About this Famous Person
Thomas J. BATA
Founder of the Bata Shoe Company
Source : Jean Hervé FAVRE
Baťa was born in the Czech city of Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic, the son of Czech industrialist Tomáš Baťa. As a boy he apprenticed under his father, Tomáš Sr., who began the T. & A. Bata Shoe company in 1894 in Zlín, Czechoslovakia. His father, however, was killed in a plane crash when Tomáš was only 17, in 1932. Baťa's origin surname is Batia.
Tomáš J. Baťa attended school in Czechoslovakia, England and Switzerland. Anticipating the Second World War, he, together with over 100 families from Czechoslovakia, moved to Canada in 1939 to develop the Bata Shoe Company of Canada, including a shoe factory and engineering plant, centered in a town that still bears his name, Batawa, Ontario. Tomáš J. BaŤa successfully established and ran the new Canadian operations and during the war years he sought to maintain the necessary coordination with as many of the overseas Bata operations as was possible. During this period the Canadian engineering plant manufactured strategic components for the Allies and Thomas J. Bata worked together with the government in exile of President Benes and other democratic powers. With the end of the war the Bata company in the Czechoslovak territory was nationalized and the communists began to take control and to began to eliminate anything even remotely reminding people of Bata's system. In 1945 it was clear that Zlin was lost for the rest of the Bata companies in the free world and could no longer act as a headquarters.