Hey, Slavs

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Hej, Slaveni
Hej, Sloveni
Hej, Slovani
Еј, Словени
English: Hey, Slavs
Hej Slaveni 1944.png
The poem that would become the Anthem of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, its Croatian language version

Former national anthem of
 Serbia and Montenegro
Slovakia (1939–45)

Also known as"Hej, Slovenci"
"Hej, Słowianie"
LyricsSamuel Tomášik, 1834
MusicComposer unknown, [a] 1820s
Adopted1977 (by law, temporary)
1988 (by the Constitution)
1992 (by Serbia and Montenegro)
Relinquished1992 (by Socialist Yugoslavia)
2006 (by Serbia and Montenegro)
Audio sample
"Hey, Slavs" (instrumental)

"Hey, Slavs" is a patriotic song 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 anthem of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The song is also considered to be the unofficial second ethnic anthem of the Slovaks. Its melody is based on "Mazurek Dąbrowskiego", which has also been the national anthem of Poland since 1926, but the Yugoslav variation has a slower tempo, is more accentuated, and does not repeat the last four lines as it repeats the last two lines.[1]


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

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

In Macedonian the song's title is "Ej, Sloveni" (Cyrillic: Еј, Словени), and in Slovene, it is "Hej, Slovani". The original title in Slovak was "Hej, Slováci".


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)
The Pan-Slavic flag from the 1848 Prague Slavic Congress.[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 West 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.

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" national anthem by many (usually more nationalistic) 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
As long as our faithful heart
beats for our nation!
There lives, lives, lives the Slovak spirit,
it will live for ages!
Thunder and Hell, in vain are
your rages against us!
God entrusted to us our language
our thunderwielding god.
Therefore, it must not be ripped from us,
by anyone in the world!
Let there be as many devils,
as there are people in the world
God is with us: who's against us,
will by Perun be swept
Even if a tremendous storm
rises above us,
The stone cracks, the oak breaks,
and the earth quakes!
We will stand always firm
like the castle walls,
To pits of the black earth be damned
whom betrays treacherously!


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 state 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.

"Hej, Slavs" was the national anthem of the SFR Yugoslavia from 1943 to 1992 (48 years). With the formal adoption (inauguration) of Amendment IX to the Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the song "Hey, Slavs" gained constitutional sanction as the national anthem on November 25, 1988. After the 43 years of continued use as the de facto national anthem, the delegates simply brought the law in line with custom.[3]

Serbo-Croatian Cyrillic script English translation

Hej Sloveni, jošte živi
Reč (duh) naših djedova
Dok za narod srce bije
Njihovih sinova
Živi, živi duh slovenski
Živjet će vekov'ma
Zalud preti ponor pakla
Zalud vatra groma
Nek se sada i nad nama
Burom sve raznese
Stena puca, dub se lama
Zemlja nek se trese
Mi stojimo postojano
Kako klisurine
Proklet bio izdajica
Svoje domovine!

Хеј Словени, јоште живи
Реч (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
Како клисурине,
Проклет био издајица
Своје домовине!

Hey, Slavs, there still lives
the word (spirit) 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 bora.
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 нѐ 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[edit]

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 national anthem, but since no agreement over state symbols could be reached, "Hey, Slavs" remained the national anthem of the state union. Some Serbians disliked the song and booed it whenever it was played at sporting events, like soccer games.[4]

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 split to become sovereign states in 2006, this issue is moot, and "Hey, Slavs" is no longer used as an official national anthem by any sovereign cstate.

Even after the end of the federation, "Hey, Slavs" is sometimes still mistakenly played by organizers of sports events that involve Serbian teams as a guest side. Notable recent performances, some of which were intentional, include the 2013 UEFA U-19 Championship semi-final football match between Serbia and Portugal as well as the OlympiacosPartizan ULEB Champions league basketball game in 2010.[5][6] In 2015, French organizers of 2015 European Touring Car Cup season played Yugoslav anthem when Serbian racing driver Dušan Borković won 1st place at Circuit Paul Ricard.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

The Yugoslav band Bijelo Dugme recorded a version of the song for their 1985 self-titled album.[8] 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.[9]


  1. ^ Oskar Danon, according to Lordan Zafranović's Tito – the Last Witnesses of the Testament - part 8


  1. ^ Yugopol (2 March 2011). "Mazurek Dąbrowskiego & Hej Slaveni". Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ Вилинбахов Г. В. Государственная геральдика в России: Теория и практика Archived 2015-04-27 at the Wayback Machine. (in Russian)
  3. ^ Amandmani IX do XLVII na Ustav Socijalističke Federativne Republike Jugoslavije, "Službeni list SFRJ", br. 70/88, No. 932, pp 1793-1806
  4. ^ "Serbia-Montenegro a World Cup team without a country". Archived from the original on 2018-06-16. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  5. ^ "BRUKA NA EP: Orlići slušali Hej Sloveni umesto Bože pravde!". Archived from the original on 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  6. ^ 'Grci namerno pustili himnu „Hej, Sloveni"?' Archived 2014-03-05 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "USPEH BORKOVIĆA U SENCI SKANDALA: Srpskom automobilisti na podijumu pustili Hej Sloveni". Kurir. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Bijelo Dugme - Bijelo Dugme". Discogs. Archived from the original on 2014-01-01. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  9. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/r858483

External links[edit]