Hampstead blue plaque is a tribute to artistic and musical couple

AJR's memorial tribute to Milein Cosman and Hans Keller


The Austrian ambassador was among the guests as the Association of Jewish Refugees unveiled a blue plaque in Hampstead honouring artist and illustrator, Milein Cosman and musician and writer Hans Keller.

Born in 1921, Milein Cosman grew up in Düsseldorf, attended school in Switzerland and moved to England in 1939 to attend the Slade School of Fine Art in Oxford. On moving to London in 1945 she established herself as a freelance artist. In 1947 she began working for the Radio Times where she met her future husband, the writer and broadcaster Hans Keller.

He was born in Vienna in 1919 and lived with his family in Döbling until the Anschluss forced him to leave for London in 1938. After the war, he quickly made his name as a highly original musical writer, notable particularly for his combination of music and psychoanalysis. From 1959 to 1979, he held a variety of senior positions at the BBC, for which he was a frequent and popular broadcaster. He died of motor neurone disease in 1985. 

In a piece for AJR's refugee voices testimony, Milein Cosman, who died in 2017, said: "Home for me is Hampstead and the Heath. Just when I met Hans, I had secured something I had longed for, a little ruin of a little house. It was actually a stable, a donkey stable at the turn of the century almost bang on the Heath in Willow Road. It was raining through the skylights but it was absolutely wonderful. In those days, Hampstead was truly like a little village.”

Philippe Sands and Natalia Schiffrin, who now live in the house, said the connection brought them "a special happiness. As a couple and individually, Milein Cosman and Hans Keller contributed hugely to the arts and musical heritage of Britain and Europe. It's entirely fitting and joyous that their former home should receive a plaque to honour them forever."

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive