Struggling To Survive


Avram cites his courage and will to endure as the source of his own self-confidence. He learned to struggle and fight at an early age and says, "One should never forget where one comes from." To him, this is not just a saying but a statement of fact that constantly spurs him on. "I have had to fight," he admits, "like a 15-year-old kid in the slums of Harlem who wants to get out. I was poor long enough. I want my children to have an easier life."

For Marcel Avram, adversity and oppression were practically a way of life right from the very start. Born in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, he was only a year old when World War II broke out in 1939. Invasion by the German forces led to dire and tragic consequences for the Jewish people, and for the next six years, the Avram family faced the constant threat of deportation, incarceration and eventual death. Only the Greek passport of Marcel's father saved the family from such a fate. Although the Soviet liberation of Romania in 1945 ended any direct threat to survival, life for the Avrams was nevertheless still one of hardship and deprivation. 




Avram states that his vocation was really determined by two main elements: "the music I heard from my mother, who was a dance teacher, and the gift for business and management that I inherited from my father."
 



Then the State of Israel was founded in 1948 and events took a dramatic turn. "We were among the first immigrants," Avram recalls. "After arriving by boat in Haifa, we were accommodated in the San Lux reception center, which amounted to living in tents and was quite depressing. My father became ill, and so we were very happy when we were able to find a tiny apartment— just 130 square feet—beside a hospital in Jaffa."


Later on, Avram's parents managed to secure him a place at the Christian French boarding school, which was located quite close to their home. When Avram was 16, yet another move took the family to Germany. Two years later, Avram completed his schooling and joined his father's flourishing import-export business. Learning the ropes while traveling regularly back and forth between Frankfurt and Teheran, Avram eventually started his own fruit-selling business with his father's backing. He now states that his vocation was really determined by two main elements: "the music I heard from my mother, who was a dance teacher, and the gift for business and management that I inherited from my father."


Another major influence during this period, however, was the rise of rock 'n' roll music. Avram's first real contact with it was a Frankfurt concert by Bill Haley & the Comets, the first real heroes of the genre, who made a massive impression on kids all over Europe when they toured there in the mid-'50s.

"What I saw and heard was really fantastic," Avram recalls. "I was completely captivated. Rock 'n' roll was my music, and the concert was pure magic. After that, came the likes of Elvis Presley, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and popular music shows moved out of the small clubs and into the major concert halls and theaters. Discos began to open up all over the place, and the pop groups multiplied. The whole atmosphere of the entertainment business was irresistible to me."

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