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Hermann Ludewig Collection

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Hermann Ludewig Collection


Hermann Ludewig Collection


Hermann Richard Rudolf Ludewig was born October 12, 1898 in Berlin, Germany. From December 1916 to January 1919, he served in the German Army in Flanders during World War I. After the war, he worked as a fireman on a locomotive and in 1921, he entered school at Beuth-Schule, Hoehere Technische Lehranstalt der Stadt Berlin, from which he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1924. From 1925 to 1937, he worked for Orenstein and Koppel, a major engineering company, in Berlin, Germany. During this time, he married Emma Berta Pauline Jaglitz on June 12, 1935.

Likely through his friend Bernhard Tessmann, with whom he worked at Orenstein and Koppel, Ludewig began work with the rocket development project in Peenemünde, Germany, which was under the direction of Dr. Wernher von Braun, in May 1937. Ludewig’s first position was the Deputy of Design Chief under Walter Riedel, and in February 1942, he became the Chief of Acceptance and Inspection under Dr. von Braun. Ludewig’s daughter Christel was born on November 20, 1939 while he was stationed at Peenemünde. On the night of August 17/18, 1943, the British bombed the Peenemünde facility as part of Operation Hydra, destroying the Ludewig family’s home; however, Ludewig and his family survived the bombing. After the raid, Ludewig transferred from Peenemünde to assignments in Nordhausen and Berlin.

After the end of the war, the Ludewig family moved to Trebbin, Germany to manage the farm of his father. At that time, Trebbin was inside East Germany, and in the Soviet sphere of influence. Ludewig worked to conceal the fact that he had worked with the rocket team at Peenemünde, fearing he would be forced to work on the Soviet rocket program. In 1953, he made an agreement to join many of his former colleagues in the United States and the family escaped to Berlin. The family arrived in New York on October 31, 1953 and by November were in Huntsville. Ludewig worked on the Redstone and Jupiter rocket program at Redstone Arsenal for the Army Ballistic Missile Agency until 1960, when he transferred to NASA at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. He worked in a variety of capacities there, including in the Systems Office as a Special Assistant under Konrad Dannenberg on the Saturn project. He retired from NASA in 1967.

Hermann Ludewig passed away in Huntsville, Alabama on March 2, 1986.

The family established a scholarship in the memory of Emmy and Hermann Ludewig at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2000.

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