Firma Ruhe in Germany

Firma Ruhe
The Ruhe Villa was built 1913-1914
The Ruhe Villa was built 1913-1914

Local name Tierhandelsfirma L. Ruhe

Owner 1860-1883: Ludwig Ruhe Sr.
1882-1923: Hermann Ruhe Sr.
1923-1978: Hermann Ruhe Jr.
1978-1993: Hermann Ruhe III
Closed down1993
Address Kalandstrasse
Place Alfeld
Country Germany

Directors 1883: Ludwig Ruhe Jr. (assistant director)
Hermann Ruhe (Alfeld)
Bernhard Ruhe (New York)

Key People: Franz Kraml (animal trainer)
-: August Milte (zookeeper)
1923: Alfred Glenewinkel (zookeeper)
1961-1961: Lothar Dittrich (zookeeper)


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
1934: Jose Smaha
(elephant trainer)
-: Karl Kreth
(elephant head-keeper)

Elephant keepers: Mandal Sukla
-1934: Josef Hack
Record history
History of updates2023-11-21

Latest document update2023-11-21 17:59:51
Google map
Random literature
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

Firma Ruhe, located at Kalandstrasse, in Alfeld, Germany , was founded in 1860. Firma Ruhe closed down in 1993.

Comments / pictures
Firma Ruhe in Germany Germany
Ludwig Ruhe (-1883)

Firma Ruhe was one of the leading animal trade companies, founded in 1880 by Ludwig Ruhe (in america Louis Ruhe) and closed down in 1993.

Before 1907, Carl Hagenbeck Sr. was worldwide the most important animal trader in the world.
But when he built his new Zoo in 1907, he suddenly became a provocation against the old type Zoo facilities in Germany, and he was cut of as their supplier, while Firma Ruhe suddenly become the most important suppler of animals to german Zoos.

Ludwig Ruhes company was taken over by his sons: Hermann Ruhe Sr. who stayed in Alfeld and Bernhard Ruhe who managed Firma L. Ruhe in New York, USA. Hermann Ruhe Sr. died in 1923, and his son Hermann Ruhe Jr. took over. Three generations of Ruhe operated worldwide, with local offices in London and New York, and provided hundred of elephants to Zoos and circuses.

1900-1924 apr 10 elephants/year were sold.

1917: 12 elephants were bought in Sumatra, and delivered to USA. (Among them Kechil and Hitam Source: Wilde Tiere frei Haus by Hermann Ruhe)

1923: William P. Hall imported eight Asian elephants from Firma Ruhe to William P. Hall Animal Farm,.

1924: 18 elephants were sold.

1925: 28 elephants were sold.

1924-1930: Totally 118 elephants were sold (p 169, Wilde Tiere frei Haus by Hermann Ruhe Jr.)

1931-1971 Hermann Ruhe Jr. rented the entire Hannover Zoo.

"Hannover Zoo is old, the fourth-oldest in Germany, inaugurated in 1865…The zoo did as well as any in a large, provincial German town over the decades, and suffered as most others did during the First World War, the post-war years of inflation, and the Great Depression. In 1931 it was leased to the wild-animal traders of L. Ruhe in nearby Alfeld. Ruhe, founded in 1860 and thus older than the zoo, had established itself during the inter-war years as the premier animal dealership in Europe. The lease would hold until 1971, and gave visitors to Hannover Zoo over the years an opportunity to see rare and unusual animals that would otherwise seldom make it into a provincial menagerie."

1945: Ruhe established a quarantene in the free port in Hamburg, in order to ship exports destined for USA. Since then, Alfeld was only used for animals which would stay in Europe.

1948: Hermann Ruhe Jr. founded Ruhr Zoo in Gelsenkirchen.

1962: 4 African bull elephants sold to Circus Carl Althoff; 1. bull with unknown name, 2. Sudan, Douglas, and a fourth, bull with unknown name. All four are supposed to have died before end of 1965.

1969: Founded Autosafari Reserva Africana in Mallorca.

1972: Founded Wingst Baby Zoo and Brunkensen Kinderzoo.

1977: 2 Africans were relocated from Wingst Baby Zoo to Krefeld Zoo, where Duala remained, while Sanga was sold to Giza Zoo in Egypt.

In 1977 the property in Alfeld was sold to the city.

1980: Import of nine Asian females from Rangoon Zoo in Burma to Brunkensen Kinderzoo, claimed to be third generation captive bred. 1. Yhetoo sold to Krefeld Zoo, six to RBBB in U.S.A.: split between Blue unit: 2.Alana, 3.Bonnie, 4.Icky II, 5.Nicole, and Red unit: 6.Bangkok and 7.Siam II.

1985: A Group of Africans imported from Wankie national park in Zimbabwe, kept at Wingst Baby Zoo and sold from there.

1993: Firma Ruhe went bankrupt and closed after more than 100 years history.

Today, there are some stuffed animals on display in the museum in Alfeld.

2003: Hermann Ruhe III died 14 december 2003.

Elephant keepers/trainers:
* Karl Kreth
* Baron Hans F. Von Ketelholdt

Firma Ruhe in Germany Germany

The picture from 1905 with the small elephant: riders: 10 year old Hermann Ruhe Jr. and his 12 year old brother Ludwig Ruhe, in white jacket senior zookeeper Siegfried, in front Karl Kreth.
Firma Ruhe in Germany Germany
At he picture when elephants are unloaded from train is Karl Kreth with hat.

Firma Ruhe in Germany Germany
Elephant transporter used in 1934 for elephant ö from Copenhagen Zoo

References for records about Firma Ruhe

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Firma Ruhe, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Search more with Google for Firma RuheThe link will automatically include Firma Ruhe and open a new browser window.

Search more on the Internet Web for Firma RuheThe link will automatically include Firma Ruhe and open a new browser window

Categories dealer in Germany | Germany Portal | europe Portal

About this documentThis document was updated: 2023-11-21 17:59:51 with valid HTML5 Valid CSS

Elephant Encyclopedia and database

Established 1995
Established 2006
Your ip:
Kulen Elephant Forest