24 January 1874, Hodolany near Olomouc – 4 August 1939, Prague
David Weinstein was an entrepreneur, business counsel, wholesaler, co-founder of the company “Breda & Weinstein” in Opava, and a building owner of the department store Breda in Opava.
David Weinstein was born into a mercantile family. He moved to Opava when he was 18 and started collaborating with another Jewish merchant Max Breda. In 1898 the two entrepreneurs founded a public trading company Breda & Weinstein to trade in yard and knit goods and haberdashery. In 1910 Weinstein became the sole owner of the company as Breda retired due to health issues. Success in trading allowed Weinstein to pursue other areas of business. He commissioned the construction of the first eight-storey department store in Czechoslovakia. The building constructed on an area of 1,536 m2 was designed by the architect Leopold Bauer and built by Ota Reichner. It took mere 14 months to construct this exclusive landmark of modern America-inspired architecture with Gothic elements of broken arches. Weinstein opened the store in time for Christmas in 1928. He constantly expanded his trade and production. At that time his assets were estimated at 18 million Czech crowns. Weinstein’s period of prosperity was drawing to an end, though. Shortly after the Nazi occupation of the borderlands and under the authority of the Imperial Commissioner for Sudetenland, Weinstein had to hand over his department store to Quido Preuss, an employee in Breda & Weinstein. David Weinstein with his wife fled to Prague where they later died under unclear circumstances, presumably committing suicide. Weinstein’s descendants live in Israel today.
22 September 1863, Boskovice – 24 October 1914, Opava
Max Breda was an entrepreneur, businessman, and a co-founder of the company “Breda & Weinstein” in Opava.
Max Breda came from a large Israeli community in Boskovice. He first came to Opava in 1894 as a travelling merchant. He met David Weinstein, with whom he founded the public trading company Breda & Weinstein in 1898, in a synagogue. In 1910 he resigned from his position in the company due to his poor health, but he kept his share in the company for his sons and made it a condition that the surname Breda was kept in the company’s name. Breda’s business partner Weinstein remained the sole owner of the company.
27 February 1837, Rybnik (Prussia) – 4 January 1919, Opava
Carl Weisshuhn was an entrepreneur and founder and owner of paper mills in Žimrovice and Svoboda nad Úpou.
Carl Weisshuhn moved to Austrian Silesia with his brother Pavel after he had received general education and completed practical training in construction and compulsory military service. The brothers Weisshuhn rented a desolate mill near Hradec nad Moravicí and turned it into a profitable business. They soon added on a sawmill and began to trade in timber. Later on they started a construction business, building roads and railways in Silesia and Moravia. A particularly profitable part of the business was the production of railway sleepers. After ten years of successful entrepreneurship, the brothers decided that it was no longer possible to “live so far from civilization” and moved with their families to Opava where they became important members of the local Evangelical Church.
When he was 54, Carl Weisshuhn decided to expand his business and build a paper mill. In 1888–1891 he built a paper mill factory and raceway in Žimrovice near Opava. At first the paper mill produced wrapping paper and then expanded the production to include paper sacks, paper hoses, paper yarn rugs, etc. Paper was transported to Opava twice a week on horse-drawn wagons. After the construction of railway between Opava and Hradec nad Moravicí had been finished, the paper was taken to Hradec where it was loaded on the railway carriages. In 1914 Weisshuhn decided to build a narrow-gauge railway from the train station in Hradec to the paper mill in Žimrovice to facilitate the transport of goods. He always used his profits to expand his business and he built another paper mill in Svoboda nad Úpou.
Weisshuhn was a great fan of technical progress – he was the first person in the Opava Region to own a car. We can learn about Weisshuhn’s remarkable life in books written by his granddaughter and well-known writer Joy Adamson.
Kašpar Melichar Baltazar Fiedor (Fídor)
5 January 1811, Ostrava – 16 December 1879, Opava
Kašpar Fiedor was an entrepreneur, draper, wafer maker, and founder of the company Fídor, today called Opavia.
It was Fiedor’s wife Amálie who came up with the idea to start making wafers. She wanted to improve the family’s financial situation as her husband’s draper’s trade was struggling. In 1840 Amálie started to bake Carlsbad wafers in iron tongs over open fire and sell them to promenading Opavians in the city park. Amálie did not invent the recipe, she presumably used an old family recipe. This is probably why her son Theodor listed the year 1830 as the date when Fídor was founded. Kašpar Fiedor soon left the draper’s trade to become a full-time wafer maker. After Kašpar’s death, his son Theodor took over the family business. He carried on the family tradition of wafer-making and expanded the business by founding a wafer factory . After Theodor’s premature death, his widowed wife Marie not only took care of their three small children on her own, but also took over the family business. A competent and prudent entrepreneur, Marie invested into large-capacity machines, introduced new products, and expanded the market area. Demand soon exceeded supply and the company moved to larger premises in Olomoucká Street. In 1997 the whole Opavia production moved from Opava to nearby Vávrovice, where it is still based today.