Ira Rischowski

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Ira Rischowski (1899–1989) was one of Germany's first female engineers.[1] Persecuted by the Nazi regime because of her Jewish parentage and socialist politics,[1] she escaped to the UK in 1936 through the domestic servant visa scheme[2][citation needed][3]. Interned for a year at the Rushen Camp on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien, she was released in 1942 and worked as a draughtsman and planning engineer, first at Tuvox Ltd and later at James Gordon Ltd, where she became Head of Projects.[4]

She was a member of the Women's Engineering Society, serving on the Council and supporting efforts to encourage British women to become engineers. On her death in 1989, the then WES President Dorothy Hatfield called her "an inspiration to us all".

Family life[edit]

Ira Rischowski met her future husband while studying engineering at the Technical University in Darmstadt. They had two children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Rischowski, Ira (Oral history)". Imperial War Museums. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  2. ^ Holmes, Rose (2018). "Love, labour, loss: women, refugees and the servant crisis in Britain, 1933–1939". Women's History Review. 27:2,: 288–309.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  3. ^ Cacciottolo, Mario (2012-03-08). "Scrubbing floors to escape from Hitler". Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  4. ^ "Records of the Women's Engineering Society: papers of Ira Rischowski - Archives Hub". Retrieved 2019-09-22.