The former Hampstead home of a German-born Jewish artist and an Austrian-born musician and writer was adorned with a Blue Plaque on Monday as dignitaries and descendants marked its unveiling.
Milein Cosman, an artist and illustrator, came to England in 1939 and in 1947, while working for the Radio Times, she met and married Hans Keller, a writer and broadcaster, who had fled to England following the Anschloss in 1938.
The pair bought and renovated a dilapidated old donkey shed on the edge of Hampstead Heath. In an extract from an interview given the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), Milein said she had “longed for a little ruin” such as this.
“It was raining through the skylights but it was absolutely wonderful,” she said of the Willow Road property. “In those days, Hampstead was truly like a little village.”
On Monday AJR unveiled the Blue Plaque for Cosman and Keller, whose old house is the current home of esteemed Jewish legal author Philippe Sands, together with his partner and fellow human rights lawyer Natalia Schiffrin.
Guests included Milein and Hans’ niece Ena Blyth, Austrian Ambassador Michael Zimmermann and head of the cultural section at the German embassy Ralf Teepe.
Sands and Schiffrin said: “Living in a house once occupied by two such remarkable characters is a special happiness. As a couple and individually, they contributed hugely to the arts and musical heritage of Britain and Europe.”