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Podium discussion „How did Czechoslovakia help to create the State of Israel in 1948“

On 7 June 2018 in Tel Aviv there were held a podium discussion „How did Czechoslovakia help to create the State of Israel in 1948“. After the screening of the documentary movie “Czech wings above Sion” about Czechoslovak pilots in the War of Independence by Z. Pojman followed a podium discussion with Ivo Pejčoch, scientist at the Military History Institute in Prague, Martin Korčok, Head of the Sereď Holocaust Museum, and Avraham Harshalom, former military pilot during the War of Independence. The event was organized by Czech Embassy, Slovak Embassy and Czech Centre Tel Aviv and was part of events organized in 2018 on the occasion of 100 years of Czechoslovakia and 70 years of the State of Israel.

Czech wings above Sion

Director: Z. Pojman /2008/

A documentary movie about Czechoslovakia's contribution to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 The dramatic creation of the Jewish State after the Second World War dates back to the end of the first century AD. The Jews succumbed then to the Roman legions, and since then they have lived for nearly 2000 years in exile. Czechoslovakia had significant share on the rebirth of the Jewish State in 1948. Not only by expressing approval in the United Nations or by recognizing it among the first states of the world, but also by significant help in its very beginnings. There were Czechoslovak weapons and Israeli soldiers were trained in Czechoslovakia. They defended Israel in the first war of independence from the attack of Arab countries. The witnesses of this war, with whom the crew filmed both in Israel and in the Czech Republic, in the next decades to this day experienced many other wars and terrorist attacks. Therefore the question about their own future is not responded optimistically. They do not expect the threat of wars or terrorist attacks in their region will end in the near future.


Martin Korčok

Head of the Sereď Holocaust Museum

Martin Korčok was born in 1979 in Košice. He studied at the Department of Ethnology and Non-European Studies of the Faculty of Arts of University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava. After graduation, he began working for the Slovak National Museum – Museum of Jewish Culture, where he was the deputy director. Currently he is the head of the Sereď Holocaust Museum. While working for the museum, he absolved external studies at the Department of Ethnology and Museology of the Faculty of Arts of Comenius University in Bratislava, where he obtained his PhD. Subsequently, in 2008, he founded Edah, a non-profit association, where he produced 38 films with survivors, published supporting educational materials about Holocaust for secondary schools, and organized training programs for teachers and students at home and abroad. He is publishing studies in domestic and foreign publications dealing with Holocaust and Education.


Ivo Pejčoch

Scientist at the Military History Institute in Prague

Born on 18th of March 1962, he graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Prague in the field of modern Czech history. Since 1990 he has been editor-in-chief of the professional military-historical monthly magazine HaPM, since 2007 he is a scientist at the Military History Institute in Prague. Besides other topics, he deals with aspects of the military assistance to the State of Israel. In the magazine History and Military, issued by the Military History Institute in Prague, he published a study of Military training of members of Hagana brigade in Czechoslovakia. He is the author or co-author of seventy book publications and four hundred articles and studies.


Avraham Harshalom (Adam Friedberg)

Former military pilot during the War of Independence in Israel

Born in 1925 in Pružany in today's Belarus. In 1942, he was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp and later to Buchenwald. At the end of the war he managed to get to the transport of non-Jews to Litoměřice, from where he escaped on a train with coal, which stopped only in Prague - Holešovice. Here he was hidden by the Sobotka family. In 1945 he participated in barricades fighting. After the war he was granted Czechoslovak citizenship and he graduated from the Prague Technical University. When the War of Independence began, he undertook flight training in Olomouc and in 1949 he left for Israel as a pilot. He has not returned to Czechoslovakia due to the communist coup. In 1951, after finishing his army service, he founded a company named Ariel, which specializes in electrical devices. He is the CEO of Ariel until this day. Avraham Harshalom has published a book about his life called "Born from the Ashes" and based on this book a documentary of the same name has been filmed.


Podiová diskuse o čs. pomoci Izraeli v r. 1948, 7.6.2018