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The Secret Funding of the Slovak Uprising The Worlds Fair - New York It was on May 7th, 1939, weeks after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovak exhibit, nearly complete was preserved as a “Patriotic Symbol” in defiance to German aggression. In fact, the title of an article from that day read, “CZECH EXHIBIT HELD AS PATRIOTIC SYMBOL;” the Czechoslovak people in their pavilion are a patriotic symbol of resistance to the Reich. The maintenance of Czechoslovakia’s pavilion at the World's Fair symbolizes Czechoslovakia's determination to regain her freedom from Germany.1 A little known fact is that Jan Bata (photo above), Chairman of the Board and owner of Bata A.S., Zlin and owner of all international Bata firms was featured in the “Hymn of Work” display that told the story of Bata. Within months of the opening of the Worlds Fair, Jan Bata and his family had cleverly escaped Nazi detention in Zlin and the grip of the Nazis. Arriving in New York in late June 1939, visited the Czechoslovakian exhibit at the Worlds Fair. For Czechoslovakia, the key exhibition featured the Bata glass display made with 50,000 pieces of stained glass depicting the Bata story by Czechoslovakian glass artisans. Although the Bata exhibit did not have the shoe displays for 1939 as they were blocked in Zlin never to be displayed at the Worlds Fair2 Exposition. As a gesture to the Czechoslovak resistance, Jan Bata purchased the remains of Czechoslovak Pavilion for $32,000, a structure that had no monetary value. It was a worthless structure that when purchased was transported to the Bata factory in Belcamp, Maryland and dumped as waste. The only reason for purchasing it was that it was the “Symbol of Czechoslovak Resistance” and a way to help his people. The photo below is of the Czechoslovak Pavilion at the 1939 Worlds Fair in New York.


New York Times article dated May 7th, 1939 The Bata Shoe exhibit from Worlds Fair is still on display at the the is on display at Obuvnicke Muzeum Zlin, Czech Republic. Copyright 2008, John Nash 2

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Photo: Czechoslovak Pavillion at the 1939 Worlds Fair.

Photo - Bata Story, Glass Exhibit at the 1939 Worlds Fair, Entitled “The Hymn of Work�

It is important to understand the complex network of secret underground activities sponsored by Jan Antonin Bata and for the purpose of liberating Czechoslovakia. To do this, it is first necessary to understand why Dr. Bata spent so much effort concealing his ownership of the Bata businesses within a network of interlocking holding companies; and why he set up these companies up in areas outside of German control or influence. At the time when the war began, Jan Bata was considered to be one of the richest men in the world, representing one of the Best known brands in the world. Dr. Bata did not want the Nazis to learn that Bata organization was 100% owned by him, nor did he want the organization to fall into German or used for their war effort. So he set up a complex network of ownership through interlocking holding companies, with his Lieutenants representing him through proxy. Once this holding company structure was safely operating, Dr. Bata was free to operate and continue managing his resistance efforts unnoticed for the benefit of the Czechoslovak people, and outside of German influence. Dr. Bata did this through Lieutenants in America such as Frank Muska, his top financial officer. It was Muska who carried out resistance operations for Dr. Bata Copyright 2008, John Nash This document may be reproduced, provided the proper acknowledgments are used.

around the world with Dr. Bata’s approval and tacit support. Dr. Bata through his companies and Lieutenants like Muska, provided some of the largest private donations to the Czechoslovak resistance in 1940 from outside of Czechoslovak territory. Jan Bata’s donations were directed towards E.Benes in London in the amount of 1,000,000 (1939 French Francs) and another million French Francs to Stefan Osusky, Czechoslovakia’s highest ranking official stationed in France to help reorganize the Czech Army to help defend France. Bata companies throughout the world participated in monthly financial donations to the Czechoslovak government in exile throughout the war; delivering boots for the Czechoslovak Army [5,000 pairs] in Russia, and even delivering two Spitfires [at a cost of one million U.S. dollars] for the Czechoslovak Airforce in London [nearly 100 Bata pilots served in the RAF]. Other types of contributions included a significant contribution to rebuilding the bombed out house of the Czechoslovak Air Force in London to the tune of $140,000 equivalent U.S. dollars. Donations to maintain the Czechoslovak Consulate in Bombay, India in the equivalent amount of USD $300,000 Other material support for the Czechoslovak government in exile included rebuilding Donations to the Czechoslovak resistance during World War II amount to many millions of dollars. The situation inside Czechoslovakia was a little different required other changes to conceal the ownership picture of Bata. This was due to a series of German decrees written in late 1939 whereby any Czechoslovak who owned property and who was not living in the Protectorate would face the immediate confiscation of their business. It was crucial that this not happen, so Dr. Bata from the United States designed a trust agreement with his Zlin trustees so that the Bata Works would not fall into the Germans hands. The directors were operating as proxies for Jan Bata made up of five directors: Josef Hlavnicka, Dominik Cipera, Hugo Vavrecka, Hynek Bata, and Frank Malota. From the time that Dr. Bata escaped from Czechoslovakia, until May of 1943, Josef Hlavnicka was the lead director of the Bata concern.

Copyright 2008, John Nash This document may be reproduced, provided the proper acknowledgments are used.

Only after Hlavnicka’s untimely death did Cipera become the lead director of Bata operations in Czechoslovakia. Dr. Bata’s directors understood that his departure was necessary to protect Jan Bata’s departure and due to his ownership of the entire world organization, all agreed that Jan would leave to develop the resistance efforts outside of Czechoslovakia. And that the directors of Zlin would become the leaders of the resistance inside of Czechoslovakia. This is confirmed in a letter from Jan Bata in 1946 in which he states that he assigned to Cipera in June of 1939 to set up the Czechoslovak underground and to connect up with the exiled authorities in London. Frank Malota was the only director of Bata who had permission to leave the country. He would pass messages to London via connections in Switzerland and other countries and bring messages from London to the resistance (Czech and Slovak). Ing. Malota was also the director who delivered 5,000,000 Kcs. to the Slovak Resistance just prior to the Slovak Uprising. It is further noted that During the first two weeks of the Slovak Uprising, the Slovak resistance was confronted with a heavy challenge whereby German forces including: 19th Lettland S.S. Division, the 20th Estland S.S. Division (which was disbursed throughout the Nitra area), the 108th Infantry, and the 68th Infantry Division were deployed across Slovakia. On August 29th, 1944, the Slovak Nation started a grass roots uprising that started in Batovany, Slovakia; a town founded by Jan Antonin Bata of Zlin, Czech Republic. The purpose of this armed rebellion was for the liberty and freedom of the former Czechoslovakia. For more than two months after the German invasion of Slovakia, the Slovakian resistance forces held off the two German Panzer divisions and infantry divisions. Batovany played one of the most important parts in the Slovak National Uprising. “All [of] the members of the enterprise were engaged in the rebellion under the leadership of Captain Josef Trojan (photo above). Bata employees fought against the intruders directly from their workshops with arms in hand.2” In order to understand 2

Bata A.S., Slovakia pamphlet from 1938 - 1948. English section. Copyright 2008, John Nash This document may be reproduced, provided the proper acknowledgments are used.

the full impact of the Bata/Batovany contribution to the uprising, one has to remember that from Captain Troyan’s (photo to the right) brigade, 160 members perished. According to the testimony of Dr. Vavro Srobar, Czechoslovak Finance Minister after the war from the trial of Jan Bata’s, Zlin Director, D. Cipera [following instructions given to him by Jan Bata], the court found the following facts to be proved. According to Minister Srobar, “the attempts to collect money from Slovakia were not successful3.” The resistance was unable to collect the funds necessary from rich Slovaks, nor were they able to collect the money from the Slovak bank as had been promised just prior to the uprising…Srobar, through a connection in the intelligence community, learned from Alois Stvan, a Bata man where the money could be found to fund the Slovak Uprising. Alios Stvan “told Minister Srobar that it [the money] would be from the Bata Works in Slovakia…Minister Srobar “agreed to the proposed plan and after some days Stvan, Malota and Lepik came and brought Kcs. 5,000,000 in a suitcase…When [Dr. Srobar] asked how it was possible for the [Bata] company to give so much money, Stvan, Malota, and Lepik smiled and said that Zlin was informed4. ” Earlier attempts to acquire the money from the Czechoslovak Government in Exile in London had not been successful, but Alois Stvan informed them that Bata had given them the means and “now they were to be used5.” Further funds were given to the Slovak Uprising by the by the Bata manager in SVIT to Lepik and Hynek. Further, “Vavro Srobar confirmed to the National Court6 that without the financial support just mentioned [from Bata], the preparations for the Uprising would not have been possible as far as they involved the organization of Underground National Committees, and confirmed that this support was given without reservations or conditions.” The National Court considers as proved by the above mentioned statements of Jan Lepik and Ladislav Hynek that…a total sum of about Kcs. 7,970,000 was given for illegal activity for the support of partisan and political groups’ resistance. This statement was attested to by the organizers of the underground movement in the area of Tatry: by Dr. Lud. Lincenyi, a member of the National Assembly; J. Kotocek, the Chairman of the District 3

D.Cipera Trial 1947, page 185 English translation. Ibid., page 186. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. Copyright 2008, John Nash 4

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National Committee in Poprad.” The first 5 million Crowns were used to organize the Slovak Uprising through an organization called HELA from which 843 National Committees were created to organize the national rebellion. In a report entitled, “The Revolt in Slovakia,” marked TOPSECRET found in the archives of Jan Papanek, then information Minister of the Czech Government-in-Exile, operating in the United States. In Section 4 of the report entitled The Propagandist Campaign of the Bratislava Government. During the period of weeks from August 29th, 1944, the Slovak government engaged in a propaganda effort in Bratislava as the Slovak Uprising began to unfold. The propaganda broadcasts on September 2nd 1944 by Tido Gaspar’s propaganda broadcast7 stated: “that it was the aim of certain reactionary capitalists to reduce Slovakia to Slavery again. Supported by the power of gold “they enlisted henchmen of the nation for the reactionary restoration of the former Czechoslovak Republic and for the overthrow of the Slovak State. By September 9th Bratislava announcers stated “The partisans are recruited from mostly from members of the so-called upper and middle classes, while workers have for the greater part declared their fidelity to State and nation. The best example of this is offered by the Bata works where nearly all of the officials joined the rebel gangs.” Repeating in the same broadcast the Donau-Zeesen broadcasting station in Bratislava said “that the partisans consist only of upper class persons such as officials of the Bata works.” This information clearly shows that the occupation Government was fully aware where Bata management stood with respect to the occupation of Slovakia, and that the propagandists could give of a firm working with the rebellion was Bata, with its Slovak headquarters in Batovany.


Ibid. Copyright 2008, John Nash This document may be reproduced, provided the proper acknowledgments are used.

Photo: Captain Josef Trojan (above), Resistance Leader Batovany and Jan Bata’s Top Director for All of Slovakia.

After the retreat from Bystrice, about 250 widows and orphans were left in Batovany. All of these orphaned families were taken care of by the Bata company in Slovakia. About 435 men from Batovany (Partizanske) served in the Slovak resistance.

TouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7Dpk ZQFLT4 Photo: Bata men prepare for battle on a machine gun armed Bata truck during Slovak Uprising

It is interesting to note that it was Jan Bata’s company that provided the funds so desperately needed to enable the Slovak Uprising to take place on August 29th, 1944. This was a desperate time when other rich people in Slovakia did not contribute, and the banks did not contribute, and the Czech Government in Exile did not contribute. It is also interesting to note that the town that Jan Bata designed and built with his own money called BATOVANY was renamed to Partizanske – To commemorate what the Batovany partisans had done for the Slovak Uprising.

Copyright 2008, John Nash This document may be reproduced, provided the proper acknowledgments are used.

Photo: Bata men exiting the factory at Batovany.

It is even more interesting that Jan Bata’s company located in Batovany was renamed to ZDA [Zåvody 29 Augusta] to commemorate the date when the Slovak Uprising took place August 29th, 1944. The last and most important point is this; that after Jan Bata made significant economic contributions to Slovakia, and his firm made the crucial economic contribution to make the Slovak Uprising possible. This not one word of these great deeds has become public knowledge in Slovakia.

Photo: Bata men having retreated into the hills around Batovany.

Besides the Slovakian Government never acknowledging the true history of the Slovak Uprising - The Slovak Government is rejecting attempts by Jan Antonin Bata’s family to give moral satisfaction for the great deeds he did for the liberty and freedom of the Slovakian people.

Greetings, I have prepared this article for the anniversary of the Slovak Uprising to demonstrate that Jan Bata and his companies had only the best interests of the Slovak nation in mind, and that they played a crucial role in liberating Slovakia from the German occupation. On June 11th, 1999, a letter was written to me by the then Slovak, Prime Minister, Mikulas Dzurinda, in which he said, "Dear Mr. Nash, Your Copyright 2008, John Nash This document may be reproduced, provided the proper acknowledgments are used.

grandfather was the biggest entrepreneur and with his activities, his name should be written with GOLDEN LETTERS in the history of the industrialized Slovakia." It is also important to point out to the Slovak people that Jan Bata’s enterprises have always benefited the people of Slovakia and have honorably served the national interest. With best personal regards, John Nash Grandson of Jan Antonin Bata

Copyright 2008, John Nash This document may be reproduced, provided the proper acknowledgments are used.

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21. sz. dokumentum - Bata and Slovak Uprising 1944  


21. sz. dokumentum - Bata and Slovak Uprising 1944