Gevorg Avetisjan

* 1959

  • “So, I did it. I came home, told my family: ‘Look, took the luggage, we have to sell the flat.’ I already did not have any money, there were no contracts during the last years. They asked me whether I have a job there. They all said I am psycho. I do not know, I was completely hypnotized at that time. I packed up the luggage, took kids – the younger one had not walked yet at that time, the older one was three years old – and mother and wife and we flew to Moscow. And by train right to Ostrava. We arrived there at two in the night. We got off at the main train station and my mom said: ‘So what? No one is going to meet us?’ And I told her I do not know anyone here and that we will find a hotel. There were taxi drivers. I rented two of them. They brough us to the Chemik hotel. It was a cruel cold, it was minus ten degrees Celsius, wind. We came to the hotel, I rented two rooms, we lived there and waited what is going to happen. Everyday I paid three and half thousand for two rooms. I did not have huge fortune. And my family expected I will make some programme, a surprise. I did not want to disappoint them. I told myself: ‘For how long will I make fools of them?’”

  • “Bring tomorrow, ok? So, my sister baked. I bought three boxes and wrote on them with a fix – honey cake. I tell it in brief – everyone wanted three daily. A that time I already had the courage to offer to other cafés. And my sister still baked at home in a small kitchen unit. I took first two cakes and went to Ostrava. I told myself that it would be better in a bigger city. I gave the cakes to the café and nothing happed in next two days. Then the owner called that he urgently needs me to bring one cake. I told him I will bring it and I went with one cake from Frýdek to Ostrava. I knew I was losing money because of the travel but I told myself that over time it will be better. I arrived home and the second one from the café called that he urgently needs another one. I told him that he has to wait, but he answered that he will not take it if I bring it late. So, two hours later I again took a cake and brough it there. I told my sister that we need to make a stockpile that she should bake more and put them aside that they will perhaps sell. And she: ‘What if they won’t? Should we throw such costs to the bin?’”

  • “I told my sister to try to bake our favourite honey cake which is an Armenian speciality. We had a family recipe. We put it into a pasteboard and put a Frýdek-Místek newspapers over it. There was a bar in Frýdek which was run by my friend. I came to him and asked him whether he would like to try homemade cake. He: ‘What is it?’ Me: ‘Honey cake, try it, you will see.’ He said it should be at least hygienic, in a box. I told him: ‘Look, I do not know whether you sell, but a box costs twenty korunas and I cannot invest. After you sell, I next time do it.’ I practically gave him it for free to try it. It was a huge cake, one kilo and half. Imagine, I gave it to him at ten in the morning and he called me at three in the afternoon that not even a crumb is left over and that I should bring another one. I told him that it is not possible that we need to prepare it, it will be the next day. It is really hard to prepare the honey cake.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Ostrava, 19.11.2021

    duration: 02:05:27
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Ostrava, 05.01.2022

    duration: 01:11:55
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Every Armenian has a victim of genocide in their family

Gevorg Avetisjan, 1975
Gevorg Avetisjan, 1975
photo: archiv pamětníka

Gevorg Avetisjan was born on 10 April 1959 in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. His great-grandfather, who was an owner of prospering factory producing confection in Turkey, was killed by Turks during the Armenian genocide. He studied at the university of industry, aesthetics and design at Yerevan. He had a prospering company which designed interiors and produced furniture. When the war for Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out in 1990s, the living conditions in Yerevan worsened significantly and his business ceased to flourish. He decided to settle down in the Czech Republic which he knew only from one visit and his uncle’s stories. In 1995 he came to Ostrava. With his mother, wife and two small sons he lived in a boarding house and could not find a job. Out of despair he started to run a bar in Frýdek-Místek, but his business in this field did not flourish. Moreover, he made his living for his sister and her children who came to him. He got an idea to offer an Armenian honey cake, which was baked by his sister, to his friend who owned a restaurant. Over some time, a huge demand for the cake arose. He supplied more and more restaurants with the cake and hired employees for its production. He patented the brand Marlenka and established a modern factory producing confection in Frýdek-Místek. Nowadays he exports to more than fifty countries, the company has annual turnover around six million Czech korunas, he employs three hundred people and monthly he uses up fifteen tons of honey in the production. He was repeatedly awarded for his business success.