Dolores Baťa Arambasic

* 1948

  • "He said that when the World War I broke out, maybe you know it better than I do, that they used to make shoes for soldiers that were not made of leather but of canvas, and he was thinking, 'Jesus Christ, how are we going to do it here, now what's going to happen, I have to [make] these boots somehow.´ So he decided to go to Vienna and offer boots for soldiers. But why? Because they needed to work, right? And they managed, and they started working, they started making boots, five thousand, and I don't know what else. And some people came from Austria to do the fiscal check, the inspection, and [asked] if he had the possibility to make the boots, 'Well, I do, my people are here, we work here.' And the man looked around: ' Where's the prison?' 'What?' 'The prison! If someone doesn't want to work, he has to go to prison.' And my uncle looked at him and said, 'But you know, we don't need it here.'"

  • "At that time my mother and another aunt were studying in England. My grandmother, young Jan and aunt Maří were at home. And the factory people were secretly planning the escape. Because of the Germans, they had to figure out a way to get out. And my mother told me, I'm not sure how it actually happened, but the first time they wanted to leave, it was ready, they were already in the car, but the Germans caught them and forced them to come back. So they had to make a second plan to get abroad. And that was planned through Slovakia. They got to Yugoslavia and then from Yugoslavia to France. My grandfather went to England to get his two daughters, that was my mother and aunt Anna. Aunt Edit was here. And so he went to get his daughters until they all met in France and went to America on the ship In The Frost. And Aunt Edit, the third daughter, she was, I think, about twelve years old at the time, and there wasn't much room in the car. So Grandma sent her with a driver to Hungary and in Hungary, you can imagine, alone - and in Hungary they waited for her and drove her to get to her dad. It had to be well organized so that nothing bad could happen. She told us that she was on the train. The train stopped suddenly and she got scared and said, 'Damn!' She saw soldiers there, so she hid at the toilet. As she was thin, they got on the train and one of the soldiers opened the door to the toilet. But she was so thin and so small, he couldn't see her at all. And then she waited for the door to close and then she waited for the train to move and she went to sit down."

  • "Look, and it's not because I'm his granddaughter, but I think he is the world's greatest entrepreneur in my eyes. Because for him the most important was a human being. Once a great architect asked him, I don't know if it was an architect or a businessman, asked him, `Mr. Baťa, you build empires, don't you? ' And he said, 'No, I build a man,' and that's true, because for example, in Brazil, he built four cities, two in the state of São Paulo and two in the state of Mato Grosso. You have to imagine that the three hundred thousand hectares that Baťa company bought in the year nineteen thirty-seven or thirty-eight, that was a jungle. Just jungle, there was nothing there. There was a huge river that was about two and a half kilometers wide and the only thing that floated there was some freeboat, carrying little cars and little trucks across the river and Jan thought, 'Well, let's build a bridge,' and that was in 1950. So he went all the way to the republic to talk to the president. That took him sixteen years. Until the bridge was built."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Zlín, 09.03.2022

    duration: 01:40:25
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - STM REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Never say something cannot be done

Dolores Bata Arambasic on her home farm in Brazil
Dolores Bata Arambasic on her home farm in Brazil
photo: Archive of Markéta Pilátová

Dolores Ljiljana Bata Arambasic was born on 10 June 1948 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Her grandfather was Jan Antonín Baťa, a famous factory owner. Dolores grew up in Batatuba, a town that Jan Antonín Baťa built literally on a green field. Her grandfather’s presence strongly influenced her thinking and attitudes. Dolores witnessed how Jan Antonín Bata coped with the layers of injustice and half-truths that had been building up since the beginning of the World War II. Dolores Bata Arambasic experienced an attack by communist guerrillas in 1964 after the military junta took over, burning down the family’s garage and car. During the 1980s, she studied advocacy at several universities. As her grandfather was labelled a traitor and [Nazi] collaborator during his absence from Czechoslovakia, and the regime sentenced him to 15 years in prison and confiscation of all his property, Dolores was afraid to visit his homeland. Eventually, she resolved to fly to Prague in the 1980s. She also visited Gottwaldov (Zlín), which her ancestors had built. In 2000, Dolores Bata Arambasic, with the help of her family, tried to reach the rehabilitation of her grandfather, which actually happened after seven years of court trials. In 2022, efforts were being made by the Bata family to reclaim the nationalised J. A. Baťa´s villa, which, if returned, would be the seat of the Jan Antonín Baťa´s Foundation. Dolores Bata Arambasic was in 2022 living in the Brazilian town of Bataypora, founded by her grandfather. Together with her daughter Guimar, she runs the family farm; her other two daughters, Ludmila and Roberta, work in other fields.