Summarized History of Jan Antonin Bata Jan Bata began working with Tomas Bata in Zlin during the fall of 1909. By on of Bata which would be from 1910. Jan worked in the organization and management from 1917 until Tomas Bata’s death. About a year before Tomas’ death, a sales agreement was in place for Jan to buy the business from his older brother. It took nearly two years for Jan to complete the purchase. The worldwide economic depression at the time had destroyed many large concerns. 1908 – One day near Zlin, Tomas Bata witnessed a scene that had a great effect on his later decision on succession of the Bata business. It was 1908 and Tomas approached the street where his younger brothers lived. While turning the corner, Tomas heard a scream his view was shielded by a statue of St. Anthony. He saw a scene that caught his attention. In the midst of a bunch of angry young boys was his own 10-year-old half-brother Jenik (little Jan). One of Jenik’s hands was wrapped in a dirty scarf hanging off his neck and his left-hand in a plaster cast. In his other hand he held a rope with a rather huge stone tied to it, which he swinging round his head, thus protecting himself with one hand from a mob of about seven boys. The boys tried several times to run under the rope; but each time there was a loud thump when the boy lowered the path of the stone and jumped back, twirling his body his body and swinging the stone to defend himself. Tomas’ heart skipped. He hardly moved, mesmerized by the scene he was witnessing. Note: Image of first Bata factory building from circa 1906: http://www.flickr.com/photos/businesshistory/2685543347/
The boy was taunting the mob, “Come on, come on, if you feel like a piece of stone on your head, Jednik invited, smiling fearlessly in the midst of that mob. Jednik said, “in the afternoon we go to Kotar and that’s where we are going. And, if Rudik Stasu doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t have to, but we are going to Kotar…won’t we, Karel?” “We will, “ said Karel Mazurek. “Will we, Vlado?” “We will…” he promised…and so it went. “Just wait till my brother Cyrill catches you” threatened Jozka Chrastu, dodging the swinging stone with which Jenik now was approaching him, until he ran off behind the gate. Tomas saw enough. He stepped out of the bushes onto the sidewalk. Jenik let the stone drop and quickly tried to wind up the rope into his pocket; the others stood around embarrassed and retreated. Tomas went to Jenik, knelt down © John Nash 2012
and kissed him on the head. Jenik was puzzled. First of all, in Rybarna, Uherske Hradiste, men did not kiss. Second, it was in front of the boys. And third, he didn’t have the rope with the stone in his pocket yet…Jenik’s mother had admonished him to be a good boy, because otherwise in Zlin they would think that in Rybarna they learn only bad things and fighting. Now Tomas himself caught him with the stone and rope – what if he tells at home, Jenik feared. Luckily, it did not happen. He sighed with relief when Tomas took him by the shoulder and asked what happened to his hand. Why the sling? “Oh, that’s nothing,” said the boy, “we were reversing the cutter and the fellows let it down on my hand, it broke, but it’s o.k. now. The doctor said I’ll be able to throw stones in a month,,” explained the boy. Tomas asked, “how do you throw now?” “With the left hand, naturally,” said Jenik. “Bet you can’t hit that old bucket over there with your left,” proposed Tomas gathering some stones? “I’ll hit it,” said the boy cockily “Show me…” “You first,” said Jenik when he saw that Tomas had some stones in his hand. So Tomas threw one and – missed. He threw again and again and missed. Jenik bent down and took some time in selecting a stone, till he found one he liked. He threw and there was a thud as he hit the tin bucket halfburied in the mud of the Morava River. Tomas asked, “Why do you pick out stones…?” Jenik answered, “because its easier to make a hit. If you picked such a stone, you too could hit…here, throw this one…” he handed Tomas a stone. Tomas took it, aimed and – hit. He started to laugh. It had been years since he had amused himself like this. By now, almost all of the neighbors had come out in amazement to see the owner of Bata from Zlin and the boy throwing stones at a tin bucket in the mud. Jenik lived in his brother Tomas’ house under his tutorage from 1908 through 1919. Tomas in fact raised Jenik throughout his childhood, paying his upkeep and schooling from the fifth grade until he was of age. 1909 – This year was an essential year in the development of the Bata organization in Zlin. Jan Bata was then a ten year old boy whose father (and father of Tomas) had died two years
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before. Thomas Bata, was Jan’s eldest half-brother and guardian. Jan’s mother Ludmila had fought for a long time against Thomas taking her sons Jan and Bohus go with Thomas to Zlin. Thomas eventually won approval from Ludmila to take the boys to live with him in Zlin and go to school there. In 1909, Jan went to live in Zlin and entered grammar school in the 5th grade. Thomas’ reasoning was that he wanted to gain future helpers in the factory; for Thomas’ full-brother Anthony had recently passed away and his business partner Stepanik had left the business for private reasons. Thomas told Ludmila that he would give his brothers the opportunity to develop themselves into industrialists; a new class of people in the Czech nation and the saviors of the hungry population. Note: Jan Bata as a young boy in the upper left-hand corner of the above photo with his violin in hand.
For the next years, Jan worked part time in the factory in the evenings and on the weekends learning from a young age the all facets of the shoe industry. 1912 – Jan Bata became a full-time employee in the factory at the age of fourteen. First Jan worked in the administration department. When he had learned this part of the business, he had to learn shoemaking in the factory as the apprentice of Karel Chlud, the principal shoemaker and designer of the factory. The total employment when Jan entered Thomas’ business was 230 employees. As early as 1912, Jan Bata was already recruiting a team of top executives in the Bata organization. Frank Kraus was one of the early recruits who played an important role in the international development of the Bata organization.
1914 – At the outset of the war, most of the workers in the factory were conscripted into active duty in the AustroHungarian Army. Jan, a sixteen year old boy was the only person able to run the McKay stitching machine and acted as an instructor charged with training half a dozen experts on the machine. From that point forward, Jan developed into the foremost shoemaker; a key troubleshooter, organizer, designer of new methods, mechanic, an sales organizer, aways jumping into any area where there was a vacuum. Jan’s recollections: I remember one Sunday, we were at a gathering in the garden on Tomas’ lawn. Tomas suggested that each of us boys to tell what he wants to achieve in life. At the time, besides my brother and me there were two friends of mine, another brother Henry and a nephew Vlada. Leopold, the proud Reserve Lieutenant who had just returned from active service spoke first. He was hardly prepared for this attack. He stammered that he would like to become the chief bookkeeper in the factory. Tomas smiled because he © John Nash 2012
was in fact nearly in the highest position at the time. My older brother was next. He declared that he wants to create a textile mill after studying at the special school, and answering a further question said that he’d like to employ 300 people. Another brother and his friend wanted to build a tannery. Jan’s nephew Vlado was a nervous boy and did not know what he wanted to become. Finally Tomas turned and said,“Jenik, you tell us…” JENIK: I would not say. TOMAS: Does that mean that you do not know? JENIK: I do know, but I won’t tell you because you would be angry. TOMAS: No Jenik, said Tomas softly, cross my heart. I won’t be angry at you. JENIK: Well then…I took courage…I want to be the owner of this factory one day and I want to have the whole valley of D•evnica filled with factories and the city of Zlin filled with the best and happiest workers in Europe. When I finished there was grave silence and all of the others thought that I had insulted Tomas, yet he embraced me. Tomas then fell back onto the grass and started to laugh and laugh until a stream of tears heavily fell from his steel blue eyes. By now everybody was laughing and Tomas said, “Yes Jenik, yes, yes, yes, yes, I believe every word you have said. Yes, you will be the owner, the big boss here one day…no doubt…I don’t doubt it a bit, but boy, you will not have it easy; don’t you worry , no Sir, no you won’t have it easy at all.” Tomas was as good as his word. easy. He saw to it. There was call me to clean up. There was he would spare me. There was no rejoicingly put me against.
I did not have anything not dirt that he would not no bad situation from which danger he would not
Thomas was a rigid disciplinarian who would not put up with nonsense from anyone. Thus he often came to collisions with people in management as the factory grew more or less in the direction of Jan’s imagination; a fact that Thomas often mentioned and problems that Jan was often called to mend. To people not familiar with the intimate relationship between the Bata brothers would have the notion that there was a terrible abyss between Thomas and Jan. For Jan, there was hardly a question or policy, taste, organization, system, method, rule that Jan would not question. With the exception of Jan, all of his brothers would accept Thomas’ decisions without question. It was due to this, Thomas’ disciplinary approach and Jan’s scrappy opposition to it that led to development of what is known today as the Bata System. As Jan Bata put it in his personal notes:
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“This so to say fire-striking developed into an industrial organization…thereafter so well known as the Bataindustrial-system which brought us decades ahead of any competition. So the individual electric drive machines, the conveyor system in the factory, the chain of stores, the system of buildings, building the system of factory units of:
Production methods, Scientific calculation, Scientific purchases, Supply system of stores, Organization units of bookkeeping.
For all of that, there was more than Thomas and Jan. There were many more people. But in the end, there were only two decision-makers: Thomas and Jan.” - Jan Antonin Bata 1917 – It was as early as 1917 that Jan Bata was considered by Tomas as his successor. 1919 – In this year, Jan Bata was sent to set up a factory in Lynn, Massachusetts for the production of shoes. By 1920, Jan Bata, then 22 years old was responsible for the management of the first international Bata manufacturing company. This company was set up under the strict guidance of Thomas Bata, Zlin. There was a dual purpose in setting up this company; first, to enable Jan Bata to learn American shoe manufacturing methods; while Jan was in the USA, Tomas would send him to travel and to report back to Tomas on his daily experiences, described in hundreds of letters with illustrations, charts and samples attached. The second was as a holding company for financial assets of the Zlin mother plant. The American company was a precursor to Leader A.G., the Swiss holding company. Leader was designed as the emergency reserve fund in a disaster fell upon Zlin. It would be used to help Zlin to recover. Under the terrible economic crisis of 1920 that threatened to destroy both the Zlin and American plants, Tomas decided to close down the American plant to save the Zlin plant. 1922, 23, 24 – Inventions of Jan Bata. He pioneered the Bata calculation book; the creation of the purchasing department, yielding the greatest successes in the Bata enterprise; His system of stock accounting on materials have eliminated losses in
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cutting rooms. This system of calculations in the Bata organization made use of Thomas Bata’s genial system of bookkeeping. Increased efficiency in the purchasing department which led to Thomas Bata’s bold decision to reduce prices by “slugging them down” by fifty-percent in September of 1922. Note: Photo to right is of Jan Bata and his wife Marie Bata (Gerbec) in Moravia.
1923 – Bata Employs 1,800 People 1924 – It was through Jan’s recommendations that Zlin moved from a principally a textile shoe factory to high style leather shoes against the will of Tomas. Jan produced 400,000 pairs of these new leather shoes before Tomas and had sold them in Berlin before Tomas figured out that Jan had manufactured them. 1925 – Jan Bata “Fought through the decision to create an industrial city with cheap rent, workers-homes built in gardens, and the immediate investment to combat the crisis in housing. In 1925 1,000 dwellings were thereafter built.1” 1926 – Increase in Bata Shoe Stores in Czechoslovakia Jan Bata fought for the increase the number of Bata stores in Czechoslovakia. The number of stores at that time was a mere 120 throughout the country. Jan fought for a sizeable increase in “the number of shoe stores should be increase[d] to 1200 stores.” In eighteen months, the number of Bata shoe stores in the republic increased to more than 1000 shoe stores. Note: Jan Bata in above photo in his Sokol uniform in Zlin in 1926 with a Czechoslovak flag in the breeze behind him. Below Jan Bata meets T.G. Masaryk, President of Czechoslovakia.
1926 – The beginning of the big success. Jan convinces Tomas to install the conveyor system for shoe production 1
Written Statements of Jan A. Bata, on or about 11/01/47.
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The conveyor systems was brought to Zlin from the USA. The were many arguments and resistance by Tomas to incorporate this new process. After a long fight with Jan, Tomas agreed to Jan's installing it. But only after its successful operation did Tomas become enthusiastic about the conveyor system. By 1926, all of the Bata shoe workshops were running on conveyors; by this time conveyors had been abandoned in the USA.
Note: Photo shows an early configuration of the Bata Conveyor System (circa 1926)
1927 – Jan Leaves Tomas’ employ, and later called back by Tomas Jan Bata had differences with Tomas Bata. Jan Bata, Frank Kraus and others had been forbidden by Tomas to build their own homes independent from the Bata colony. Tomas Bata fired both Jan Bata and Frank Kraus for disregarding Tomas’ wishes. During the time that Jan was away from Bata, the company began to accumulate huge losses. In 1926, the Bata purchasing department contributed up to one third of the profit of the entire company. By the second half of 1927, the Bata purchasing department had accumulated tremendous losses. Near the end of 1927, Tomas offered reconciliation with Jan, bringing him back into the organization. During 1928, Jan reestablished the purchasing department, generating 30% of the profits of the factory. Upon his return, Tomas promoted Jan to be the Head of Research and Production for the Bata organization. Jan, by then had also become known as the “principal brain” of the brain of Zlin. 1928 – Jan brought the modeling department into close cooperation marketing department (then known as propaganda department). This alignment led the creation of the Bata printing department for creating marketing materials. 1928 – Bata Employs 12,000 People; Jan elevated to the Board of Directors of the Worldwide Bata Organization.
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1929 – Jan reorganized the machine shop from a level of 130 to 1,000 men; and increased the “inventing” department from 3 to 70 men. 1929 – “Long before Hitler came to power, in 1929, the late Thomas Bata together with Jan A. Bata worried what would happen if war should come. The crisis, starting in 1929 with the panic in New York indicated that something might happen. ‘In war, there is no way to avoid the destruction of industry once the war passes the country where it is located’ was Tomas Bata sincere belief. Thomas Bata as well as Jan A. Bata had their experienced in the first war. They knew industrialists who loot everything during the war by seizure, confiscation as enemy subjects, in the hands of the Custodian of Enemy Property, etc. Jan A. Bata suggested the creation of factories in 30 countries of the world, with their own distribution network of shoe stores.” Jan’s idea was “There won’t be war in all countries at all the same time.” Thomas Bata agreed. The organization of Bata enterprises throughout the world was thus started. In 1930 the first small [rented]factory has been organized in India. In [June] of 1931 the next in Yugoslavia. 1929 – Technically reorganized the sales organization increasing retail stores to 2,000. 1929 - Bata lived from the creative ideas of Thomas and Jan until 1929; from that point forward, it was Jan’s energies that brought forward the Bata organization throughout Czechoslovakia and the world. Bata Ownership: As of January 1, 1929, Jan Bata owned a stake of 5% of the Bata Shoe and Leather Company, Lynn Massachusetts; Jan Bata was employed by T. & A. Bata as Head of Research and Organization of Production. Due to the worldwide depression, exporting from Czechoslovakia had become impossible. Tomas felt there was no solution whereby the Zlin plant could be saved. There was no solution to prevent the collapse of his industry. Jan was more optimistic. Jan again put an idea forth that tomas had rejected a dozen times. The idea was to build factories in the countries where stores were located. In desperation, Tomas agreed to let Jan try. So a small test factory (in a rented building) in India was started. 1930- By 1930, Jan was directly responsible for: Purchasing, selling, calculations, model design, company policy, tanneries, machine factory, rubber factory, © John Nash 2012
logistics and transport. These duties were in place until december of 1931. 1930 – Jan straightens out American stores In 1929, Thomas sent specialists to the USA that included Luis Gabesam to open shoe stores that had expended so successfully in Europe. The specialists had rented expensive locations and the stores were sustaining huge losses. After seven of Bata’s best salesmen had returned to Zlin, unable to establish shoe stores in Chicago or to sell more than small volumes of shoes. Thomas dispatched Jan to America to solve the problem. In February 1930, Jan Bata arrived in the USA to reorganize the four original stores; and when Jan returned, he had enlarged the Bata shoe store count to twelve. Jan told Thomas when he left for the USA that he would not return until the stores were selling at least 500 pairs per week. “or I will not come back at all. ” Jan went to Chicago. In the first six weeks cables announced sales of 20,30,40 pairs per day in stores 4,5,6,7. And, “one Tuesday a cable stirred the headquarters: ‘Soon Jan had all of the stores producing 500 pairs of shoes per week and returned in triumph to Zlin. 1930 – Jan Bata reorganized the rubber factory, putting it on the conveyor system based on a competitive threat from the Japanese. 1930 – Jan Bata increased the machine ship to 1,500 men. Then he worked out plans to create the foreign factories. The depression was weighing heavily on the rents of the foreign stores due to steadily increasing duties on shoes made in Zlin. 1931 – Organized a division for the statistical studies and logistical facts for planning on a scientific basis: building and administrative costs, personnel, transportation, distribution in order to select the most favorable locations for foreign factories. 1931 – Invented the “dancing-band-conveyor,” patented by Jan Antonin Bata and used in all Bata plants by 1940. Jan Bata’s innovative patents date back to as early as 1931. Bata ownership: By February 25, 1931 Jan A. Bata owned 30% of the share capital of the Bata Shoe and Leather Company of Lynn Massachusetts. 1931 through 1932, Jan organized the Czechoslovak Expeditionary Forces for Bata Export throughout the world. Jan then led the organization of schools for foreign languages, night courses
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on geography and business correspondence for Batamen to prepare them for positions abroad. 1931 – in the early spring of 1931 probably at Easter time (Easter fell on 5 April 1931), Thomas Bata summoned Jan A. Bata (J.A.Bata) to his summer farm at Loucka, which was located approximately 25 or 30 miles from Zlin. At this time, J.A.Bata maintained a home for himself and his family in Zlin. It was a normal for Thomas Bat to have member of his family around him on a holiday to discuss things apart from the normal business routine. On this particular occasion J.A.Bata believes that he was specifically invited to Loucka, but the purpose of the visit was not disclosed to him. [In observance of Easter the Bata factory was closed down during the afternoon of good Friday, and remained closed until the following Tuesday morning.] J.A.Bata arrived at Loucka early in the afternoon, alone; his wife remained at home in Zlin to care for their infant son, Jan Thomas. When he arrived at Loucka he was found that Dr. Mencik and his family were being entertained by Thomas Bata and his wife. Shortly after J.A.Bata arrived, Thomas Bata arise and beckoned J.A.Bata to follow him out of the house. They walked through the garden to the stables and out toward the pasture. The conversation opened with a discussion concerning the development of the automatic conveyor system which J.A.Bata had been working on. All of a sudden Thomas Bata raised the subject of who should be his successor. It came up in connection with the possibility of his becoming president of the Czech Republic. Thomas Bata said that being proprietor of the Bata enterprise was a job from which he must necessarily divorce himself if he were to enter the Presidency. J.A.Bata suggested Thomas J. Bata as his successor, but Thomas Bata was very definite in saying, “No, I want an able successor; I want you.” J.A.Bata then asked whether he intended that J.A.Bata should act as a trustee until Thomas was old enough to handle the business. Thomas Bata said, “No, only a full fledged owner can take care of the work” Thomas Bata siad that he would sell out completely to J.A.Bata, and that J.A.Bata would have adequate money to pay the purchase price when he became proprietor of the enterprise. Thomas Bata told J.A.Bata that he expected that J.A.Bata would not mention this conversation to anyone else. They then returned to the house. 1931 – Bata Employs 21,000 People Note: The above photo of Jan Bata (left), Cipera (second from left), and Tomas Bata (right) circa 1931.
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1932 – In the months before Tomas Bata’s death and due to pressure from the global depression, Tomas Bata was forced to fire 5,000 people in the Bata enterprise. Jan Bata was the key speaker at Thomas’ funeral in 1932. Through a carefully designed holographic will Jan both inherited and purchased all of his brother Thomas Bata’s business property; Thomas left enormous legacies for his only son Thomas and his wife Marie. Succeeding his brother Thomas, Jan’s first plan was to reinstate ALL of the employees who were fired by the end of the year. By the end of the year, Jan had succeeded and the Bata payroll was full again. Jan provided leadership for the Bata organization. About two months after Tomas’ death, Jan discussed the problem of reemploying the 5,000 workers who had been laid off in the spring by Tomas, Jan faced solid opposition by all of the Bata directors. They warned that the depression could hardly be beaten by a single company. Some of the directors even projected that another 5,000 workers would soon be unemployed. Jan Bata’s answer was heard all over Central Europe: “Gentlemen, I am telling you now that unless those 5,000 workers are back at work by Christmas, I will have seven men to replace you as my immediate directors and you will have the pleasure of tasting unemployment yourselves.” Two minutes later, all of the directors promised to do their best to carry out Jan’s plan.
1932 – The funeral of Thomas Bata, Jan’s promise when speaking at Tomas’ funeral. Jan begins purchase of business, completing deal through Tomas’ estate. By mid-1933 the deal is complete and Jan Bata is the new owner of Bata. Some people were critical that Tomas had sold his property and bequeathed to his widow and son only a few million dollars. But the widow and son declared under oath before the Probate Court that the transfer and purchase for 57 million crowns was valid and to their full satisfaction. The Public Prosecutor opined “So that was a good bargain for his brother, Jan.” Judge Kunc replied,
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“You are wrong, I would not have bought the business for fifty-sevenmillion-Czeco-crowns…not for twenty, nor for ten million Czecho-crowns. Do you know what it means to be responsible for 15,000 people in a depression? No, Sir: But I found that Tomas Bata had found a very sensible solution for taking care of everybody in the event of his death.”
From 1932, Jan Bata put in place plans to build Bata industrial cities around the world; in France, Holland, Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary, England, Switzerland, India, Singapore, and the United States. And within ten years, Jan had built the Bata business from a low point of 14,500 employees to more than 105,000 employees worldwide in seven years. 1932 – Bata Employs 16,000 People (5,000 Laid-off) 1932-1941 Bata Cities Erected by Jan Bata
Batov (Otrokovice) Czech Republic
Zruc Czech Republic
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Batovany Partizanske Slovakia
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1933 – Summer, an issue of a leading newspaper Moravska Orlice published an article on the situation in the Bata concern: “The responsibility that suddenly fell on the shoulders of Jan A. Bata upon the death of Tomas Bata was very heavy. But there is a man capable of bearing it. The way in which he has been able to tackle the problems and the speed with which he has brought operations under his control surprises even those who have known him for many years. It may be said that the appointment of Jan A. Bata as Chief Executive of the concern is the last surprise that Tomas Bata, true to his nature, prepared for his employees and all people concerned. Yet Tomas Bata, who was a severe judge and teacher of his men was well as aware of what he was doing when he “handed over his fiddle” to his brother, Jan. Jan A. Bata possesses the ability to inspire his colleagues with enthusiasm and loyalty as well as responsibility, so that under his leadership they will be able to make their way through thick and thin…” 1934 – “Zlin was in [a] water squeeze. Old Thomas tired to build the water needing sections like tanneries and paper mills in the marshy land in Batov [Otrokovice today] Repeatedly the river Moravia has destroyed buildings, dams and constructions. Now he [Thomas Bata] was dead. That blasted young fool Jan [Bata] has started again to build there. Fool, that [he] would not learn the lesson, which Morava taught Thomas. It was incredible, the he [Jan] could succeed. [A] procession from the Technical University in Brno came [to Batov] and the professors ridiculed Jan Bata’s attempt to tame the Morava river; “that 5 million dollars would have to be spent here before the plans could be effectuated, and Bata does not have them.” But, in 1934 the city of Batov was built and the professors were now leading the students to see how it was done. The Technical University in Brno by a vote of all 27 members of the academic senate compelled Jan Antonin Bata to accept a degree of Doctor of Technical Science. Jan Bata accepted this degree in 1938. Note: Photo above of Jan Bata with his executive team making decisions about the city of Batov, plans for the city are in front of them.
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The Construction of Batov (Otrokovice 1934 – 1936)
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1934 – Fighting unemployment: Jan Bata started the construction of a shipping canal from Batov [50 Kilometers long], an idea that the Austrian Empire aspired to as far back as 150 years. Politicians in Prague and Vienna had found the idea of building a shipping canal in Moravia incredible. By 1938, the Bata Canal with fourteen massive locks went into the shipping business. 1935 – Jan Bata publishes a book, “Building the Czech Nation to Support 40 Million People.” Many parts of this project have been implemented, especially the main highway and aqueduct system throughout the country.
Note: The above map is a plan from Jan Bata’s book Budujmestat from 1937. Part of the Czech highway system was constructed in 1938 and 1939. See more at the Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic at: http://www.rsd.cz/Road-network/History
1935 – Simplicissmus, a German publication depicts Jan Bata in a cartoon as “Rabbi Bata.” A year later, the Nazis forced Jan Bata to sell his German enterprises. The German propaganda attacks against Jan Bata continued up to the fall of 1938. In an article entitled, in time magazine, “the great Bata Shoe Co. of Zlin braced itself last week against a dire threat…Recent German2 press stories have declared: The Bata family are Czech Jews. ” Jan Bata and his family were in fact all of the Catholic faith. 1936 – Bata recognized as the #1 brand for shoes in the world; #7 for all other Bata products. In an article, entitled The World is Catching Up by Harry Riemer, Editor of the Daily News Record, We picked the Bata name as the seventh best known in the world, and by far the best known name in shoes. The great organization of Czechoslovakia has 2
Time Magazine, August 1938.
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a branch factory in India. We saw the Bata name in shoe stores in more places than we saw any other shoe name.3” 1937 – Jan Bata completes his triumphant first business trip around the world in his famous Lockheed Electra plane, flown by WWII ace Czech RAF Ace, Jan Sirhant. Upon Jan’s return to the Czechoslovakia in May of 1937, Jan Bata was greeted by more than 100,000[could be as high as 120,000] fans and employees in the town of Zlin.
Note: Photo above is Jan Bata with his Lockheed Electra that he used for his business trip around the world – completed on May 1st, 1937. Below is a photo of the reception in Zlin, Czechoslovakia for Jan Bata when he returned from his trip around the world. It is estimated that 120,000 people attended the May Day Festival upon his return.
1938-40 – Incredibly, Jan Bata helped more than 300-400 Czechoslovak families of Jewish decent to escape from the Nazis. Most of the families the Jan Bata aided, had escaped bringing their financial assets with them. Jan Bata, financially aided those who were not able to bring their financial assets.
Fairchild Publications Inc., New York 1936.
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Note: Photo below is of Jan Bata in 1938 at a typical Saturday meeting in Zlin. It was precisely a meeting like this that Mr. Bata explained to his Jewish employees how he would help them to escape from the Nazis.
knew from my late husband that sometime near the end of 1938, during one of the regular Saturday staff meetings, which my husband attended personally, Dr. Bata expressed his concern about the fate of the Jewish employes in his company and said he would have to do something to help them. Shortly afterwards, he started to send most of them and their families abroad, paying their transportation and giving them employment in different parts of the world. I knew personally that seventy to eighty Jewish families were sent in this manner from Czechoslovakia before March 15, 1939.â€? Marie Morgenstern
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1938 - Jan Bata completed his worldwide headquarters building, known as Building 21. This European skyscraper was the tallest building in Europe for decades. Unique to this building was that, Jan had his office in an elevator so that he could move from floor to floor to check on the various departments of the Bata Organization.
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1938-40 As Nazis Advance, the equipment and personnel for 20 complete Bata factories are sent out by railroad to points all over the world. By February of 1939, final twelve factories are transported out of the Czech Protectorate including: Africa, Asia, South America, North and Central America, Hungary, Eastern Karpathia, Slovakia and Poland. [1937-38] Czech Bata pilots to defend the republic later flew for the RAF. Training pilots, Czech government had a quota for the Zlin area of 7 pilots, Jan delivered 250 of them. Note: Some of the Bata pilots below escaped from Czechoslovakia and flew for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The number of Bata pilots who flew for the allies was nearly 100. In the photo below, the Bata pilots are waiting to welcome their Chief, Jan A. Bata from his trip around the world.
1938 – When the Czech Government called for gifts for the National Defense and some jittery bankers tried to sabotage it. Jan Bata did the incredible. He focused his skills on exceeding the 1 billion crowns requested to be surpassed by 500 million crowns. Jan Bata and has coworkers were the largest donors, giving more than 1 million dollars; not in bonds, nor redeemable, but as a gift. 1939 – In seven years, Jan Bata had 100 patents registered under his leadership; many of the patents for shoemaking equipment were in his name. 1939 – Jan Bata escapes from Nazis with family on excuse of visiting the Worlds Fair in New York; relocates headquarters to the United States. Note: Bata glass display at the Worlds Fair in New York 1939, made by the famous Czechoslovak glassmakers with 50,000 pieces of hand cut glass. Jan Bata toward left, Jan Bata center, modern Bata village to the right.
1938 – November, Jan Bata Arrested by the Gestapo. He was taken off the train and brought to the Nazi headquarters. See Jan’s notes, he was asked 50 times, “Are you a Jew?, If not, why not?”
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1939 – Passage Back to Zlin, March 1939 Jan Bata, “I did talk to Osusky [Czechoslovakia’s highest official, stationed in France after abdication of President Benes and others]. With him I conferred. His opinion was, to wait it out until the situation will become clear. I trusted Osusky for while other diplomats, almost all of them handed over offices to the Nazis, Osusky did not. He warned me to be sensible, pointing out the danger for my enterprises, and my people, giving as example the fate of the Kprivnice Tatra factory’s Czech workers, where that Czech town was Germanized within six months. I decided to follow his advise. No question was reflected about my going back to Zlin, otherwise in Paris. This in spite of the constant call from Prague, Zlin and Berlin trying to ascertain where I was for the purpose of demanding my return. Czechoslovakia was to become [the] Protectorate [of] Bohemia and Moravia and my enterprises would be confiscated and my4 people spread all over Germany in order to be Germanized. ” “Seeing my resolution was not to return, the Germans phoned to Berlin to find some way which would make me change my mind. In separated groups, I discussed with individual members as they did between themselves for almost a day. Finally Dr. Ludwig, the only organized Nazi present and my German Lawyer, Vavrecka, and Muska have set down conditions for a safe conduct draft for the Authorities in Berlin. The document is in Wilmington. Its meaning was that besides safe conduct for me, most of my people have been included in the freedoms and assurances; and would not suffer any persecution. We all would be free to attend undisturbed to our business in the way we did heretofore…being free to travel, etc.”
When complete, Vavrecka accompanied them to Berlin. I recall there were: Dr. Ludwig, Mahnkopf, Dr. Lewinsky, Victor Schmidt. I have set out to Holland, in my Lockheed plane. The next day, they have come back to Holland with the safe conduct confirmed in some simple way, which did not exactly correspond with the original demand. That gave me the claim that it really was not satisfactory and thus resist. Finally, Dr. Ludwig, who really did put his head out for me, in tears said that anyone in the Reich would be happy to have anything near such an official assurance. I saw General Spears there and asked his opinion. He told me clearly that he does not see that I could do anything else but to go back to Zlin. The war won’t start this year, 4
Jan Bata letter to Henry Cohen, 5/2/1956.
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maybe not the next. You would, hand in the in the air, regretting the opportunity you have missed in regularizing the situation now. When I asked whether the British will do anything to fulfill their pledges in Munich, he smiled and said, I should know that that would be impossible. He said, he agrees with Benes and Masaryk. I told him what Masaryk had told me. I don’t remember exactly where I did speak with Jan [Masaryk] Seeing that he was then in the USA, I wonder whether I did not talk with him by telephone, for there is in my mind a conviction that I heard him say: “You are an industrialist, not a politician. Eddy /Benes/ thinks too, that you should go back. When I asked whether he thinks that I should go into the Wolf’s teeth, he said that ‘somebody has to stay back there.’” A typical example of a Bata employee who had escaped due to the risk Jan Bata took for this coworkers was Friedrich Ludwig Eisenstein, a Jewish Bataman from Zlin, Czech Republic. Eisenstein began working for the Bata Shoe Company in 1929 in Zlin, Moravia. According to a Google search engine account, “Bata Senior saved his life by sending him to the Congo to open up a Bata shoe shop. In 1938 he left Prague, crossed Germany and waited a week at the Belgium port of Antwerp for the boat to travel to the Belgian Congo…the radio announced that the borders of the Czech Republic/Germany had been taken over by the Gestapo…a week later he wouldn’t have made it.” Eisenstein was held in custody by allied forces when he arrived in the Congo because he was traveling with a Reichpass (Reich passport) from Austria. 1940 – Black List Ministry of Economic Warfare, Blacklisting of Jan Bata from Moment Churchill Government in Place 1941 – Bata Organization Employs 105 Thousand People 1932-1940 Building new Bata cities outside of Czechoslovakia India, Batanagar
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United States of America, Belcamp, Maryland
1937 – International Labor Review, Yugoslavia, Borovo
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“Conclusion. The study previously published by the Office on the undertaking in Zlin ended with the conclusion that it would be impossible to predict a priori what the Bata system would become “in another’s hands or applied to another environment or at another time…That all of this could be achieved appears to justify an affirmative answer to the question implied in the introduction: Would the Bata System flourish on Yugoslav ground. But in giving such an answer, a reservation must be made – Borovo is not really “in another’s hands…another environment, or at another time…The management of this undertaking has been in the hands of a man acting in the spirit, on the principles, and according to the methods of Zlin, and with its machines and its processes.”
Note: There were a number of other planned Bata cities not included here, as well as many, many major buildings built by him in Czech and Slovakia and around the world. 1938-1945 Jan Bata finances Czechoslovak resistance giving million of dollars to Czech government in Exile and Allied Cause. 1940-45 - Jan Bata Builds Industry in Brazil; Note: Photo above from city in the jungle created by Jan Bata called Mariapolis, named after his wife, circa 1944. The population of this city grew to more than 10,000 people.
Originally, the Brazilian land was to be used to build up a raw materials base for Zlin, but this plan got modified during the war to a base for European refugees. The Brazilian tracts of land were used to create the last of the Bata cities with war refugees from Europe. It is said that as many as 100,000 men and women took advantage of this cheap land in Bata cities: Batatuba, Bataypora (photo to right), Bataguassu (photo below), Mariapolis, Nova Andradina the better known Bata cities. In a book
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Jan Bata wrote on migration, he explained that his idea was to create tens-of-thousands of capitalists in the jungles of Brazil. Note: Photos of Bataypora and Bataguassu are from Miroslav Ivanov’s book Saga.
Note: Image above is a design by Jan Bata for the city of Batatuba, Sao Paulo, Brazil circa 1940.
1944 – Slovak Uprising against occupation begins at Batovany August, 29th under the command of Bata director, Captain Josef Trojan
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1951 – Jan A. Bata Receives Medal from Pope Pious XII. 1957 – Jan A. Bata, Candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize 1965 – Jan Bata died on August 23, 1965. On his deathbed, Jan wrote on a piece of paper, “the truth will float up like oil on water,” his hand then ran off the page and he passed on. Jan Bata’s dream was to expand the size of the Bata organization to 400,000 to 500,000 Bata men and women all over the world. Jan thought that he would continue the business up to 200,000 people.
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Growth of Bata Organization prepared by Prof., Dr. Frederick Hausmann, Geneva, Switzerland
ÂŠ John Nash 2012
Bata: Shoe Production Czechoslovakia
Tomas Bata’s Ideal “Thomas Bata said to me on one occasion that his concrete ideal was the manufacture of 100,000 pairs of shoes daily. This concrete formulation of our ideals is what every one of us needs, in every branch of work.5” Thomas Garrigue Masaryk President of the Czechoslovak Republic Year 1894 1900 1910 1915 1920 1925 1930 1932 1933 1934 1936 1937 1938
Pairs per day 50 300 3000 5,000 8,000 25,000 82,000 144,000 166,000 166,000 170,000 176,000 180,600
Bata: Number of Employees Year 1894 1900 1910 1915 1920 1925 1930 1932 1933 1934 1942
Employees 50 120 1,500 2,000 2,200 5,200 12,300 18,200 17,800 22,050 105,570
Interview with Ivan Krsic in Prague on December 28, 1929.
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Books by or about Jan Antonin Bata Spoluprace by J.A.Bata (1935) Budujmestat pro 40,000,000 Lidi by J.A.Bata (1937) Za Obchoden Kolem Sveta by J.A.Bata (1937) Prumyslove Mesto by J.A.Bata (1939) Saga o Zivote a smrti Jan Bati a jeho bratra Tomase by Miroslav Ivanov(1998) Tezke Casy by J.A.Bata (2008) Jan Antonín Baťa: Uloupené dílo 1900-1945 (2012) Jan Antonín Baťa: Román života (2009)
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