Zink, Lubor J, 1920-2003 : Lubor Jan Zink was born 20 September 1920 in Klapy, Czechoslovakia, the son of Vilem Zink and Bozena Wohl. He studied at the University of Prague School of Economics between 1937 and 1939. The Nazi coup in Czechoslovakia after the Munich conference of 1938 marked the beginning of Zink's implacable opposition to totalitarianism in all its forms. He took part in student anti-Nazi activities at the University of Prague which ultimately resulted in the closing of the Czech universities in November 1939. When the Nazis massacred the staff of the Prague student newspaper, he fled to Hungary. French diplomats arranged for his escape through Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey to France. He then joined the Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade which served in England after the fall of France. His BBC broadcasts in Czech to his occupied homeland resulted in his parents and sister's incarceration in a concentration camp. In 1941, he helped organize International Students' Day, celebrated annually during the war in Allied and neutral countries on the anniversary of the student massacre in Prague. The Czech brigade fought with the British Army in 1944 and 1945 in the Allied invasion of France and Germany. Zink rose to the rank of First Lieutenant and was awarded the Military Cross, Medal for Bravery, and Medal of Merit, and the Medal for Fidelity from the Czech Government. With the end of the war in 1945, Zink returned to Czechoslovakia to work for the Czech Foreign Service under Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk. His work for Masaryk and opposition to the communists marked him as a Soviet enemy. With the assassination of Masaryk and communist coup in 1948, Zink fled through the mountains on foot to Germany and then England. He became a British citizen in 1949. In exile, he broadcast for the BBC's Radio Free Europe service from 1948 to 1951 and then worked for NATO as a political and economic analyst from 1951 until his division was cut back in 1957.
Zink emigrated to Canada in 1958 in search of a better life for his wife and son. After freelancing for Toronto area newspapers and radio stations for several months, he was recruited to edit the editorial page of the "Brandon Sun". His editorials attracted national notice and recognition in the National Newspaper Awards and Bowater Awards for Journalism. After being a runner-up in 1960, he won the National Newspaper Award for editorial writing in 1961. He won a Bowater Award for Journalism in 1962 for a series of articles called "The Unfinished Revolution". As a result, John Bassett of the "Toronto Telegram" offered him a position as its Ottawa correspondent in 1962 with responsibility for reporting from Parliament Hill. His analysis of the inconsistencies of the national defence policies of the Diefenbaker government attracted particular notice in 1962 and 1963. His Telegram columns over the next eight years examined the shifting fortunes of the Pearson government and the rise of Pierre Trudeau until Bassett closed the paper in 1971. From 1971 to 1993, Zink wrote a syndicated column for the "Toronto Sun" chain of newspapers. In this latter role, Zink proved a persistent critic of the Soviet Union and communist regimes in Eastern Europe, and of western apologists for communism. Pierre Trudeau and his foreign policy were particular targets of Zink's wrath. During these years the "Christian Science Monitor" published his columns in the United States, broadening his following.
His strong views and forceful expression of them made enemies in Canada, however. Trudeau consistently refused all of his requests for interviews. CBC radio and television dropped him as a political commentator after 1968. Zink never appeared in the "Canadian Who's Who", although "Who's Who in America: Who's Who in the East" did include his biography. What recognition he did garner in these years came from abroad: he received the Latvian Pro Merito Medal in 1968 and the Thomas G. Masaryk Award in 1986 for advocacy of democracy and human rights.
In addition to journalism, Zink also ran unsuccessfully as a Progressive Conservative candidate for the House of Commons in 1972 and 1974 in Toronto's Parkdale riding. His books in Czech included two novels, "On the Way Home" (1942) and the prize-winning "February" (1949, reprinted 1993), and four books of poetry. His books in English comprise one novel, "The Uprooted" (Toronto: Longmans, 1962), and four non-fiction titles, all compilations of his columns, "Under the Mushroom Cloud" (Brandon: Brandon Sun, 1962), "Trudeaucracy" (Toronto: Toronto Sun, 1972), "Viva Chairman Pierre" (Toronto: Griffin House, 1977), and "What Price Freedom?" (Toronto: Griffin House, 1981). With the collapse of communism, he received many accolades for his part in the fight, including the National Citizens' Coalition Freedom Medal, 1989; the Czech Republic's Medal of Merit, 1st Class, 1995; the Czech Foreign Minister's Jan Masaryk Gratias Agit Award, 1999; and the Special Prague University Honour Medal, 2001. He was also made an honorary colonel in the Czech army.
Lubor J. Zink became a Canadian citizen in 1963. He had married Zora Nechvile on 1 April 1942 in London, and they had one son, Alec Guy Zink.