Obec Ivanovce
Ivanovce

Legend

Trenčín Hangman´s confession.

It was beginning of October 1663 when bloodthirsty Turks invaded village Ivanovce, a place where I was born, and turned it into a bloody slaughterhouse. A small stream of crystal-clear water running through the village became instantly a frightful bloody snake crawling between houses, gardens and courtyards.    

In those days, I was a villain of Illésházy yeoman and I protected Trenčín town and its castle.  As a 25-year old warrior, I was fighting the Turks successfully; however, about 350 brave castle guardians lost their lives in this battle. Turkish soldiers attacked not only Trenčín castle but they invaded also villages in close surrounding of the city, burning houses, killing men and elders, and taking women and children into slavery (Pagi devastate, consremati, incolae trudicati, abacti …). Therefore, we received an order to come back to our villages and protect them and our families from the Turkish invaders. Walking home, I saw death, ruins, tears, and blood everywhere. When I arrived in my home place, I found my house burnt to the ground and next to the shed, there were lying two bloodstained bodies belonging to my wife and 3-year old little daughter. Both of them were beheaded. I rush out on the street, screaming and crying, being almost mad. I wanted to kill all those Turkish pagans. My neighbours took me into their house; they calmed me down and were looking after me. Three days later, I was told that my 5-year old little son Paul was taken into the Turkish captivity. Suddenly, there were no tears and yelling anymore; I sat and looked at random at a room corner, being in tremendous despair and pain.

After I buried my loved ones, I could not stay in this village any longer. I went to Trenčín city and volunteered there to join the anti-Turkish army. I fought bloody battles near cities Komárno and Nové Zámky in the first line; I wanted desperately to die, as I could not imagine my life without my family. Many people were dying around me, my fellow soldiers as well as the Turkish pagans, but not myself.  

Then, I returned back to Trenčín city and started to assist the city Hangman in his work. When the Master passed away, I became the Hangman of Trenčín city and I earned the title “Master Carnifex”. Execution place was located behind the city walls and convicted individuals were executed here. My first “clients” for execution were two Turks. Wearing red habit with a red balaclava on my head, I intensively and with great passion exercised my Hangman´s mastery skills.  

As part of my duties, I performed entire range of punishments to torture convicted individuals. Torture was a regular procedure to question culprits. It was performed in an underground dungeon equipped with various metal tools (chains, benches, hooks, pliers, ladders etc.); belowground location eliminated screaming and yelling to be heard outside. Torture procedures consisted of three extremely painful and body devastating levels, very often leading to the death. Individuals who resisted torture practices and survived became cripples with serious life-long body deformations. The most horrid procedure was quartering a human body while being still alive (vivum divider partes quattuor). Hands and legs were tied separately and each part was pulled away until the body was torn into four pieces.

In 1683, Turks were defeated in the battle near Wien and they were marching through Považie region, leaving only ruined places behind them. They came back to Trenčín city again but this time the city defenders resisted their attack and captured about 50 Turkish soldiers, including their young well-built Commander. Commander of Trenčín city decided to execute the Commander and his 10 soldiers as a warning message to the others; and Commander should be beheaded immediately. Years of practice in tortures and executions took away from me all my feelings and sympathy; however, I suddenly felt sorry for this young, handsome Turk. On the other hand, twenty years ago, his fellow soldiers sliced my wife and little daughter and they took away my little son Paul. So I had no mercy. One precise swing with my sword severed the head, which fell down into the prepared basket. Then, the reeve ordered me to show decapitated head to the crowd of bystanders. I did it. However, when I spotted a large violet spot on the skin behind his right ear I froze to my death. It was not dried blood as people thought but it was birthmark; the same as my only little son Paul had. A suspicion that the young Turkish Commander could be my son Paul erupted in my mind and I mentioned that to the reeve. Unfortunately, he confirmed that the executed soldier was a janissary with a symbol of the janissary warrior burnt under his left arm. I was more than convinced that I have just executed my missing son; therefore, hopeless, almost crazy and full of tears I took my son´s body with me and I buried him the same day into the grave right next to his mother and his little sister at the cemetery in Ivanovce village …

That was the end of the Master Carnifex Sloboda´s life way, who used to serve as the Trenčín´s Hangman for many years. Actually, it was not the end. According to another story, this desperate man then recruited himself again to fight the Turks where he was killed

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