7. Becoming British
In the post-war years most refugees took British nationality, and many took new British names. They settled down, married and had families, and created a recognisable refugee environment.
Refugee organisations like Club 1943 and the AJR Club flourished, and landmarks like the Cosmo Restaurant and the Dorice became refugee meeting-places. The AJR Information commenced publication in 1946 as the mouthpiece of the community.
The refugees became integrated into British economic life. Life was hard for many in the post-war years, especially those who had to start with little or nothing. Nevertheless, a disproportionate number of the refugees made their way in middle-class commercial and professional occupations, achieving a distinct degree of prosperity and success.
The refugees had an impact out of all proportion to their numbers in a wide range of occupational areas, such as science and medicine, psychoanalysis, art history and publishing. Scientists like Francis Simon, Hans Krebs, Ernst Chain, Rudolf Peierls and Max Perutz were of inestimable value to Britain. Institutions like the Wiener Library, the Warburg Institute, the Freud Museum and the Leo Baeck Institute are living evidence of the creative impulse that the refugees injected into British cultural and intellectual life.
Refugees began to receive restitution payments from West Germany in the 1950s. Though these could never compensate for the human losses suffered by the Jews, they did alleviate the position of many refugees and enabled the AJR to provide essential social services to its members.