Jan Mydlář – one of the great historical characters of Czech history was not even born into the life destined for so few. This was a hereditary position and one that drew great criticism in public, yet was seen as a necessary evil to keep justice and peace, in a time that was beset by violence and revolutionary acts.
A Life of Love, Loss, and Duty in 17th-Century Prague
Jan Mydlář: A Promising Medical Student
Jan Mydlář was born into a wealthy family in the Bohemian town of Chrudim during the 17th century. He embarked on a promising path as a medical student, his future brimming with the potential to heal and alleviate suffering. However, fate took an unexpected turn when his beloved cousin, falsely accused of murder, faced the ultimate punishment – death.
A Daring Plan to Save His Beloved
Driven by an unwavering love and determination to save his beloved cousin, Jan Mydlář abandoned his medical aspirations and embarked on a daring plan. He sought to gain access to the prison where his cousin was held by apprenticing as an executioner’s assistant. Despite his valiant efforts, his plan proved futile, and he was forced to witness the tragic execution of his beloved.
The Transformation of Jan Mydlář into an Executioner
Marked by this harrowing experience, Jan Mydlář’s life took a somber turn. Haunted by the memory of his cousin’s death and shunned by society due to his profession, he embraced his role as an executioner, carrying out his duties with a heavy heart.
The Infamous Old Town Square Executions
Jan Mydlář’s most infamous act was the execution of 27 ringleaders in Old Town Square, Prague, a pivotal event in Czech history. Among those executed was his own best friend, a heartbreaking reminder of the sacrifices Mydlář was forced to make in the name of duty.
The Weight of Loyalty and a Tragic End
Mydlář’s unwavering loyalty to the crown, even in the face of personal turmoil, ultimately led to his downfall. Following the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, he was forced to flee Prague, leaving behind a life he once knew. In exile, he succumbed to poverty, his family forever exiled from their beloved city.