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Kubic, Milan J.



Milan James Kubic (born Milan Bořivoj Kubík) was born on December 29, 1927, in Prague, Czechoslovakia to parents Karla Kubíka and Libuše Kubíková. Kubic had one older brother, Mirek, and they both attended elementary and high school in Prague.

In the fall of 1938, the Nazis invaded and took over Czechoslovakia, drastically changing life as Kubic knew it. For several years, the Kubic family adhered to rations, blackouts, and German censorship as World War Two spread throughout Europe. In the summer of 1944, the Nazis closed all Czech high schools and ordered students over the age of sixteen to join the war effort. Kubic was assigned as a lathe-operator in an aviation plant outside of Prague where he worked seventy-two hours per week.

Throughout the fall and winter of 1944, Kubic was transferred between several different war production plants outside of Prague. In May of 1945, west Czechoslovakia was liberated by United States forces with support from the Czech resistance. Following the liberation of Czechoslovakia, Kubic returned to and completed high school. Later that year, Kubic sent his work from his high school newspaper to the Svobodne Slovo (The Free Voice) and landed a job with that newspaper as a reporter. The Svobodne Slovo was Czechoslovakia’s largest anti-communist daily newspaper and, in the fall of 1946, Kubic was transferred to the editorial branch office in Klatovy. As communism rose in Czechoslovakia, Kubic wrote several exposés on the dangerous actions of communist leaders.

On February 25, 1948, the communists staged a coup d'état of the Czech government and seized all power in Czechoslovakia. The Svobodne Slovo was put under communist management, and Kubic was fired and expelled from the Union of Journalists. Kubic moved back to Prague, but in the summer of 1948 learned that the Klatovy police requested his arrest for his anti-communist work for the Svobodne Slovo. On June 19, 1948, Kubic fled Czechoslovakia for a displaced persons camp in the United States zone in Germany.

At the camp, Kubic met fellow Czech refugee Romana Mašek, and they married on September 18, 1949, in a brief ceremony at Ludwigsburg city hall. In 1950, Kubic, Romana, and Romana’s father immigrated to the United States aboard the USAT General A.W. Greely. In his years at the camp Kubic had taught himself English, and he published his first English work in the ship’s souvenir edition of the USAT General A.W. Greely Journal.

Upon his arrival in the United States, Kubic changed his name from Milan Bořivoj Kubík to Milan James Kubic, and sometimes went by the nickname “Mike”. For the next few years Kubic worked a few different jobs, including as a butler and a factory worker. In 1952, Kubic was drafted for military service and served with a United States Army intelligence unit in Austria. When he returned from the war in 1954, Kubic obtained United States citizenship and enrolled at the Chicago branch of the University of Illinois. In 1956, he transferred to Northwestern University after receiving a scholarship from the Medill School of Journalism.

Upon graduating from Northwestern University in 1958, Kubic was hired as a journalist for the Chicago bureau of Newsweek. After just a few months working at the Chicago bureau, Kubic was transferred to Newsweek’s Washington D.C. bureau. While at the D.C. bureau, Kubic covered American political events such as Dwight D. Eisenhower's final year as president, Lyndon Johnson as the U.S. Senate majority leader, and President John F. Kennedy’s election campaign.

In January of 1963, Kubic traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to cover a story on João Goulart, the Brazilian president at that time. The following spring, Kubic was transferred to Rio de Janeiro full-time as Newsweek’s Chief Correspondent for Latin America. Kubic and Romana, who at the time was pregnant with their first child, moved to Rio de Janeiro in May of 1963. On October 1, 1963, their son Jan Kubic was born. While working for Newsweek’s Rio de Janeiro bureau, Kubic reported on South American political, economic, and social issues. In 1965, Kubic accompanied Robert Kennedy and his wife Ethel on a tour of South America and wrote subsequent articles about Kennedy and their tour for Newsweek. In the summer of 1967, Kubic was transferred to Newsweek’s bureau in Beirut, Lebanon. During his time in Beirut, Kubic covered politics in the Middle East and Central Europe, including events in Lebanon, Czechoslovakia, and Israel. Much of his work focused on the influx of anti-government protests and rebellions.

In August of 1971 Kubic was transferred to Vienna, Austria. Kubic primarily covered stories on politics and events in Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. Kubic and his family stayed in Vienna for a year and a half, and in 1973 they moved to Bonn, West Germany, where Kubic became the Newsweek Bonn Bureau Chief. While in Bonn, Kubic reported on German politics and political figures.

In early 1976 Kubic was granted a transfer request and offered the position of Newsweek’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief, and in February of that year he and his family relocated to Israel. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Kubic researched and interviewed Israeli political figures including Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres, and Ezer Weizman. Much of Kubic’s work and research in Jerusalem was centered around the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians.

By 1979, Kubic and his wife Romana had separated. Romana and their son Jan moved to the United States where they stayed with friends in Washington, D.C., until finding an apartment of their own in the city's suburbs. Kubic remained in Jerusalem and continued to work for the Newsweek Jerusalem bureau until 1988. He married Leesa Rose Fine, who had also worked for Newsweek. In the spring of 1988, they had a son together named Benjamin Kubic. Shortly thereafter, Kubic left Newsweek and he, Leesa, and Benjamin moved to the United States, where they settled in a Maryland suburb.

About a year after leaving Newsweek, Kubic was hired by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a speechwriter. He continued in this position until retiring in 2015 at the age of eighty-seven. In 2017, Kubic published a memoir about his life and work as a journalist, titled From Prague to Jerusalem: An Uncommon Journey of a Journalist. On January 18, 2020, Milan Kubic died of cancer in his Maryland home at the age of ninety-two.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Milan James Kubic (1927-2020) Papers

Identifier: 31/6/210
Abstract Milan James Kubic (1927-2020) was a journalist for Newsweek magazine for thirty years. Over the course of his career, he worked as a foreign correspondent at the Newsweek bureaus in Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, Vienna, Bonn, and Jerusalem. He primarily reported on foreign politics and political figures. The collection contains biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, floppy disks, newspaper and magazine clippings, interview transcripts, notes and research, written work by Milan Kubic,...
Dates: 1948 - 2017