Two deceased Jewish-born Englishmen are being honored in new “Remarkable Lives” stamps being issued by the United Kingdom: Nobel Laureate Max Ferdinand Perutz and Abrams Games, a graphic designer who became the only official War Office artist.
Perutz, born in Austria in 1914, was a molecular biologist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1962, together with Oxford-born crystallographer and biochemist Sir John Cowdery Kendrew for their discoveries about the structure of large proteins – most notably hemoglobin, the giant protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.
Not content with winning the Nobel himself, Perutz went on to found a molecular biology research lab at Cambridge University, which went to produce 14 more Nobel laureates.
Perutz, by the way, was hardly an active Jew. If anything he was an atheist, though he'd been baptized as a Catholic by his parents. Even so, his Jewish ancestry was enough to have the Nazis kick him out of Austria, and wound up in Canada.
During the war he engaged in scientific research on behalf of the Allies.
Although not religiously inclined himself, Perutz objected to Richard Dawkins' attacks on religion, which he felt were tactless, reportedly saying: "Even if we do not believe in God, we should try to live as though we did." He died in 2002.
Abram Games, a designer, was born – as Abram Gamse - in London's Whitechapel, coincidentally also in 1914. His Latvian parents anglicized the family surname to Games when the child was 12.
Games is being celebrated for posters he drew to bolster the British during World War II, becoming the only official War Office artist. In fact he spent more than six decades drawing in his unique, powerful style, and is also credited with several industrial designs.
Other figures in the "Remarkable Lives" set of stamps include the poet Dylan Thomas, the actors Alec Guinness and Kenneth More, and the footballer Joe Mercer. The stamps will be available from March 25.
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