When Helmut Schmidt died in 2015, the statesman’s archives held 2,800 files, an extensive collection of dossiers, and 25,000 books and photograph albums. The papers relating to the life and work of this exceptional 20th century figure have been made available for academic research. Not only does this broad range of literature enable a very personal insight into Helmut Schmidt’s interests and areas of focus, it also reflects the political discourse of the time.
Immediately after the war, Helmut Schmidt resolved to keep his own writings and documents. Due to the diverse offices and positions he held in the decades following his chancellorship, political writings, correspondence, newspaper articles and press cuttings were soon added. It was not long before their private home became too small for the large amount of archive material, and so Helmut Schmidt decided in 2006 to have a new archive built in the immediate neighbourhood.
In 2015, the year that he died, Helmut Schmidt agreed for the documents to be digitised. The work will take years. However limited access to the archive for research purposes has been possible since 1 January 2018. Facilities are currently being expanded to reduce waiting times and increase research support staff.