Rudolfine Steindling belonged to the upper crust of Austrian society – she wore expensive clothes and maintained a luxurious lifestyle. But she always remained an ardent advocate for Communism.
In 1951, the former East German regime became aware of “Red Fini,” as she came to be known. The government needed someone to supervise foreign trade and exchange dealings from abroad.
So the East German authorities set up the Novum company in Austria and made Ms. Steindling its top manager and sole shareholder. No Western company that wanted to do business with the East German state could ignore the well-clad lady and her fiduciary firm. She represented businesses such as Bosch, Ciba-Geigy, Voestalpine and Steyr Daimler Puch in dealings with East Germany. Ms. Steindling herself received fees in the millions and invested the money with her local bank, Bank Austria.