Article by By Gloria Deutsch.
“We received medals and laid a wreath on the grave of the Unknown Soldier,” says the 82-year old aviation expert who came here in 1949, and still goes to his office in Tel Aviv every day. He runs a company which designs airports.
Today Marom is recognized as an expert on Israel/Czech relations, and has frequently been called on to interpret or act as liaison for visiting Czech dignitaries. But even he did not know a fact that he learned while visiting
When he and his brother were aged ten and eight, they were among the lucky children who were sent to
“My brother and I said goodbye to our parents and never saw them again,” recalls Marom. He attended school in
“It was December 1947 and I had a visit from a Hagana representative who had heard about my involvement with the RAF,” recalls Marom. “They wanted me to find Jewish boys at university with me who would be willing to be trained as pilots by the Czechs, who were selling planes to the Jews in
But Hugo could not find any suitable candidates, as the Jews who returned from the camps were in no condition to train as pilots. However, he agreed to come, together with his wife Marta, herself a camp survivor who had also joined the Czech army and whom he met on Yom Kippur in 1945. He also managed to find a few others who went on to have glittering careers in the IAF.
“By the way,” says Marom, “do you know why the Czechs were so helpful to us during the War of Independence, supplying arms and training the soldiers in their use? The main reason was that it was their way of getting back at the
After six months of training, he was ready to set off for
“Unfortunately, relations had soured because of the repercussions of the Stansky trial and the delivery was stopped. We traveled by train and boat and arrived in February 1949, two weeks before the end of the war.”
“We were sent to the light aircraft squadron and I served for over a year in
Eventually Marom became the commander of the night fighter squadron, and the country’s first test pilot. The couple moved to Tzahala in 1951 and their two daughters were born there. One daughter died tragically, but the other is a well-known sculptor, Evie Polig. His grandson flies F-16s, carrying on the family tradition.
Besides working for the Defense Ministry, Marom was building up a reputation as the person to ask for if any Czech dignitaries visited. “After the fall of communism, I was offered the post of
On another occasion. he helped a Czech write his doctoral dissertation on the help given by his country to the establishment of the IAF, showing him where to find the appropriate documents.
In 1964 he established his own company specializing in aviation design. and his company consults to airport designers all over the world.
Will he ever retire? “I want to die here in this seat,” says Hugo with a determined grin.