Born Jaroslav Steiner, he changed his family name in 1952 (Germans, and probably also German surnames, were not exactly popular in the ČSSR after World War II). He was a chorister in Olomouc in 1941/42 and in Görlitz from 1942 to 1944. Only then, he studied voice at the conservatory in Prague (1945–49), becoming a soloist in 1949 in both Opava (until 1954) and Liberec (until 1955). Then he switched primarily to operetta, first in Karlín (from 1955), then in East Berlin (at the Metropol-Theater) in 1958/59, where he sang lead roles in Eine Nacht in Venedig as well as in Bolero, a GDR operetta by Otto Schneidereit, which latter production was broadcast on TV on 14 June 1959. In 1957, he made his only appearance at the Prague National Theater, as Lukáš in Hubička.