Born 8th February 1897 - Died 18th September 1968


Quite the dandy

Walther was born on 6th February, baptized on 14th February 1897 and died on 18th September 1968. He was the son of Heinrich Theodor Ruhrmann of Essen, Germany and Maria Eugenia Huerbuescher. He married Maria Hubertine Sieglar, a daughter of Heinrich Sieglar and Henriette Elizabeth Lennartz. She was born on 31st July 1890 at Essen, and died there on 5th February 1971. They had two daughters:

1 Henriette Theodora Constanze, born on 10th January 1920 at Essen, died on 19th October 2003 at Bonn.She married Dr Helmut Noll.
2 Eleanore Eugenie, who married Captain Kenneth Clive Jacob. They had two sons Kenneth Walther and Robin Helmut Maria.

They had lost a son as an infant, who died in 1918, perhaps of the flu epidemic,and later fostered another son, Otto Brunkhorst.

I have fond memories of both my German grandparents, but particularly my grand-father. A model pupil at school, where I could but strive to obtain a grade B or C (which rarely happened), nothing less than top grades would suffice most of the time for him. Many of his old school reports and much of his school work have survived. He was also a very patient man. My grand-mother Maria suffered severely from Diabetis during the last years of her life, with many added complications caused by this. She was bed-ridden. I spent quite some time with my grand-parents and remember well the morning ritual of preparing Maria's breakfast, which invariably, as with most Germans, consisted of open sandwiches, or Butterbrote, topped with the best cold meats and cheeses money could buy. 'Walther' she would call impatiently from her bedroom, ringing a bell in the process,when breakfast was not ready on time. Usually the most mild mannered of men, he would curse under his breath, but just loud enough for me to hear him, and we dutifully trapsed into the bedroom with an innocent smile on our faces and profuse apologies and deliver the breakfast tray. I helped my grand-father prepare these dishes and he introduced me to baking and cooking at a very early age, perhaps five or there abouts. I still enjoy cooking. Their infant son

A fine draftsman and artist, I have a great many of his drawings, both architectural and otherwise. He was also a learned practitioneer of Homeopathic Medicine and would, when home from work, often go and visit 'patients', taking along the concoctions he had made up in the spacious cellar of the flat. But they seemed to work and he had many grateful patients. Maria and Walther
During WW1 he was deemed not fit enough to serve. I have a document stating that he was the Trade Union representative of the German Postal Workers Union in Essen. This is dated at Berlin 5th July 1920. The inflationary period in Germany hit my grandparents hard. It truly was a matter, so they told me, of taking bag loads of money, billions of Reichsmarks, in order to buy a loaf of bread. But they had incredibly good contacts withih their community, which stood them in good stead throught their lives. During WW2 Walther joined the Technische Nothilfe, being a Kameradenfuehrer in the Zanitaetszug of the local Essen branch. He had fully qualified as a medic through the German Red Cross. He managed through his contacts to get endless leave passes and after 30th April 1944 he managed to get himself demobbed. After the war he worked for the town council of Essen until his retirement in 1967.

My grand-mother Maria I held in a certain awe. She was very much the product of the Kaiser's Germany, as perhaps many of my English forebears in the early 20th century were of Queen Victoria's Britain. The two were not at all dissimilar, for obvious reasons. I only found out after her death that she had been a respected member of various Karneval societies and had been a speaker during their various festivities, and much in demand. In German it is called a Buettenrednerin. She wrote her own speeches, several of which I have, and they are very funny indeed. Oh yes, Germans do have a sense of humour. She also wrote plays that were performed on an amateur level in and around Essen. Apparently she appeared on radio, and I have letters between her and the Radio program that would support this, but I still have to find recordings of these shows - if indeed they exist. She was given many medals by various Karneval organisations to which she belonged, three of which I illustrate on her page.

I recently visited in Germany, for the first time, a nephew of Maria's, whose father I had known as a boy. He told me some facts about my grand-parents I had not known, the most interesting of which is that Maria entertained many notable people in her flat in Essen. I have photographs of some of them, but never knew that Richard Tauber, when in Essen, was a regular visitor. Now I know why he owned so many 78 rpm records of Tauber.

After the war Walther cared for properties of a number of German friends who had been taken prisioner on the Eastern front, and even wrote a paper about where Germany should be heading after the war.


Jacob MSS (Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate, Death Certificates, Ahnentafel and many other documents)


HOME Photo album Sample of Walther's handwritingSample of Maria's handwriting