Jan Krčmář completed his primary and secondary education in London and at the English Grammar School in Prague. Because of his bourgeois origins, he was repeatedly denied admission to further education and worked in blue-collar positions in heavy industrial plants. He also earned a living as an interpreter and translator and from 1965 was an editor at the English desk of the Czechoslovak Press Agency. After the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact armies in August 1968 he was forced to leave the news wire when a Communist daily denounced him as a “reactionary element working with the British Embassy” in 1969. He then accepted an offer from Reuters and became a co-founder of its Prague office, where he worked until 1981. As part of an operation organised by the Communist secret police to make critics of the regime emigrate he was forced to leave the country and was subsequently stripped of his Czechoslovak citizenship. Krčmář served on the Reuters editorial board for Eastern Europe in Vienna, where he worked as the reporter until 1998.