Jul 2013 Journal
AJR plaque unveiled in honour of Sir Hans Krebs
The first AJR plaque, commemorating the life of Professor Sir Hans Krebs, has been unveiled at a ceremony at the Department of Biochemistry in Oxford.
Members of the Krebs family were joined by guests from various science departments in Oxford, representatives of the AJR, and members of the Oxford Jewish community.
Barred by the Nazis from practising medicine, Sir Hans fled from Germany to Britain in 1933. In 1953 he was awarded, jointly with another German-Jewish refugee, Fritz Lipmann, a Nobel Prize for his work on what is now known as the ‘Krebs cycle’, a cycle of biochemical reactions that converts harmful ammonia to urea. In 1958 he was knighted.
In 1965 Sir Hans had the honour of handing over to Lord Robbins, President of the British Academy, the proceeds of the Thank-You Britain Fund, an endowment collected by the refugees in gratitude to their adopted homeland.
One of Sir Hans Krebs’s sons, Lord John Krebs, unveiled the plaque and spoke about his father’s gratitude to those who had helped him settle in England. Lord Krebs, who is a zoologist and Principal of Jesus College Oxford, said he was honoured to be asked to unveil the plaque recognising his father’s contribution to science.
Frank Harding, a Trustee of the AJR, told those present that Sir Hans and other refugees had made a tremendous impact across a wide range of fields in the UK. He regarded the commemorative plaque as a follow-up from the Thank-You Britain Fund.
The AJR is hopeful that its next plaque will be in honour of ‘the father of the Paralympics’, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, and will be situated at the entrance to the National Spinal Injury Centre next to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The possibility of placing a plaque on what was the Cosmo restaurant, now the Eriki, near Swiss Cottage in London, is also being discussed.