Heidemann family papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers (photocopies) of the Heidemanns, a Jewish family from Hamburg. Only their daughter Ruth managed to emigrate to England shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. Her parents decided not to join her as they were waiting for visas to emigrate to the United States. They were later deported and perished at Riga concentration camp.

Included are correspondence with friends and relatives in London and the U.S. regarding arrangements for emigration, correspondence addressed to Ruth in England from her parents, and copies of Ruth's qualifications. Also included is research into Adolf Heidemann's army service during the First World War and a summary of the family history of the Heidemanns.

Administrative / Biographical History

Adolf Heidemann (born 1887 in Osterholz) was the youngest of three sons of the Jewish couple David and Dina Heidemann (née Herzberg). He worked as an apprentice at Silberstein, a small private bank in Halberstadt. Adolf married Therese Senior from Halberstadt in 1919. They had their only daughter Ruth in 1920. In 1922 Adolf Heidemann obtained a job as manager of the Hamburger Handelsbank in Stade and the family moved there. They had a spacious house and employed a maid. Ruth attended the girls' high school ('Oberlyzeum'). At the beginning of the 1930s Adolf led an independent insurance and banking agency.

The turning point for the family was the National Socialists coming to power and the 'boycott day' of 1 April 1933. Ruth started being isolated at her school and left in 1936 to attend a Jewish boarding school in Wolfratshausen for one year. After that she attended tailoring training courses in Hamburg to prepare for emigration. Adolf Heidemann was imprisoned for a short time following the November pogroms in 1938. After these events the family tried to arrange for emigration. Adolf and Therese applied for visas to the United States where they had relatives whereas Ruth was meant to go to England on a domestic permit. They moved to Hamburg in May 1939. Yet only Ruth succeeded in leaving the country. She emigrated to London in August 1939. Her parents waited in vain for their visa for the U.S. On 6 December 1941 the couple was deported from Hamburg to Riga where they perished.

Arrangement

Chronological

Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by John Curtis