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Otto and Ada Hartmann fonds
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5 postal receipts.
Manuscript and printed – High German.
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Otto Hartmann, born perhaps around 1880, was a soldier in the Prussian Army during the First World War. Between March and October 1915, he served as a Vizefeldwebel [Staff Sergeant] with Landsturm [home defence] battalions, assigned to rear-guard duties with prisoners-of-war. At first he was stationed with 2. Companie of the 14. Landsturm Infanterie Ersatz-Bataillon at the Rennfeld prisoner-or-war camp in Münster. At the beginning of May, he was in Retowo in East Prussia, en route to Lithuania with 7. Companie, Halbbataillon Münster of the Landsturm Infanterie Regiment no. 1. Shortly, his company arrived at Rossienie [Raseiniai], staying there for several weeks. By the middle of July, Hartmann was attached to the Etappen of the Niemen armee [Army of ne Niemen]. His assignments took him west and north of Kovno [Kaunas], to Borki, Sredniki [Seredzius], Wilki [Vilkija], and Kieydany [Kedaniai], behind the operational front as it moved eastward. By mid-October, he had reached Janow [Jonava], north-east of Kovno. At this time some letters bore the stamp of 3. Kompanie of the Landsturm Infanterie Bataillon Schroda 1. Throughout these eight months, his wife Ada and their children Elizabeth, Fredy and Carl-Heinz lived in Minden, Westfalen [Westphalia], except for a period of time in the months of July and August, when they were visiting the family of Paul Voss in Solingen, Rheinland [Rhineland].
Scope and content
The fonds consists of 26 letters, dated between March and October 1915 and five postal receipts. It has been arranged in chronological order, the letters in folders numbered 1-26 and the receipts in a separate folder. Four of the letters were sent by Ada Hartmann to her husband, the remainder being sent by Otto to her. His letters reflect various experiences in the war, with many references to his company's movements and activities, to the transportation and work duties of the prisoners, and to the ranks, salaries, uniforms and weapons of the Prussian Army. He also touched on non-military topics, including singing, cigars, and other social matters. Among the people named in his letters were: battalion commander Major [Flienitz?]; Oberstleutnant Kuntzel; Vizefeldwebel Vick; Victor Ansaux, a prisoner at Münster; and the family of Paul Voss. Most often comprising only one folded page, his letters were sent by Feldpost, the postal service of the German Army. The letters from Ada, which were typically longer, often concerned various household purchases, payments into the Militärdienst-Versicherung (military service insurance – see receipts below), and such events as a trip with the children to Hagenbeck Zoo. Both wrote in the Spitzschrift or Kurrentschrift form of handwriting typical of the day, though Ada's writing was more flourished and regular than Otto's. Due to water damage and poor paper quality, the letters and envelopes are extremely brittle and are in places very difficult or impossible to decipher.
Note: Although encapsulated, the letters are still extremely fragile and easily damaged. Researchers are asked to use the photocopies provided wherever possible to avoid further damage.
The five Posteinlieferungsscheinen [postal receipts], are postmarked in Minden and presumably obtained by Ada Hartmann. Each consists of a printed form filled out in ink. Three blue-green receipts were issued for small deposits made in 1916 and 1917 to an account with the Deutsche Militärdienst-Versicherung of the Hanover branch of Berlinische Lebens-Versicherungs-Gesellschaft (Berlin Life Insurance Company). The remaining two receipts were issued for larger amounts sent by postal order in the same period to Gotthard Luch in Homberg an der Ohm, Oberhessen (Upper Hesse).
Immediate source of acquisition
Fonds (53-2002) was purchased from The Alexander Gallery, Dec. 2002.
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Further accruals are not expected.
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