Why the Jewish Refugee Engineer, Ludwig Loewy was crucial to Britain
Ludwig Loewy was a Jewish engineer who left Nazi Germany in 1936 to set up an engineering firm in London as a refugee. Britain was re-arming and a new generation of aircraft was being developed based on light alloy “stressed skin” construction. Loewy Engineering had 2,000 German drawings and the expertise needed to build machinery urgently needed for alloy fabrication. The machines were otherwise supplied from Germany at a time of growing tension.
Loewy’s company developed rapidly, helped by a workforce of refugee engineers and managers. Loewy became a trusted advisor to the Government’s production programme for aircraft until his death in 1942. His former firm in Düsseldorf, Schloemann, was ‘Aryanised’ after his departure and continued to supply equipment to the UK until the outbreak of war and went on to help the German and Italian war effort.
Ludwig Loewy’s rapid assimilation owed much to earlier contacts with the UK, his welcome expertise in a sector that was growing at break-neck speed and customers who needed his technology. The Government welcomed his contribution to aircraft production at a time of rapid re-armament. Ludwig Loewy’s experience supports the view that German speaking refugee engineers were readily accepted in the UK over the period 1933 to 1945.