The archives

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 in the Helmut Schmidt-Archiv (HSA) relating to the life and work of this exceptional 20th-century figure have been made available for academic research. They represent one of the largest private legacies of any European statesman. Not only does this broad collection permit a very personal insight into Helmut Schmidt’s interests and priorities, it also reflects the political discourse of the time.

The HSA also houses the personal collections of Loki Schmidt and Karl Wilhelm Berkhan. The Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung (BKHS) is committed to supplementing the existing collections from historically valuable sources. In 2020, for instance, the papers of Wolfgang Schmidt, Helmut Schmidt’s brother, were deposited by his granddaughters.

The HSA is part of the Helmut und Loki Schmidt-Stiftung, founded in 1992 to mark the Schmidts’ golden wedding. It is located at the residence in Hamburg’s Langenhorn district. The purpose of the foundation is the promotion of the sciences and research. It seeks to support the commemoration of Helmut Schmidt’s political activities and to preserve the memory of Loki Schmidt’s work for nature conservation.

The Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung was established in 2017 by the German Bundestag as one of the non-partisan foundations that commemorate politicians. Both Schmidt foundations work closely together.

Our video shows that archives do not have to be dry and dusty places and that they play a role as places of democracy:

You can gain an overview of Helmut Schmidt’s bibliography at the library of the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg. You can view Schmidt’s official documents in the Hamburg State Archive and research the period he spent  working at Hamburg’s public authorities and later as a Senator. The Federal Archives hold papers on Helmut Schmidt’s activity as a Member of the German Bundestag, as a Minister and as Federal Chancellor. In the Archives of Social Democracy of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, you can find documents relating to Schmidt’s SPD membership and from his time as leader of the parliamentary party.