The remarkable life story of a one of the most accomplished glass blowers of the 20th century is being told in a new book being published this week.
The book about Josef Cretzan has been written by his son David and is being launched this coming Thursday evening in the Medieval Museum in Waterford.
From humble beginnings in Romania, Josef Cretzan became one of the most accomplished glass blowers of the twentieth century. For 37 years his knowledge and skills were fundamental in ensuring that Waterford Crystal remained one of the premium glass manufacturers in the world.
In the early 1940s, when still only a teenager, he journeyed with his family across Central Europe to Germany in a bid to escape the turmoil in Romania brought about by the Second World War and the encroachment of the Russians.
He was sent to fight as an infantryman on the Eastern Front with Russia, then served in Rommel's Afrika Korps in Tobruk, and in Italy fought in the fierce Battle of Monte Cassino. He was wounded on three occasions and was awarded the Iron Cross for distinguished service.
Following the post-war division of Germany into four separate zones, Josef was separated from his father and siblings, who were trapped in the Russian zone.
In 1951, an advertisement in a German newspaper brought Josef to the newly established glass factory in Waterford, where he remained for nearly four decades.
Uniquely gifted, he created crystal masterpieces that were presented to kings, queens, presidents and dignitaries of all kinds, including a special commission given to Jackie Kennedy for her children. Today, his glass is displayed in some of the most prestigious buildings in the world, including Westminster Abbey in London and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Josef died in Waterford in 1990 and the book, being published this week by David Cretzan, is called 'The Master of Masters: The Life of Josef Cretzan'.
David Cretzan spoke to Damien Tiernan in studio today (Monday) ahead of the book launch.
You can listen back to the interview by clicking the link on the image above.