Conan the Bohemian: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Czech roots confirmed

The Czech roots of famed Austrian bodybuilder, Hollywood star, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have long been suspected, but researchers have only recently confirmed his Bohemian lineage, according to Slovak tabloid Nový Čas.

And if not for a name change more than a century ago, the action hero might have been known as Arnold Mach – a common Czech surname – rather than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The new info has been brought to light by Slovak genealogist Alica Jančoková, working with unnamed sources in the United States.

“Arnold’s great-grandfather was of Czech origin and his name was Wenzel (Václav) Mach,” Jančoková recently told Nový Čas.

“He was born in 1841 in the village of Kočov near Tachov in the Pilsen region. However, he left his native village for Styria, where he worked as a blacksmith in the mining village of Neuberg an der Mürz.”

Mach reportedly had a child out of wedlock with Kunigunde Schwarzenegger. Born Carl Mach, Arnold’s grandfather apparently took his mother’s name later in life.

“Carl was only 17 at the time and later adopted his mother’s surname – Schwarzenegger. When he married Cecilia Hinterleitner in 1897, his name was Schwarzenegger and his father Mach is no longer mentioned anywhere. Carl and Cecilia had 4 children, including Gustav, whose son is none other than the world-famous Arnold.”

Jančoková reportedly confirmed the details about the Schwarzenegger lineage with registries in Neuberg an der Mürz.

While Arnold’s Czech-born great-grandfather may only account for 12.5% of his ancestry, the star’s Czech roots have long been suspected on the other side of his family tree.

Schwarzengger’s mother was born Aurelia Jadrny. While little is known about her lineage, Jadrny is a Czech surname, making it more than likely she had significant Czech ancestry.

In fact, the new details could be enough to tip the scales of the action hero’s ancestry to more than 50% Bohemian. Arnold could conceivably be more Czech than Austrian.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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