Friday, April 4, 2008

Hugo Marom Gets Czech Wings

Pilot Hugo Marom, who left Czechoslovakia on the Kindertransport, recently received the wings of the Czech Air Force, as reported in the article "After sixty years, pilots finally get their wings" by Yossi Melman for Haaretz (March 31, 2008).
Marom was born in Czechoslovakia to the Meisel family, whose family tree shows that they spent 1,000 years in the country. "My father used to say that we were more Czech than the Czechs," he said with a smile.

Marom's life was saved when he was sent out of Czechoslovakia to Great Britain as part of the Kindertransport in 1939. He returned to his homeland after World War II and was offered a spot in a pilots' course for Czech Jews in 1948; those who completed the course were supposed to be sent to help the fledgling Jewish state fight for its existence....

After completing the course, Marom moved to Israel and became one of the first members of the IAF [Israel Air Force]. He was the first commander of the flight school and made the rank of major - the most veteran major in the air force, he said - and retired from the IAF in 1954. He served for 10 years as the chief test pilot for the Defense Ministry and Israel Aerospace Industries, and went on to plan airports around the world as a private consultant. He planned airports in the United States and Paraguay, and is working on Israel's second international airport, which is slated to go up off the coast of Tel Aviv after the Sde Dov airport shuts down.
Thanks to Joseph Haberer for the lead.