News


Read an excerpt from my latest book, Vladimir Krajina World War II Hero and Ecology Pioneer
via the link below:
Vladimir J. Krajina: World War II Hero and Ecology Pioneer; Jan Drabek; Ronsdale Press, 2012:
Barbara Cupe comments: At last it’s here. Ever since I first chatted via email with Jan Drabek over a
year ago about his book on Vladimir Krajina, I have been waiting for this book to arrive. More than a few
foresters reading this newsletter will have their own memories of Krajina. He taught many of them
dendrology at UBC. But I bet at that time they had only a superficial idea of the courage and integrity of
their professor. Well now thanks to Drabek, they can read all about Krajina’s bravery and honour under
fire. The first half of the book concentrates on Krajina’s time as an Allied spy and as General Secretary
for the Czech official opposition, the National Socialist Party. The second half follows Krajina’s path
through the forests of BC and the academic halls of UBC—developing his ecosystem concepts and
founding the Ecoreserve program. Most poignant though is the account of the Krajina family’s return to
Czechoslovakia in 1990, 42 years after fleeing for their lives. No one but Jan Drabek could have written
this book. Krajina was a family friend; like Krajina, Drabek’s father was in the Czech resistance. Hero is
not a word to be bandied about lightly; in Krajina’s case Drabek has done a great job of shouting it from
the treetops. Drabek has generously provided the Introduction and Chapter 15 of his book to the Friends
of Ecological Reserves.
You can find these sections at their website:
http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/2012/10/04/vladimir-j-krajina-hero-
of-european-resistance-and-canadian-wilderness/.http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/2012/10/04/vladimir-j-krajina-
hero-of-european-resistance-and-canadian-wilderness/. I highly recommend this book—any writing that
keeps a reader glued to the page until 2:00 AM is well worth the price of purchase.


Inside a remarkable wartime life

Vladimir Krajina was a Czech resistance hero who would rather have smelled the flowers

By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun February 8, 2013


Krajina’s remarkable life is the subject of a new biography by B.C. writer Jan Drabek, the author of 17
fiction and non-fiction books.

Drabek is a fellow Czech, who was a close friend of Krajina’s. In Czechoslovakia, it was Drabek’s father
who introduced Krajina to the resistance movement. After the war ended, Krajina fled Czechoslovakia
and came to Vancouver where he had a long career as a respected botany professor at the University of
British Columbia.

Drabek’s biography isn’t a dry, objective recounting of the facts. As a contemporary account of a man’s
life that foregrounds the narrator, it also includes Drabek’s own voice and his somewhat confusing
childhood memories about Krajina.

Drabek takes the reader into one of the idiosyncrasies of the Czech language where Krajina with a
capital ‘K’ is a name but krajina with a small ‘k’ means the countryside. “Slowly I began to understand
that the ‘landscape’ my parents referred to during the war was in fact this man with a dark mane which
extended in a triangular fashion into his forehead,” he writes. “As I grew older, I realized he was a great
national hero who during the war had provided the Allies with valuable strategic information.”

During his years in the Czech resistance, Krajina was obsessed with secrecy. While most resistance
fighters had two code names, Krajina had 11, reasoning that the more aliases, the more confusion it
would sow among the Nazis. The Gestapo was so anxious to shut down his network they arrested and
imprisoned his wife Marie in Ravensbruck concentration camp in the hope he would give himself up. It
didn’t work.

Krajina had a number of close calls. The closest came one day while he was on the run from the
Gestapo and he had to zigzag through a potato field as shots whizzed by. Only later did he discover how
close he’d come to being killed when he found a bullet hole in his hat.

After the Heydrich assassination, the noose tightened around Krajina. When he was captured — and his
wife Marie released — Krajina tried to commit suicide by swallowing a vial of arsenic but because he’d
been carrying it around in a container that wasn’t airtight, it had lost most of its potency.

Imprisoned in Theresienstadt for 27 months, Krajina was released at the end of the war when the Soviet
Red Army occupied Czechoslovakia. Krajina then became a leading public figure and democrat
involved in the fight against the other totalitarian movement of the 20th century — Communism.

As his influence increased and the communists were eliminating the opposition, he was smeared as a
wartime collaborator. Once the new Communist government took power, Krajina was arrested,
imprisoned and threatened with execution unless he was willing to become a spy in the west.

Thanks to the determined intervention of his wife, Krajina was released. He was advised to leave the
country and arrived in Canada in 1949 with his family and started work at as a special lecturer at UBC.


kgriffin@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

click below to read the complete article
http://
www.vancouversun.com/news/Inside+remarkable+wartime+life/7942981/story.html


It’s big. Awesome, actually. Especially in its implications and it also has lots to do with human rights, I
would say.
I mean a decade or two ago a person couldn’t pronounce the word “nuclear” and career-wise wouldn’t get
far. Today, if he put his mind to it, he could be a president of the US -- mainly because he would probably
sue if he didn’t get the nomination.
 It used to be that radio announcers could announce, musicians play and administrators administer
because they would be unemployed if they couldn’t. But nowadays I hear announcers with a pronounced
lisp and other speech impediments and professional musicians who play no better than I once used to
blow my trombone. And they are making millions. Disastrous administrators are running large companies,
losing millions and getting fat bonuses for it.
  The principle behind it all is that once you have the top job there is nothing that can dislodge you from it.
Certainly not simple ineptitude. Once you climb up there it becomes your God-given right to be occupying
the catbird seat and anyone who tries to dislodge you from it must be some sort of a villain.
Of course, what that sort of human rights principle does to the society and its economy is quite another
thing.

I141. ESTABLISHING PARAMETERS
               The canine way is to simply use one’s bladder, but as illustrated on the screen the human
practice is different.
       Take Clint Eastwood. In his Dirty Harry movies and some others there is usually a scene which has
nothing to do with general plot line. In it he announces that the “we’ refers Smith Wesson and himself,
invites the punk to make his day or asks him if he feels lucky. And boom, there we have him instantly in his
fully invincible regalia.
       It’s not that simple with John Wayne. In Rio Grande and Searchers, Stagecoach and many others he
makes serious mistake and then films themselves show him building a parameters, something that is
always achieved by the last frame.
       The great Gable was a master in this. His authoritative voice, squint and good looks – not to forget
later the mustache – established an invisible bubble around him into which no one (except perhaps an
occasional Harlow or Leigh) was permitted to enter.
       More complicated was the process with Bogart. Not blessed size, he seemed to suggest that
parameter establishing is not that important, that mere thoughtful presence the thing. Hence the frequent
scratching of the head, unconvincing smile when untruths are uttered  and the occasional twitch at the
mouth.  It’s pretty convincing.
       The rest of us sometimes spend entire lives trying to establish what these four either manage on the
screen in less than two hours or casually prove as entirely unnecessary.     



Read an excerpt from my latest book, Vladimir Krajina World War II Hero and Ecology Pioneer
via the link below:
Vladimir J. Krajina: World War II Hero and Ecology Pioneer; Jan Drabek; Ronsdale Press, 2012:
Barbara Cupe comments: At last it’s here. Ever since I first chatted via email with Jan Drabek over a
year ago about his book on Vladimir Krajina, I have been waiting for this book to arrive. More than a few
foresters reading this newsletter will have their own memories of Krajina. He taught many of them
dendrology at UBC. But I bet at that time they had only a superficial idea of the courage and integrity of
their professor. Well now thanks to Drabek, they can read all about Krajina’s bravery and honour under
fire. The first half of the book concentrates on Krajina’s time as an Allied spy and as General Secretary
for the Czech official opposition, the National Socialist Party. The second half follows Krajina’s path
through the forests of BC and the academic halls of UBC—developing his ecosystem concepts and
founding the Ecoreserve program. Most poignant though is the account of the Krajina family’s return to
Czechoslovakia in 1990, 42 years after fleeing for their lives. No one but Jan Drabek could have written
this book. Krajina was a family friend; like Krajina, Drabek’s father was in the Czech resistance. Hero is
not a word to be bandied about lightly; in Krajina’s case Drabek has done a great job of shouting it from
the treetops. Drabek has generously provided the Introduction and Chapter 15 of his book to the Friends
of Ecological Reserves.
You can find these sections at their website:
http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/2012/10/04/vladimir-j-krajina-hero-
of-european-resistance-and-canadian-wilderness/.http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/2012/10/04/vladimir-j-krajina-
hero-of-european-resistance-and-canadian-wilderness/. I highly recommend this book—any writing that
keeps a reader glued to the page until 2:00 AM is well worth the price of purchase.


Inside a remarkable wartime life

Vladimir Krajina was a Czech resistance hero who would rather have smelled the flowers

By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun February 8, 2013


Krajina’s remarkable life is the subject of a new biography by B.C. writer Jan Drabek, the author of 17
fiction and non-fiction books.

Drabek is a fellow Czech, who was a close friend of Krajina’s. In Czechoslovakia, it was Drabek’s father
who introduced Krajina to the resistance movement. After the war ended, Krajina fled Czechoslovakia
and came to Vancouver where he had a long career as a respected botany professor at the University of
British Columbia.

Drabek’s biography isn’t a dry, objective recounting of the facts. As a contemporary account of a man’s
life that foregrounds the narrator, it also includes Drabek’s own voice and his somewhat confusing
childhood memories about Krajina.

Drabek takes the reader into one of the idiosyncrasies of the Czech language where Krajina with a
capital ‘K’ is a name but krajina with a small ‘k’ means the countryside. “Slowly I began to understand
that the ‘landscape’ my parents referred to during the war was in fact this man with a dark mane which
extended in a triangular fashion into his forehead,” he writes. “As I grew older, I realized he was a great
national hero who during the war had provided the Allies with valuable strategic information.”

During his years in the Czech resistance, Krajina was obsessed with secrecy. While most resistance
fighters had two code names, Krajina had 11, reasoning that the more aliases, the more confusion it
would sow among the Nazis. The Gestapo was so anxious to shut down his network they arrested and
imprisoned his wife Marie in Ravensbruck concentration camp in the hope he would give himself up. It
didn’t work.

Krajina had a number of close calls. The closest came one day while he was on the run from the
Gestapo and he had to zigzag through a potato field as shots whizzed by. Only later did he discover how
close he’d come to being killed when he found a bullet hole in his hat.

After the Heydrich assassination, the noose tightened around Krajina. When he was captured — and his
wife Marie released — Krajina tried to commit suicide by swallowing a vial of arsenic but because he’d
been carrying it around in a container that wasn’t airtight, it had lost most of its potency.

Imprisoned in Theresienstadt for 27 months, Krajina was released at the end of the war when the Soviet
Red Army occupied Czechoslovakia. Krajina then became a leading public figure and democrat
involved in the fight against the other totalitarian movement of the 20th century — Communism.

As his influence increased and the communists were eliminating the opposition, he was smeared as a
wartime collaborator. Once the new Communist government took power, Krajina was arrested,
imprisoned and threatened with execution unless he was willing to become a spy in the west.

Thanks to the determined intervention of his wife, Krajina was released. He was advised to leave the
country and arrived in Canada in 1949 with his family and started work at as a special lecturer at UBC.


kgriffin@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

click below to read the complete article
http://
www.vancouversun.com/news/Inside+remarkable+wartime+life/7942981/story.html



INTRODUCTION TO THE LITERARY FORM CALLED GLOSSA
(which I invented or at least adapted to my purposes)
According to one wag the two sure signs of old age are:
a. the inability to stay with a thought
b. the inability to leave that thought.
As a well-established septuagenarian I have been warned of the dangers. In my collection (which now
includes 150 of them), I have tried to avoid these signs by limiting myself to one-page essays, which I
call glossas. I feel that brevity has become a lost art in this age when so many people live in constant
fear of being misunderstood. We tend to explain and explain -- God, how we explain! And since our
emails often abbreviate only words, not thoughts, I consider this to be a pioneering effort.  
From time to time I will treat the visitor to my website with a new glossa. They deal with things I feel
qualified to comment upon and quite a few I don’t. That too is downright revolutionary, because until now
it has been largely assumed that such things as conflict avoidance and pathology should be left to the
experts. But let’s be honest about it: that kind of approach has left us with two world wars and something
called 9/11. And we are still without a cure for the common cold.
My glossas break entirely new ground in that they are designed not only to amuse and advise but
occasionally even offer home remedies. And in this age of high-priced pharmaceuticals they are
entirely free...  
Here’s this month's:

It’s big. Awesome, actually. Especially in its implications and it also has lots to do with human rights, I
would say.
I mean a decade or two ago a person couldn’t pronounce the word “nuclear” and career-wise wouldn’t get
far. Today, if he put his mind to it, he could be a president of the US -- mainly because he would
probably sue if he didn’t get the nomination.
   It used to be that radio announcers could announce, musicians play and administrators administer
because they would be unemployed if they couldn’t. But nowadays I hear announcers with a pronounced
lisp and other speech impediments and professional musicians who play no better than I once used to
blow my trombone. And they are making millions. Disastrous administrators are running large
companies, losing millions and getting fat bonuses for it.
    The principle behind it all is that once you have the top job there is nothing that can dislodge you
from it. Certainly not simple ineptitude. Once you climb up there it becomes your God-given right to be
occupying the catbird seat and anyone who tries to dislodge you from it must be some sort of a villain.
Of course, what that sort of human rights principle does to the society and its economy is quite another
thing.