Hej, Sloveni

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

National anthem of
 Serbia and Montenegro

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
File:United States Navy Band - Hey, Slavs.ogg

Hey, Slavs is an anthemic song dedicated to Slavic peoples. Its first lyrics were 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 anthem of the Sokol physical education and political movement, the anthem of the SFR Yugoslavia and 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 been also the anthem of Poland since 1926, but the Yugoslav variation is much slower and more accentuated.[1]

In the Serbo-Croatian language, which deployed both the Latinic and the Cyrillic alphabets, the title Hej, Slaveni was presented:

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

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

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 Slav 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, póki my żyjemy ("Poland has not yet perished as long as we live."). That familiar melody caused my heart to erupt with 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

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 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 Slav soldiers from the opposite sides of the frontline 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 revolutions. Although after the First World War the song Nad Tatrou sa blýska became the official Slovak anthem in Czechoslovakia and then again in 1993 in the independent Slovak Republic, the song is still considered a "second" anthem by many (usually more nationalist) people. Contrary to popular assumptions, however, it was not the official anthem of the wartime Slovak Republic (1939–1945), but it was greatly favored by the ruling party (Slovakia's official anthem remained Nad Tatrou sa blýska during that period).


Early use

First appearance of the Hey, Slavs on territory of Yugoslavia was in times of Illyrian movement. Dragutin Rakovac translated the song, and named it Hey, Illyrians (Croatian: Hej, Iliri). Until Second World War, the translation did not suffer many changes, except 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 the 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 the second session of AVNOJ, the legislative body of the resistance, and it gradually became to be generally considered the national anthem of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (new Yugoslavia).

The old anthem was officially abandoned after the 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 Hey, Slavs the law only named the title of the national anthem, listing it as a temporary anthem until a new would have been adopted.

Yugoslav anthem

Hej, Slavs was the national anthem of SFR Yugoslavia from 1943 to 1991 (48 years). With formal adoption (inauguration) of the 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 the reality.[2]


Western variant Eastern variant 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!

Hej Sloveni, jošte živi
Duh (reč) naših dedova
Dok za narod srce bije
Njihovih sinova

Živi, živi duh slovenski
Živeće 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
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, it still lives
the word (spirit) of our grandfathers
As long as the heart of their sons
beats for our nation!

It lives, it lives the Slavic spirit,
It will live for centuries!
Vainly threatens the abyss of Hell
and the fire and the thunder!

Let everything above us now
be shattered by a Bura.
The cliff cracks, the oak breaks,
Let the earth quake!

We stand firmly
like mountains,
Damned be 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 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 upon the end of federation, the anthem "Hey Slavs" is sometimes mistakenly played by organizers of sports events that involve Serbian teams as a guest side. Notable recent performances, some of which were intentional, include 2013 UEFA U-19 Championship semi-final football match between Serbia and Portugal as well as Olympiacos - Partizan ULEB Champions league basketball game in 2010.[3][4]

In popular culture

The Slovenian band Laibach created an electronic version of the song, with lyrics in both English and Slovene, for their album Volk.[5]


External links

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

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