Skip to main content

Heidecker and Schmitt Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25651

Scope and Content Note

The Heidecker and Schmitt Family Collection holds the papers of Ludolf and Ruth (née Schmitt) Heidecker and of some of their related family members. Prominent among the collection's papers is documentation of the family members' efforts to emigrate during the 1930s and 1940s. Other subjects include Ludolf Heidecker's role in New York soccer organizations following his arrival in the United States, family genealogy, and efforts made to acquire restitution for the family's losses during the Holocaust. The collection includes prolific correspondence, photographs and photo albums, newspaper clippings, cookbooks, official documents, poetry, a friendship album, and other items.

Documentation of Schmitt and Heidecker family members' plans to emigrate and join Ludolf and Ruth Heidecker in the United States can be found in several areas of the collection. This subject is most prominent in the correspondence of Series I. Much of its first subseries consists of letters from parents and siblings that mention their struggle through the morass of paperwork required to acquire an American visa, or visas for transit countries, and the interminable waiting required in this process. Related are also the routine correspondence and forms of American immigration offices along with letters regarding financial assistance from other family already in the United States, located in the series' second subseries. Other letters, such as those from friends in the same subseries as well as Red Cross Tracing letters in Subseries 2 and the restitution correspondence of Subseries 3, document the family members' failure to acquire visas and their deportations to Poland. Correspondence from family members' who were able to flee Nazi Germany, especially Ludolf's brothers Justin and Fritz, are also included in the first subseries of Series I. Ludolf and Ruth's own immigration is documented to a lesser extent, primarily via the official documents and passports of Series II.

Another notable topic of this collection is the history of the Heidecker and Schmitt families, along with photographs of family members. Several folders of family trees can be found in Series II, along with material on the history of Jews in the town of Hirschaid. This series also holds the photographs and photo albums of the collection, which includes many photographs of Heidecker and Schmitt family members as well as of their former residences in Hirschaid and Georgensmünd. A few papers of family members are included in the final series of this collection, Series V.

The hobbies and interests of Ludolf and Ruth Heidecker are documented in this collection as well. Ludolf's participation in the soccer community of New York following his arrival is particularly well-documented, especially his role in the establishment of the New World Club and in the activities of the Eastern District Soccer League and the German-American Football League. This material makes up Series III, and includes correspondence, information on games and regulations, and newspaper clippings related to soccer clubs and players. Series IV consists of a number of cookbooks and recipes, possibly owned or used by Ruth Heidecker. In addition, poems by or about the couple are also part of the personal papers of Series II, as is a friendship album of Ruth Heidecker and documentation related to a prayer book.

Users of the collection should note that several times it references "Oma" (grandma), specifically in a photo album, as an owner of a prayer book, and in a folder of recipes. Although Oma is not directly named, from examination of the collection's papers it seems likely that Oma refers to Ruth Heidecker.


  • 1894-2012
  • Majority of material found within 1935-1960


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, and Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Part of the collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Ludolf Heidecker was born on March 3, 1907 in Georgensmünd, Bavaria, near Nuremberg. He was the eldest son of Avraham and Sophie Heidecker, with two younger brothers, Justin and Fritz. The Heidecker family owned a textile mill, L.H. Heidecker, first founded in 1850, and run by four generations of the family. Ludolf, who was an avid soccer player, became the general manager until the business had to be sold in 1937. His father died in 1939 and his mother was deported to Poland in 1942.

Rösi Ruth Schmitt was born on May 25, 1917 in Hirschaid, Bavaria, the daughter of Moritz and Paula (née Dingfelder) Schmitt. She had a brother, Arthur, and a sister, Bianka. Arthur Schmitt and his family came to the United States in August 1938. In 1941 Moritz and Paula Schmitt, together with Bianka and her family (husband Philipp Heumann and son Ludolf) were deported to Poland with all other remaining Jews of Hirschaid.

On February 17, 1937 Ruth Schmitt married Ludolf Heidecker in Georgensmünd. The following year the couple emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York City on March 3, 1938 on the S.S. Washington. They first resided in Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, but later moved to Floral Park on Long Island.

Ludolf's interest in and support of soccer continued after his emigration. Shortly after his arrival in New York, in 1938, Ludolf founded with a few friends the German Jewish Club, a soccer club that later became the New World Club. The team was composed largely of immigrants from Europe and in 1939 won the title of the Eastern District Soccer League. In 1947 Ludolf was voted president of the Eastern District Soccer League, a position he held for fifteen years, along with often being its treasurer as well. In 1960 the organization named him honorary president. He was also president for five years of the Southern New York State Football Association and a council member of the United States Soccer Football Association for more than twenty years; he also was named honorary president of the latter organization.

Ludolf Heidecker died in 1982, Ruth Heidecker in 2014. They had two sons and a daughter, although their eldest son, Leslie, died in childhood.


1.5 Linear Feet


The Heidecker and Schmitt Family Collection largely documents the emigration experiences of members of the Heidecker, Schmitt, and related families, especially of Ludolf and Ruth (née Schmitt) Heidecker. The failure of some family members in leaving Germany is portrayed in these papers as well. Other subjects include the families' histories, restitution for their losses in the Holocaust, and the postwar interests of Ludolf and Ruth Heidecker, among other subjects. The collection includes extensive correspondence and photographs, material relating to Ludolf Heidecker's role in soccer associations, cookbooks and recipes, family trees, newspaper clippings, official documents, and other personal papers.

Related Material

The LBI Library includes a book by Ludolf Heidecker's brother Fritz: Die Brunnenbauer : juedische Pionierarbeit in Palaestina, 1934-1939 (HD 1516 P18 H43 1998).

Separated Material

A prayer book, "Oma's Siddur," was removed to the LBI Library along with a few publications about the Bavarian towns of Hirschaid and Georgensmünd.

Processing Information

During processing of the collection, the papers were divided into series and subseries. Basic preservation actions were undertaken. Entire publications were removed from the collection with photocopies made of their title pages and retained in the collection.

Guide to the Papers of the Heidecker and Schmitt Family 1894-2012 AR 25651
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Heidecker_and_Schmitt_Family.xml

Revision Statements

  • August 2016:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States