Obituary Eric B. Kraus 1912–2003

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					Meteorologische Zeitschrift, Vol. 13, No. 4, 345-346 (August 2004)
c by Gebr¨ der Borntraeger 2004
          u                                                                                                             Obituary

                                Obituary Eric B. Kraus 1912–2003

                                                                     team for the University World Winter Games in 1938.
                                                                     His professors at Charles University recommended that
                                                                     he put his flying experience to use in sailplanes by join-
                                                                     ing a research project in England, and this experience
                                                                     took him next to Bergen, Norway, where he met and be-
                                                                     came a student of Jacob B JERKNES. Because the situ-
                                                                     ation in Europe had deteriorated beyond hope, by 1939
                                                                     his status in Norway had evolved from graduate student
                                                                     to refugee. He spent a tumultuous year in Bergen, study-
                                                                     ing and watching his homeland sink into the morass
                                                                     of Nazi occupation, and then he was recruited into the
                                                                     French Air Force as a meteorologist. He flew to Paris a
                                                                     few weeks before Norway was invaded by the Germans,
                                                                     and then when France fell, he was ordered to wait near
                                                                     Bordeaux to surrender. This unpalatable state of affairs
                                                                     led him to meet up with a contingent of Czech soldiers
                                                                     who, with a convoy of trucks, were smuggling a Czech
After a long, full, and colorful life devoted to the sci-            general to the coast so he could escape on a British sub-
ences of meteorology and oceanography as well as to                  marine rather than be captured. Eric was subsequently
outdoor activities, Eric K RAUS died at his home in Ash-             left with one of the trucks, which he drove to the Span-
land, Oregon, on 13 December 2003. He was 92. In dic-                ish border and was then taken to Gibraltar by British
tionaries, the various synonyms for “bohemian” include               troops, where he was put on a coal ship headed for Eng-
“wanderer” and “gypsy.” Combine these with Merriam-                  land. Once there, he joined the Royal Air Force, spent
Webster’s second definition, “an artistic individual liv-             some time as a weather forecaster for a bomber group,
ing an unconventional life,” and a picture of Eric begins            and eventually conceived and initiated their Meteorolog-
to emerge.                                                           ical Reconnaissance Flights (discussed in Meteorologi-
    Eric Bradshaw K RAUS was born in northern Bo-                    cal Magazine, 1985: 114, p. 24). These occupied, in var-
hemia (in what is now the Czech Republic) near the Ger-              ious guises, his professional life for the remainder of the
man border in the town of Reichenberg (Liberec today)                war. In addition to their tactical value, these flights pro-
on 22 March 1912. His early years included schooling                 vided fodder for a contribution to the discussion of nu-
in Bohemia, Switzerland, and Austria, and then he spent              clear winter many years later (Climatic Change, 1986:
some time working as a traveling representative for his              8, p. 225). During this time, his personal life also grew.
father’s textile company. However, it soon became clear                  At the end of 1941, he met and in early 1942 married
to him that this was not his calling, and he broke away              Heather Johnson, who at the time was working as a sec-
to live for several months with Rouallah Bedouins in                 retary in Winston Churchill’s office, and they began their
the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula. During this so-                62 years of marriage traveling and raising a family while
journ, he also visited a University of Chicago archae-               Eric’s career matured. After the war, their first stop was
ological expedition in the region and became captivated              in Australia, Heather’s family home and the destination
by their use of aircraft for archaeological photographic             of Eric’s family as well when they emigrated from the
flights over Persepolis, Iran and the desert of the region.           Sudetenland as refugees from the Nazis. Eric became
This motivated him to become a private pilot and to re-              a meteorologist with the Commonwealth Scientific and
turn home to study archaeology at Charles University in              Industrial Research Organization and later initiated hy-
Prague, which eventually awarded him his Ph.D. While                 drology research for the Snowy Mountains Hydroelec-
a student there, he used his childhood skiing experience             tric Authority. During this time, Eric and Pat S QUIRES
to the University’s advantage by joining their downhill              performed what may have been the first airborne at-

                                                                                                    0941-2948/04/0013-0345 $ 0.90
DOI: 10.1127/0941-2948/2004/0013-0345                                                 c Gebr¨ der Borntraeger, Berlin, Stuttgart 2004

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