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The Story of George Heinrich Hartwig

by Arthur R Hartwig

My father, Lewin HARTWIG, was born in Friedenberg on 3 Feb 1889, the youngest son of Georg Heinrich HARTWIG and Katherina VOGT.  Georg Heinrich HARTWIG was born 24 Dec 1844 in Warenburg and served as the community doctor for the surrounding areas following his 1864 graduation from the Alexander Medical College in Saratov.  He was classified as a Feldscher, one who could perform surgery and practice medicine like any full fledged doctor. 

In 1891, following release from his position as the Warenburg community doctor, due to the inability of the district to continue his salary due to five continuous years of crop failure, he came to the United States with a 9 year old son.  They were followed in 1892 by the remainder of his family.  The community wished him well with a testamonial affidavit signed by 174 householders.  In this country he failed to receive a medical license due to the inability to understand English, so ended up as a wheat rancher in Ritzville, WA.  According to my father, Lewin, Georg Heinrich was frequently consulted by local doctors and Germans from Russia and received occasional gifts in lieu of payment.

In 1891, while still in Russia, an official Attestation was made regarding his skill as a physician.  This statement was made by a father attesting to Dr Hartwig's medical skill:  his daughter's achilles tendon had been severed by a scythe.  "Geiven to the Assistant Medical Doctor (Feldscherer), Heinrich son of Jacob HARTWIG, of the Priwalnoje District by the colonist landowner of the village Skatowka, August STEITZ.  In 1890 my 18 year old daughter Katherina was accidentally cut with a scythe to the bone in the fleshy part of the right leg above the heel, through the Achilles tendon.  Thanks to the fine treatment given by Doctor HARTWIG not only has the tendon healed but also the crosswise cut, so much so that no lameness is evident, for which I am truly thankful to HARTWIG and give him herewith my heartiest attestation of service and at the same time this recommendation, and hope he will always have similar success in his future practice, wishing him well in the future wherever he goes."

Georg Heinrich HARTWIG was a prolific writer much of which was apparently destroyed following his death in 1928 in Walla Walla, WA.  Saved, however, were some 250 pages of handwritten memoirs which when translated and typed came to 52 pages single space.  He covered dreams come true, religious experiences, the Brotherhood which was outgrowth of Moravian missionaries, the brutal treatment accorded believers and much more.  George J EISENACH's book Pietism and the Russian Germans contains much mention of Dr HARTWIG.  A footnote on page 66 states that "Henry HARTWIG, a young medical practitioner who had witnessed the persecution in which one of the the evangelists had been whipped into unconsciousness, pronounced him dead in order to save his life, and was so moved that he joined the Brotherhood.

The memoirs of Georg Heinrich HARTWIG (as well as the EISENACH book) are available in the AHSGR library in Lincoln, NE