Frederick G. Heymann was born in Berlin on December 24, 1900. He studied history, philosophy, economics and sociology at the Universities of Berlin, Göttingen, Heidelberg and Frankfurt. He received his PhD from the University of Frankfurt in 1922 and spent two years on postgraduate work with Werner Sombart, an historian of modern capitalism.
Heymann started his journalism career in 1925 as the assistant economic policy editor for Frankfurter Zeitung, a highly regarded newspaper in pre-Hitler Germany. In 1932 he moved to Czechoslovakia as head of the Prague editorial office. Heymann’s writing came under increasing criticism from the German legation as being too friendly to the Czech people and to Czechoslovak policy. In 1935 the office was taken over by the Nazis and Heymann moved on to the Bohemia, a local daily paper of which he was editor, chief editorial writer and diplomatic correspondent. Both of these positions involved intensive diplomatic travel and study of the politics, economies and history of Eastern European countries.
Several members of the Bohemia’s editorial staff were arrested in March 1939; although Heymann was questioned, he was subsequently let go. With the help of Dr. Zdenek Schmoranz from the Press Department in the office of the Prime Minister, Heymann was able to leave the country with his family, arriving in England in July 1939. He expected to travel on to Australia but the outbreak of the war prevented him from doing so, and also contributed to his 10-week stay in an internment camp on the Isle of Man.
Heymann took classes to become proficient in English and was eventually employed in 1941 by the British Ministry of Information. He wrote and edited articles and became the military correspondent for Die Zeitung, a German language paper sponsored by the Ministry. In 1944 he was hired by the United States Office of War Information, a position that enabled him to travel to Germany as a civilian editor for the illustrated weekly Heute. At the end of the war, Heymann and his family emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York in July 1946.
Once in America, Heymann taught history at high schools and pursued his life-long passion of research and writing. His first book was published in 1955, a major work on John Žižka and the Hussite Revolution. Between 1956-1958 he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and then was Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa 1958-1959. He joined the University of Calgary in 1959 as an associate professor of history, later serving as Head of the Department. Heymann was widely acknowledged as an authority on Czech history and would publish numerous articles, chapters and books, including George of Bohemia, King of Heretics (1965) and Poland and Czechoslovakia (1966). He retired from the University of Calgary in 1973 and was granted Professor Emeritus status for his outstanding scholarship and service.
Heymann and his first wife Edith had two children, Ruth Bean and Frank. Edith died in 1966. Heymann married his second wife Dr. Lili Rabel from the Department of Linguistics, University of Calgary, in 1969. He died in 1983.