Author: Helen Adams, NPHT Trustee, 11th May 2023

On the 29th April 2023 I had the pleasure and privilege to represent NPHT at the unveiling of a blue plaque at 63 Lonsdale Road, Oxford where Sir Ludwig Guttmann and his family lived for 12 years after escaping Nazi persecution in 1939. The sun was shining, and many residents came out to see the new addition to their street along with Guttmann's grandchildren and great-grandchildren who had travelled from Peterborough for the occasion.

Eva Loeffler OBE, alongside the Lord Mayor of Oxford (Cllr James Fry) and the Chair of the County Council (Cllr Susanna Pressel).
Image © Stephanie Jenkins, Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board, 2023

Eva was 6 years old when she came to the UK from Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland). In a wonderful speech, Eva - now 90 - said she had not been back to the house for many, many years but still saw it in her dreams. She vividly described her childhood in the house - there being not one car on the street, the large wooden furniture they had been able to take with them but was too big to fit through the door, and how her father split the front room in half to create a study that she and her brother were not allowed to enter. There is light and shade in all great stories and it was clear that the price of Ludwig's dedication to his pioneering work with spinal injuries patients at Stoke Mandeville was leaving Eva and her brother with very little contact with their father. She remembers only one family holiday and her mother spending evenings typing up her husband's papers. 

Read more about Dr Guttmann here.

Read about the Blue Plaque here.