Georgina Steinsky

* 1949  

  • "There is now a trend of populism in the United States and Europe, the closing down of international institutions. The threat to liberal democracy worries me. But I hope that people will realize the values of liberal democracy that people like Havel have created here. And we must not underestimate the the environment behaviour. One of your presidents said that there is no warming - global warming, climate change. We have to be careful about those values. But I try to be optimistic and I believe that these people will stick to those values." (01:38:59 - 01:40:54).

  • "The only thing we can do here is to take a smaller factory and create retail chains and import shoes to the Czech Republic. That's how the concept of the returning started. 22 stores and then more. Then was the second part of the debate. Tomas wanted it back and didn't want to pay for it. We negotiated with Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Vlasák and Minister of Industry Mr. Vrba. We cannot abolish Beneš's decrees. I understood that. So, the only way how to do it was that we would price it and you would buy it back. Which we finally did, and in December 1991, a contract was signed. They kept a 30% share for 5 years and one small factory, which was never Baťa´s, somewhere in Moravia. This is how the Baťa company started operating here." (01:20:55 - 01:22:50).

  • "So, I was lucky to work in the state administration for 17 years, I worked not only in that history, but in the policies of medium and small businesses, in economic affairs and I was finally the first woman on such a post in the 80s. There were about 5 of us in total. I became the Deputy Minister of a large ministry. We were in charge of purchasing for the state administration, administrative services. So, I had a very interesting job for those 17 years, but it didn't affect my Czech roots at all." (45:43 -46:54)

  • "There was a day when we secretly met as a family in Prague. We came by train. There was a delay. Each one of us had two suitcases. We were travelling already at night. The smuggler was afraid, he had all the guards bribed. He was afraid they would change the shift. We were travelling by a box truck. He let us out about 500 meters before the border. My cousin and I had a cough, they gave us some medicine so we wouldn't cough when we were crossing the border. We were walking and my mom froze completely. She stopped. She realized what was happening that she leaves her homeland. And she told me later that I actually saved her when I saw everyone moving forward. Mom, Mom we have to go, they are getting ahead of us. When I pulled her hand, somehow she got out of that fear and we went to that Germany." (09:35 - 12:07).

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Studio ED Hradec Králové, 01.06.2019

    (audio)
    duration: 01:41:19
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - HRK REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Under communism, the society lost the notion of giving, patronage and volunteering because people were forced to

Georgina Sehnoutka Steinsky was born in Hradec Králové on June 16, 1946 as Jiřina Steinská. Her father Jan Steinsky Sehnoutka was born in Černožice. Her mother Jiřina Kohoutová was born in Litoměřice. The grandfather of the witness Rudolf Steinsky Sehnoutka owned five textile factories. The grandfather Jaroslav’s wife was the daughter of Cyril Barton of Dobenín, an important businessman in the textile industry. All textile companies and all the property were nationalized after the war. After February 1948, almost the entire family decided to emigrate. They illegally moved to the Federal Republic of Germany and eventually ended up in Toronto, Canada. Her grandfather, father and uncle set up a company in Canada to supply net curtains and curtains, especially to schools, hospitals, and rental houses. The business which supported the whole family. Georgina Steinsky studied history at the University of Toronto. She worked for 17 years in the state administration in the field of policy for medium and small entrepreneurs. She was the first woman to become a deputy minister of a large federal ministry. After 1989, she worked for the company Baťa, where she organized the company’s first acquisition in Czechoslovakia. From 1993 to 1995, she was the general director of Baťa stores in the Czech Republic. Then she returned to Canada, but she regularly travels to the Czech Republic. She is involved in the Civil Society Development Foundation and in various other non-profit projects. Georgina Steinsky received the Gratias Agit award in 2018. This award is given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, especially directly by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, “for spreading the good name of the Czech Republic abroad.”