Bertold Hornung, architect and town planner; born March 25, 1925, Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, died March 20, 1997, Edinburgh

AFTER a hurried departure in 1968 from Czechoslovakia with only such possessions as could fit in a suitcase, Berthold Hornung set to building a new life in Britain. As a Jew in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia he had suffered in the concentration camps and his natural antipathy to authority was not well suited to the communist regime which had seized power in 1948. However, after graduating in architecture and engineering in 1950, he assumed positions of responsibility and eventually became instrumental in designing the metro system in Prague and had the audacity to order the return of 20 train-loads of sub-standard rolling stock to Russia.

After setting up home in Scotland it was not long before he was using the skills he had acquired as an architect and planner in Prague. He was appointed to be director of the team set up by Professor Colin Buchanan to consider a transport strategy for Edinburgh. The transport plan advocated measures restraining traffic, improving bus facilities, and reducing the scale of road development, something regarded as too radical at the time but now at the forefront of the transport agenda in Edinburgh and elsewhere.

In 1972 he was invited to head a team working on the replanning of Jerusalem as part of a programme supported by the British Council. In 1976 he was appointed assistant planning director for Lothian Regional Council and played a key role in the development of the first Structure Plan in 1978. He remained with the council until poor health required him to take early retirement.

Latterly, he acted as a consultant for the Scottish Development Agency and for the Royal Fine Art Commission in addition to teaching at the Edinburgh College of Art.

After the collapse of the communist system in Czechoslovakia in 1989 he was well placed to advise the new government and was involved in a number of training programmes, including one linking the Technical University in Prague with Heriot-Watt University. His links with the Czech government, whom he advised on town planning, continued until his last days. In 1996 he was awarded an honorary DLitt from Heriot-Watt University.

''Bertie Hornung was a man of great ability, depth, and perception. He loved Scotland in general and Edinburgh in particular and we were privileged that he chose to live here. He used to joke that when he arrived at a refugee centre in Vienna in 1968 there were stalls set out for various receiving countries and the queue for the British one was shortest so he decided to join that one,'' says Pip Hills the Edinburgh accountant who enjoyed a long acquaintance with Hornung.

Despite lacking any formal training, Hornung could converse in 14 languages ranging from Russian to Arabic. ''He had a great sense of fun and loved to make plays on words using several languages. He did not do that in order to show off, it was just something which amused him. He was a man of great calibre but despite his great intellect he engaged with people in a most attractive way. In company he was quite retiring and it was only after you started to talk to him that you began to realise what an astonishing person he was,'' says Mr Hills.

He leaves a widow, Hana, two daughters, and six grandchildren.