The contributions of Jewish refugees were prominently featured in the results of a Britain Thinks poll that were released to coincide with the launch of Refugee Week 2013 according to London’s Evening Standard newspaper. The nationwide festival celebrates the positive influence that refugees have had on British society.
The Austrian-Jewish founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud topped the national poll with 50% of the vote as the refugee who has made the most significant contribution to British life.
In second place was Max Born who garnered 21% of the vote. The German who was of Jewish descent is famous for his work in the field of physics and mathematics, and was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics.
The poll also asked respondents for their opinion on the 20th century inventions that had made the greatest contribution to British life. Notably, the popular British dish fish and chips which was introduced to the United Kingdom by French Protestant refugees and Jewish settlers from Portugal, received 17% of the vote.
In second place came high street department store Marks and Spencer, co-founded by Russian-Jewish refugee Michael Marks, with 11% of the vote.
“An overwhelming majority (94%) believed that the full history of Britain, including the role the country has played in protecting refugees, should be taught in schools,” the Standard reported.
Commenting on the contributions of refugees who fled to Britain, Chairman of Refugee Week Maurice Wren said: “From as early as the arrival of the Armenians who settled in this country during the 12th century, the UK has enjoyed a proud tradition of welcome for those seeking sanctuary. The results of the survey show the valuable contribution that refugees have made to British history and heritage. It is interesting to see that the great British public consistently rank science and technology inventions more highly than the equally positive contributions to British cultural and sporting life made more recently by refugees.”