Two Broadside Ballads About a Family Tragedy in Příbor on the Christmas Eve in 1844

Pages 65–71
DOI 10.1515/amnpsc-2017-0008
Keywords Moravia – Příbor –1844 – Christmas Eve – shoemaker Carl Ertel – wife – children – murders – suicide – two broadside ballads
Type of Article Non-peer reviewed
Citation FIALA, Jiří. Two Broadside Ballads About a Family Tragedy in Příbor on the Christmas Eve in 1844. Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum. Prague: National Museum, 2017, 62(1-2), 65–71. DOI: ISSN 2570-6861 (Print), 2570-687X (Online). Also available from:
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2017/62/1-2

On the Christmas Eve of 1844, the master shoemaker Carl Ertel in Příbor murdered his wife and his three children by slitting their throats, after which he attempted suicide in the same way and died of his injuries on 31 December of the same year. This family tragedy is do cumented by records in the death registry of the Příbor parish. One year later, two broadside ballads of the same strophic structure were created and then printed in Vienna and Banská Bystrica. The author of the composition Žalostivý příběh v novou píseň uvedený… [A Pitiful Story Made into a New Song...] sees the cause of Ertel’s criminal behaviour in his destitution and his eviction from the rented flat, and the composition thus exhibits features of a social ballad; according to the author of the composition Pravdivé popsání o velmi strašném příběhu…[A True Account of a Dreadful Story], on the other hand, Carl Ertel murdered his entire family in a fit of alcoholic rage.

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