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Arthur Louis Hugo Rudolph Collection

Identifier: MC-81

Scope and Contents

Biographies of Rudolph, scanned newspapers and original clippings, an obituary.


  • Creation: 1906 - 1996

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research in the Archives & Special Collections reading room. Handling guidelines and use restrictions will be communicated and enforced by archives staff members.

Conditions Governing Use

This material may be protected under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) which governs the making of photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted materials. You may use the digitized material for private study, scholarship, or research. Though the University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives and Special Collections has physical ownership of the material in its collections, in some cases we may not own the copyright to the material. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in our collections.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Louis Hugo Rudolph was born on November 9, 1906 and died on January 1, 1996 (Bond).

Rudolph worked with both Walter Riedel and Wernher von Braun on Germany’s V-2 rocket (Bond). “Rudolph was given the task of outfitting and managing the giant model shops, preparing the groundwork for eventual mass production of the A-4 rocket (later known as the V-2 or Revenge Weapon 2)” (Bond).

“During the war, Arthur Rudolph had served as Operations Director at the massive Mittelwerk underground V -2 rocket manufacturing facility,” part of the Dora-Nordhausen concentration camp (Feigin 331). Among other atrocities committed at the camp, slave labor there went into the V-2’s construction, but Rudolph didn’t immediately pay for his involvement in it (“EXILED SCIENTIST ARTHUR RUDOLPH DIES AT AGE 89”).

Along with 118 other rocket engineers, Rudolph surrendered to American forces in 1945 and was brought over to the United States through Operation Paperclip; Rudolph acquired American citizenship in 1954 (Bond).

“In 1950, Arthur Rudolph and the von Braun team were transferred to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama,” where they helped develop the Jupiter and Pershing missiles (Freeman 6). Rudolph was named the project director for the Pershing program. When the rest of von Braun’s team was transferred to other projects in 1957, Rudolph stayed put— “he was considered irreplaceable on the Pershing program” (5-6). In 1960, Rudolph was awarded the Exceptional Civilian Service award (“the highest civilian award in the Army”) for his management of the Pershing program (7).

Rudolph was transferred over to NASA in 1961 (Freeman 7). In 1963, Rudolph was appointed the program director of the Saturn V rocket, the spacecraft responsible for the 1969 moon landing (7). Rudolph retired from NASA just months before the moon landing, and “[a] grateful government awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal and the Congressional Medal of Honor” (Bond).

Despite the accolades heaped upon him, Rudolph could not escape his past. During two interviews with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) conducted in the early 1980s, Rudolph admitted to knowing about the deplorable treatment and living conditions the prisoners endured at the Mittelwerk rocket factory (Feigin 333, Freeman 9 “EXILED SCIENTIST”).

In exchange for not being prosecuted for the war crimes of which he stood accused, Rudolph signed an agreement with the United States Justice Department in which he renounced his United States citizenship in 1983; Rudolph went into exile, returning to West Germany and acquiring citizenship there (Freeman 9, Bond).

In 1990, he was barred entry from Canada to visit family after his immigration hearing there went south (Bond).

Rudolph hoped “he’d get his citizenship back and that the government would admit its accusations were wrong,” according to Walter Haeussermann, one of Rudolph’s colleagues at the Marshall Space Flight Center (“EXILED SCIENTIST”). Rudolph maintained his innocence until his death (Bond).


Bond, Peter. “OBITUARY : Faith & Reason :Arthur Rudolph.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 6 Jan. 1996,

“EXILED SCIENTIST ARTHUR RUDOLPH DIES AT AGE 89.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Jan. 1996,

Feigin, Judy. “Secret Justice Department Report Details How the U.S. Helped Former Nazis.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2006,

Freeman, Marsha. Arthur Rudolph and the Rocket That Took Us to the Moon, 1993,


0.5 Linear foot (1 box.)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Klauss Reiner, 2013.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, and competing priorities. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Megan Sullivan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections Repository

M. Louis Salmon Library
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899 Alabama 35899 United States of America