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Adolf Sonneschein

The journey of iron > Adolf Sonneschein

A story circulates about a director in the Vítkovice mining and steelwork industry, Albert Sonneschein. When in 1916 the Russian front approached the Czech lands, the owner of the company, Mr. Rothschild, invited over the directors of operations. He asked them how they would react if the Russian army entered Vítkovice.

The then-director replied by saying he would have the tall furnaces demolished. Adolf Sonneschein said that he would spread a banner across the furnace towers, reading “Welcome” and start producing for the Russians.

That answer made Rothschild nominate Sonneschein to become first the central director, then the executive director. Such an answer was to be expected in a company which partially profiled itself in wartime production (initially battle ships). The steel mill’s portfolio also included the production of grenades, ammunition, cannons and torpedoes.

In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, Sonneschein was able to procure great contracts for the Vítkovice steel mill in the Soviet Union. One such commission was the bridge over old Dnieper in Kiev.

He wrote poems, read poetry and loved movies. He saw the premiere of the movie Tarzan at the Vítkovice chateau in 1932. He passed away in the Swiss city of Luzerne in 1939.

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