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Hey, Slavs

Hej, Slaveni
Hej, Sloveni
Hej, Slovani
Еј, Словени
English: Hey, Slavs

National anthem of  Yugoslavia
 Serbia and Montenegro
Slovakia (1939–45)

Also known as Hej, Slovenci
Hej, Słowianie
Lyrics Samuel Tomášik, 1834
Music Composer unknown (Oskar Danon, according to Lordan Zafranović's Tito – the Last Witnesses of the Testament - part 8)
Adopted 1977 (by law, temporary)
1988 (by the Constitution)
Relinquished 1991
Music sample

Hey, Slavs is an anthem dedicated to the Slavic peoples. Its lyrics were first written in 1834 under the title Hey, Slovaks (Hej, Slováci) by Samuel Tomášik and it has since served as the anthem of the Pan-Slavic movement, the Sokol physical education and political movement, the SFR Yugoslavia and as the transitional anthem of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The song is also considered to be the second, unofficial anthem of the Slovaks. Its melody is based on Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, which has also been the anthem of Poland since 1926, though the Yugoslav variation is much slower and more accentuated.[1]

In Serbo-Croatian, which used both the Latin and the Cyrillic alphabets, the title Hej, Slaveni was presented:

  • Hej, Slaveni or Hej, Sloveni (in Latin)
  • Хеј, Славени or Хеј, Словени (in Cyrillic).

In Macedonian the song is Ej, Sloveni (Еј, Словени), and in Slovene Hej, Slovani. The original title in Slovak is Hej, Slováci.


  • Hey, Slovaks 1
  • Pan-Slavic anthem 2
  • Slovakia 3
  • Yugoslavia 4
    • Early use 4.1
    • Yugoslav anthem 4.2
  • Serbia and Montenegro 5
  • Recent performances 6
  • In popular culture 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Hey, Slovaks

The song was written by the Slovak Lutheran pastor, poet and historian Samuel Tomášik while he was visiting Prague in 1834. He was appalled that German was more commonly heard in the streets of Prague than Czech. He wrote in his diary:

"If mother Prague, the pearl of the Western Slavic world, is to be lost in a German sea, what awaits my dear homeland, Slovakia, which looks to Prague for spiritual nourishment? Burdened by that thought, I remembered the old Polish song Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła, kiedy my żyjemy ("Poland has not yet perished as long as we live."). That familiar melody caused my heart to erupt with a defiant Hej, Slováci, ešte naša slovenská reč žije ("Hey, Slovaks, our Slovak language still lives")... I ran to my room, lit a candle and wrote down three verses into my diary in pencil. The song was finished in a moment." (Diary of Samuel Tomášik, Sunday, 2 November 1834)

Pan-Slavic anthem

Pan-Slavic flag from 1848 Prague convention.[2]

He soon altered the lyrics to include all Slavs and Hey, Slavs became a widely known rallying song for Slav nationalism and Pan-Slavic sentiment, especially in the Slavic lands governed by Austria. It was printed in numerous magazines and calendars and sung at political gatherings, becoming an unofficial anthem of the Pan-Slavic movement.

Its popularity continued to increase when it was adopted as the official anthem of the Sokol ("falcon") physical education movement, which was based on Pan-Slavic ideals and active across Austria-Hungary. In 1905, the erection of a monument to the Slovene poet France Prešeren in Ljubljana was celebrated by a large gathering of people singing Hey, Slavs. During the First World War, the song was often used by Slavic soldiers from opposite sides of the front line to communicate common nationalist sentiment and prevent bloodshed. Many Slovenian, Croatian and Serb members of Sokol conscripted into Austro-Hungarian army voluntarily surrendered to Serbian or Russian forces and often even changed sides. The song spread with them across the Balkans and Russia and remained popular in the inter-war period.


In Slovakia, the song "Hey, Slovaks" has been considered the unofficial song of the Slovaks throughout its modern history, especially at times of revolution. Although after the First World War the song "Nad Tatrou sa blýska" became the official Slovak part in anthem of Czechoslovakia and then again in 1993 in anthem of independent Slovakia, "Hey, Slovaks" is still considered a "second" anthem by many (usually more nationalist) people. Contrary to popular assumption, there was no official anthem of the clerofascist Slovak Republic (1939–45), though "Hej, Slováci" was used by the ruling party.

Slovak variant English translation

Hej, Slováci, ešte naša
slovenská reč žije,
Dokiaľ naše verné srdce
za náš národ bije.

Žije, žije, duch slovenský,
bude žiť naveky,
Hrom a peklo, márne vaše
proti nám sú vzteky!

Jazyka dar zveril nám Boh,
Boh náš hromovládny,
Nesmie nám ho teda vyrvať
na tom svete žiadny;

I nechže je koľko ľudí,
toľko čertov v svete;
Boh je s nami: kto proti nám,
toho Parom zmetie.

A nechže sa i nad nami
hrozná búrka vznesie,
Skala puká, dub sa láme
a zem nech sa trasie;

My stojíme stále pevne,
ako múry hradné.
Čierna zem pohltí toho,
kto odstúpi zradne!

Hey, Slovaks, there still lives
the Slovak language
While for the nations beats the heart
of their sons!

There lives, there lives the Slovak spirit,
It will live for ages!
In vain threatens the abyss of Hell
Against us are all the rage!

God entrusted to us our language
Our almighty god.
Therefore, it must not be snatched,
By anyone in the world!

So many people,
so many devils in the world
God is with us: who is against us
Him sweep away!

Let now everything above us
be blown away by the storm.
The stone cracks, the oak breaks,
Let the earth quake!

We stand firm
like the cliffs,
Black earth damned
Whom betray treacherously!


Early use

The first appearance of Hey, Slavs in Yugoslavia was during the Illyrian movement. Dragutin Rakovac translated the song, naming it Hey, Illyrians (Croatian: Hej, Iliri). Until the Second World War, the translation did not undergo many changes, except that the Illyrians became Slavs.

In 1941 the Second World War engulfed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Axis powers invaded in early April, and the Yugoslav royal army disintegrated and capitulated in just two and a half weeks. Since the old Yugoslav anthem included references to king and kingdom, the anti-royalist Partisan resistance led by Josip Broz Tito and his Communist party decided to avoid it and opted for Hey, Slavs instead. The song was sung at both the first and second sessions of AVNOJ, the legislative body of the resistance, and it gradually became the de facto national anthem of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (new Yugoslavia).

The old anthem was officially abandoned after liberation in 1945, but no new anthem was officially adopted. There were several attempts to promote other, more specifically Yugoslav songs as the national anthem, but none gained much public support and Hey, Slavs continued to be used unofficially. The search for a better candidate continued up to 1988, while in 1977 the law only named the national anthem as Hey, Slavs as a temporary anthem until a new one was adopted.

Yugoslav anthem

Hej, Slavs was the national anthem of the SFR Yugoslavia from 1943 to 1991 (48 years). With the formal adoption (inauguration) of Amendment IX to the Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the anthem Hey, Slavs gained constitutional sanction on November 25, 1988. After the 43 years of continued use as the de facto anthem, the delegates simply brought the law in line with custom.[3]

Serbo-Croatian Cyrillic script English translation

Hej Slaveni, jošte živi
Riječ (duh) naših djedova
Dok za narod srce bije
Njihovih sinova

Živi, živi duh slavenski
Živjet će vjekov'ma
Zalud prijeti ponor pakla
Zalud vatra groma

Nek se sada i nad nama
Burom sve raznese
Stijena puca, dub se lama
Zemlja nek se trese

Mi stojimo postojano
Kano klisurine
Proklet bio izdajica
Svoje domovine!

Хеј Словени, јоште живи
Дух наших дедова
Док за народ срце бије
Њихових синова

Живи, живи дух словенски
Живеће веков'ма
Залуд прети понор пакла,
Залуд ватра грома

Нек' се сада и над нама
Буром све разнесе
Стена пуца, дуб се лама,
Земља нек' се тресе

Ми стојимо постојано
Кано клисурине,
Проклет био издајица
Своје домовине!

Hey, Slavs, there still lives
the word of our grandfathers
While for the nations beats the heart
of their sons!

There lives, there lives the Slavic spirit,
It will live for ages!
In vain threatens the abyss of Hell
In vain the fire of thunder!

Let now everything above us
be blown away by the Bura.
The stone cracks, the oak breaks,
Let the earth quake!

We stand firm
like the big cliffs,
May he be damned, the traitor
of his homeland!

Macedonian Transliteration Translation Slovene

Еј, Словени, жив е тука
зборот свет на родот
штом за народ срце чука
преку син во внукот!

Жив е вечно, жив е духот
словенски во слога.
Не нè плашат адски бездни
ниту громов оган!

Пустошејќи, нека бура
и над нас се втурне!
Пука даб и карпа сура,
тлото ќе се урне:

Стоиме на стамен-прагот
- клисури и бедем!
Проклет да е тој што предал
Родина на врагот!

Ej, Sloveni, živ e tuka
zborot svet na rodot
štom za narod srce čuka
preku sin vo vnukot! Živ e večno, živ e duhot
slovenski vo sloga.
Ne nè plašat adski bezdni
nitu gromov ogan! Pustošejḱi, neka bura
i nad nas se vturne!
Puka dab i karpa sura,
tloto ḱe se urne: Stoime na stamen-pragot
- klisuri i bedem!
Proklet da e toj što predal
Rodina na vragot!

Hey, Slavs, herein lives on
the sacred word of our lineage
as long as the heart beats for our nation
from son to grandson!

The Slavic spirit lives on
forever in unity.
Infernal abysses do not frighten us,
nor the blazes of thunder.

May a bora devastate
and rage above us!
Oak trees and ashen rocks will crack,
the earth will cave in:

For we stand at the doorstep of
gorges and bulwarks!
Cursed is he who betrays his
homeland to the enemy!

Hej Slovani, naša reč
slovanska živo klije
dokler naše verno srce
za naš narod bije

Živi, živi, duh slovanski,
bodi živ na veke,
grom in peklo, prazne vaše
proti nam so steke

Naj tedaj nad nami
strašna burja se le znese,
skala poka, dob se lomi,
zemlja naj se strese

Bratje, mi stojimo trdno
kakor zidi grada,
črna zemlja naj pogrezne
tega, kdor odpada!

Serbia and Montenegro

After the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991-92, when only Serbia and Montenegro remained in the federation, Hey, Slavs continued to be used as the anthem of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. That country was renamed to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003 and was expected to adopt a new anthem, but since no agreement over national symbols could be reached, Hey, Slavs remained the anthem of the state union.

A hybrid of the Montenegrin national anthem "Oj, svijetla majska zoro" with the Serbian national anthem, "Bože Pravde" in alternating verses was proposed. However, this attempt was struck down after objections by the People's Party of Montenegro and the Socialist People's Party of Montenegro. Also proposed was the former Montenegrin national anthem and patriotic song "Onamo, 'namo", however this also fell through and Hey, Slavs remained the national anthem. Since Montenegro and Serbia became independent states in 2006, this issue is moot, and Hey, Slavs is no longer used as an official anthem by any sovereign country.

Recent performances

Even after the end of the federation, "Hey Slavs" is sometimes mistakenly played by organizers of sports events that involve 2015 European Touring Car Cup season played Yugoslav anthem when Serbian racing driver Dušan Borković won 1st place at Circuit Paul Ricard.[6]

In popular culture

The Yugoslav band Bijelo Dugme recorded a version of the song for their 1985 self-titled album.[7] The Yugoslav and Slovenian band Laibach recorded an electronic version of the song, with lyrics in both English and Slovene, for their 2006 album Volk.[8]


  1. ^ Mazurek Dąbrowskiego & Hej Slaveni Its melody is based.
  2. ^ Вилинбахов Г. В. Государственная геральдика в России: Теория и практика (Russian)
  3. ^ Amandmani IX do XLVII na Ustav Socijalističke Federativne Republike Jugoslavije, "Službeni list SFRJ", br. 70/88, No. 932, pp 1793-1806
  4. ^ [3] Kurir: 'Hey Slavs' instead of 'Lord, give us justice' (29-07-13)
  5. ^ [4] Press: Greeks deliberately played 'Hey Slavs' (16-01-10)
  6. ^ "USPEH BORKOVIĆA U SENCI SKANDALA: Srpskom automobilisti na podijumu pustili Hej Sloveni". Kurir. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  7. ^ at DisogsBijelo Dugme
  8. ^

External links

  • - Audio of the national anthem of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with information and lyricsHey, SlavsSocialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia:
  • The story of Hej Slovaci, incl. an artistic translation of the original Slovak text.
  • MIDI

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