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Hardt Family Relatives



of the Chicago Heinrichs

The Hardt FamilyHardts, 1918 The Hardt family shown here was sponsored by Grandma Bertha when they came to the U.S. in the 1920's. On the back of the photo she identified them as "Anna, Herbert, and Adolph Hardt", and alluded to "the heartache" and trouble that was stirred up in the family as a result. They were no doubt cousins directly related to Louise HARDT HEINRICH, Grandma Bertha's immigrant grandmother from East Prussia. Herbie Hardt grew up to be a popular and talented performer with "Louie and the Hungry Five", a German band that entertained regularly at the Old Heidelberg Restaurant on Randolph Street in Chicago's Loop. He retired to Fish Creek, in Door County, Wisconsin. He made several unsuccessful attempts to find family members in Germany, but it seems none of his aunts and uncles survived the bombings and battles of the war. The photos on this page, found among Grandma Bertha's effects, may provide further clues to the family's origins in Europe.

HERBI'S STORY: Herbi Hardt's father Adolph was a machinist, an officer of the machinist's union in fact. They were living in the city in the twenties, in an apartment over a corner shop on a busy avenue. The family would sit on the balcony to watch the parades every Sunday. Adolph told his wife Anna,"Every week there are more brown-shirts marching." He could see that conditions were taking a turn toward violence and political upheaval. "Let me write to my cousin Fritz in Chicago," he proposed. "Maybe we can go to America and stay there until this all blows over." So he wrote a letter, addressed: "Fritz Heinrich, Chicago, USA." Amazingly, the letter was delivered -- to the house on Carpenter Street, where Grandma Bertha was mourning her father's passing. Since Cousin Fritz was dead, Grandma gathered her sisters and brothers together to discuss the plight of their German cousins. It was agreed that they would sponsor the Hardts' immigration and loan them the $500 cost of their passage.

Both of these photos seem to have been taken in Germany. The smaller has a photographer's stamp on the back from "Photo Blumenschein, Ulm, seit 1904 Frauenstrasse 55." The larger photo bears a German script caption identifying "Adolph, Minna, und Herbert Hardt 1918" (as opposed to Grandma's Anna.) Emma Hardt            ...Ihrer kleiner cousine
Emma Hardt, shown above left, was identified by Grandma as Adolph's sister. She had apparently sent the photo/postcard to Grandma, introducing herself as "your little cousin." The picture was taken in January of 1923. She had just turned 20 years old.

Anna Arndt        Ihre dankbaren Anna
Another sister of Adolph Hardt (so identified by Grandma) was the above left Anna Arndt, who probably sent the photo postcard to acknowledge charity parcels Grandma sent to them in Germany.

Johanna, Paul, Hans, Emma        Hardt Relatives
Perhaps some other relatives, also recipients of Grandma's charity, sent the above card. The woman Johanna posed with two brothers and Emma Arndt (who may be the same girl as depicted at right in the Anna Arndt photo above.)

Familie Carl Horn        Kitscherstadt 54
The final photo captioned "Herbie Hardt's relation" bears a Crimitschau address.

Whatever happened to these folks? We many never know. Two generations separated these Hardts from the time of Louise's emigration from Osterwein, Kreis Osterode, East Prussia. The brutal conflicts of WWI had been waged and lost. The battle of Tannenberg described by Solzhenitsyn in August 1914 took place in the wooded hills near Osterwein. The postwar years were clearly hard on the families still in Germany. Those who survived may have moved within the country or, like the Adolph Hardts, emigrated to the U.S. Still, it may be worth looking into records from Crimitschau and elsewhere for these other relatives.

Another newly-discovered detail involving the HARDT family comes from a local history of the Osterode area - it mentions Osterwein, the birthplace of Fritz HEINRICH and last East Prussia residence of his mother Louise HARDT HEINRICH, and briefly identifies the Gut (estate) as owned by the wife of the local judge named HARDT.

Lastly, earlier members of the HARDT family may have been instrumental in bringing our HEINRICHs to Chicago in the first place. Family tradition held that they had "rich" relatives in Hyde Park. The 1880 Federal Census lists a Frederick HARDT, 48-year old saloon keeper originally from Prussia, living with his family in the Hyde Park neighborhood; this Frederick is the likely suspect. Also, there were other HARDTS, possibly Frederick's descendants, who attended St. Stephens Lutheran Church in Englewood. So the HARDT Family is a fertile ground for research.