THE DESCENDANTS of Jan Antonín Baťa, one of the wealthiest men in former Czechoslovakia, are seeking compensation from the Slovak state for property that was confiscated from them after the Second World War.
“The Finance Ministry received a request for setting and providing compensation for the nationalised property of the Baťa concern in Slovakia,” the ministry’s press department told the SITA newswire, adding that the ministry is currently analysing the request.
The Baťa family owned four industrial centres in Slovakia, in Partizánske, Svit, Nové Zámky and Bošany. The company also owned Pravenec, the Poprad airport, and Bojnice Castle.
After the war, the state confiscated their property and nationalised it, based on a court ruling from 1947 which also convicted Jan Antonín Baťa in absentia to 15 years in prison for his alleged cooperation with the Nazis. The court ruling was based on one of the decrees of then-president Edvard Beneš, SITA wrote.
The famous shoemaking company was founded by Tomáš Baťa, who later died in a plane crash. His step-brother, Jan Antonín Baťa, took over the firm in 1932. Under his leadership the company experienced a boom and became a market leader. At the time when the company’s property was nationalised, its assets were estimated at about 50 billion Czechoslovak crowns, according to the Pravda daily.
The Municipal Court in Prague cancelled the verdict 60 years later, and in May 2013 it was also cancelled by the Slovak courts.
The Baťa family now wants compensation for its property, amounting to about €1 billion, according to SITA.
If their request is successful, the Baťa family want to invest the money in Slovakia, mostly in education and in top technologies. They are also considering establishing a university, which would carry the name of Jan Antonín Baťa. If their request proves unsuccessful, they are prepared to sue Slovakia.
23. Sep 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff