Peter Georgescu will be the next person featured on the new Access Channel 5 program called "Chautauqua People," which debuted in July. The program will air at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. each day Aug. 24-30.
Georgescu was born in Bucharest where his family was in the upper levels of Romanian society. His father was employed by Standard Oil of New Jersey during World War II while the Romanian government was under control of Ion Antonescu, supported by the Iron Guard fascist movement.
Peter and his brother Costa were sent from Bucharest to live with their grandparents in the village of Lipova as their father joined the resistance movement. In 1941 his father was arrested by the fascists and imprisoned until the end of the war. Upon release in 1945, he resumed his work with Standard Oil. The family spent two very happy post-war years together.
However, while Peter's parents were in the United States on a business trip, Stalin's forces seized control of Romania as a vast Iron Curtain fell across Europe. Everyone knew that Peter's father was unable to return home because he would have been immediately arrested and executed. Around age 10, Peter, his older brother and grandmother were put into hard labor. The boys lived with their grandmother and were required to perform the worst of near-slave-labor jobs by the communist government. During this time his grandfather was executed in a communist prison.
Peter was reunited with his parents in 1954 at the age of 15 after President Eisenhower arranged for the boys' freedom in return for some Russian spies held by the U.S. He arrived in this country and was greeted by his parents whom he hardly remembered.
He was accepted by the headmaster of Exeter academy despite having no knowledge of the English language and only a third-grade education. He mastered the language and academics necessary eventually to attend Princeton where he graduated cum laude. He subsequently earned an M.B.A. from Stanford.
Instead of following his father and entering the oil industry, Peter joined Young and Rubicam, a marketing and communications company, where he remained for 40 years, retiring as chairman and chief executive officer.
He began coming to Chautauqua Institution in the year 2000 as he anticipated retirement. He and his wife purchased a Chautauqua cottage which they have decorated in red, white and blue.
His latest book, "CONSTANT CHOICE: An Everyday Journal from Evil Toward Good," was published this year by Greenleaf Book Group Press.
Georgescu will be interviewed by "Chautauqua People" Producer, John Viehe, a member of the Chautauqua Institution board of trustees. Dr. Viehe teaches psychology at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., during the academic year.
Access Channel 5 is available to cable viewers in the Mayville, Chautauqua, North Harmony, Sherman, Westfield and Portland areas.
Viewers should note that all area public access channels have been dropped from Time Warner's analog service, but can be received on digital service with a converter or on a digital television that has been recently autoscanned.