A plaque to honour Sir Ludwig Guttmann was unveiled yesterday (Thursday) at Stoke Mandeville Hospital by Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust and the Association for Jewish Refugees.
Sir Ludwig became famous as the father of the Paralympic Games after he fled Nazi Germany and found work at the hospital in March 1939.
His escape was made possible by what is now known as the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics, which was responsible in the 1930s for finding posts for a large number of refugee academics and scientists who had been dismissed from their positions by the Nazis.
Sir Ludwig was an active and longstanding member of the Association for Jewish Refugees , serving on its board for over 25 years.
He gave expert advice to the association relating to the homes for elderly refugees that it administered jointly with the Central British Fund.
The spinal injuries centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital was founded by Sir Ludwig in 1944 to treat servicemen who had sustained spinal cord injuries in the Second World War.
Frank Harding, a trustee of the Association for Jewish Refugees, said: “It gives us great pleasure to honour the life of Sir Ludwig Guttmann whose work and legacy have been rightly celebrated.
“His work had an enormous impact on the lives of many hundreds of individuals in the United Kingdom and on British society, and on many thousands of athletes across the world.”
Sally Loring, assistant chief operating officer of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are really excited about having this plaque at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
“We are tremendously proud of Professor Guttmann’s work at the hospital, in both establishing our National Spinal Injuries Centre and his unique approach to rehabilitation which led to the creation of the Paralympic movement.
“We hope that, as well as providing an important reminder of his work, the plaque will be an inspiration to our staff and spinal patients.”
Sir Ludwig introduced a new approach to the way paraplegic, and later tetraplegic, patients were treated.
Sport was a vital ingredient in Sir Ludwig’s rehabilitation programme and it was in 1948, in the grounds of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, that he organised a competition for 16 disabled men and women to coincide with the opening ceremony of the 1948 Olympic Games in London.
The annual Stoke Mandeville Games became an international event in 1952 and in 1960 the inaugural Paralympic Games were held in Rome, immediately after the Olympic Games.