova?evi?, Du?ko M. (2006). Jakov Ignjatovi?: politi?ka biografija : 1822-1889. Zavod za ud?benike i nastavna sredstva. p. 90. , ? - ? ? ? 1848-1849. " ", ? . ?: " ? ...
  9. ^ ?ebeljan, Petar. Jednom u Perlezu i ?dralovi nad Perlezom. Media Art Content Ltd, Novi Sad, Serbia. p. 93. ISBN 978-86-6397-037-3. Me?u pogubljenima je bio i ma?arski nacionalni junak, poma?areni Srbin Jovan Jano? Damjani?, koji je jo? po?etkom 1848. govorio: "Da mogu da iskorenim Race, pa da sebe, kao poslednjeg Raca ubijem!"
  10. ^ Kresti?, Vasilije (1983). Srbi i Ma?ari u revoluciji 1848-1849. godine. Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. p. 150.

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