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"DJA" 2007 Obituary


DJAMENT o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-11-20 published
Engineer, diplomat, traveller, storyteller. Born August 7, 1913, in Krakow, Poland. Wore out in Toronto on November 14, aged 94.
By Eve DROBOT, Page L6
The plane circled JFK after an aborted flight to Frankfurt. My mother grew more frantic with each loop. Her husband slept. "Jan, Jan, wake up! We're going to crash!" He cracked one eye open. "Why do you care?" he asked. "It's not your plane."
He survived the trip. He survived Hitler, Stalin, Indira Gandhi and the Polish government, which issued his death warrant.
He began life as Jakub DJAMENT, fifth and youngest son of a timber merchant in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He studied at the university in Lwow and at the German Polytechnic in Brno, in then-Czechoslovakia. He scrambled to survive in Russian-occupied Poland in 1939, then made the life-saving decision to volunteer for the Soviet Union. He built power stations and fixed clocks for villagers in exchange for vodka, honey and caviar.
He returned to a devastated Poland as Jan DROBOT to discover one brother had been shot and his mother and another brother - with his wife and twin six-year-old daughters - had been slaughtered. Nonetheless, he threw himself into building communism in Poland as director of the national power plant company. When the grimness of communist Poland took hold in the 1950s, and the Iron Curtain sealed off Eastern Europe, he joined the trade ministry and travelled all over Western Europe to sell Poland's wares.
He was sent as commercial counsellor to New Delhi, where he befriended the second secretary at the U.S. embassy - a CIA agent - and arranged to defect.
For the next few years he was stateless, crossing the Atlantic back and forth until he decided he belonged in New York, where he worked for Westinghouse International. When their man in New Delhi retired he agreed to hold the fort temporarily, and stayed on as vice-president for India, Burma, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
That life ended when Indira Gandhi decided to privatize American firms in India. He was one of several hostages Gandhi used to leverage her position, and spent the night in a prison cell.
He led an adventurer's life, kayaking through the lakes of Finland to the Arctic Circle and driving the Khyber Pass.
He also lived the life of a lover, adoring the beautiful Wanda. He filled their house with 50 red roses to celebrate their 50 years of marriage shortly before her death.
"I'm never going to die," he often said. "You're going to have to hire someone to kill me." Time beat me to it.
Eve DROBOT is Jan DROBOT's daughter.

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DJATSCHENKO o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-10-01 published
Born April 10, 1957. Died suddenly on September 28, 2007. His untimely loss is mourned by his mother Vera and his father Feodor, by his sister Ludy, his brother-in-law Ron CARTER, and their children Veronica, Tim, Emily and Stephanie, to whom he was a devoted uncle, and by his extended circle of family and Friends. Funeral service on Tuesday, October 2nd at 10: 30 a.m., at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, 23 Henry Street, Toronto. If you'd like to make a donation in his memory, he would have liked them to go to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or your local Humane Society. We will miss you terribly, Viktor. Keep an eye on us from up there.

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