August Heinrich Burghardt (my great-grandfather) was born 6 June 1899 in Kirchditmold, Kassel, Germany to Heinrich Jakob Burghardt (1867-1928) and Marie Klapp (1871-1926). August was the fifth of seven children born to his parents.
- Johann Heinrich Burghardt (1893-1896)
- Jacob Burghardt (1894-1955)
- Anna Burghardt (Born 1897)
- Emma Marie Burghardt (Born 1897)
- August Heinrcih Burghardt
- Julius Burghadt
- George Burghardt
As I have researched my German ancestors and during a German genealogy seminar I learned that families in German would pay for their children to learn a trade. The child would first become an apprentice as a young child, second a journeyman, and finally a master. This would help them provide for their family later in life. I also learned that it could be hard to become a master in any trade. The towns or villages would limit how many of any trade could open businesses. So to become a master, one in the town would need to sell their business or the master would die and not have a son to pass the business onto to open another spot.
I know that August did not become a master shoe maker, I am not sure he even became a journeyman. I do know that later in life he worked for a local train company, Henchel and Sons, in Kassel Germany, during and after World War Two. My Great-Aunt Annelise told me once that her father, August, made shoes for her when she was a child.
August married Erna Lina Gossman (1905-1975) on 24 December 1925 in Wehlheiden, Kassel. Germany, she was the daughter of Wilhelm Gossman (1862-1917) and Anna Elizabeth Brand (1865-1940) You can read more about them in a previous blog I wrote, https://ellajaneanne.com/2019/08/19/wilhelm-gossmann-and-anna-elizabeth-brand-and-their-16-children/
August and Erna had four daughters, Anna Marie Elizabeth (Anneliese), Anne (my grandmother), and twin daughters Traudel and Gretel. I had the opportunity to meet Traudel one time, when she visited my grandmother.
August and Erna were married for 42 years, when he passed away on 27 June 1967 in Kassel, Germany.
After the death of August, Erna married Felix Weiss. Erna passed away on 31 October 1975 in Kassel, Germany. On a recent trip to Germany I was able to visit the last house that Erna lived in before she passed.
Erna passed away about a year after I was born on 31 October 1974 in Kassel, Germany. I have learned so much about each of my family members as I research them and where they lived. As a high school student, knowing that my grandmother was German, I was always curious about life in Germany during WWII. Sadly I never asked my grandmother questions about her life during that period. In 2013 my Grandmother, Anne, passed away and I started to email my Great-Aunt Anneliese. After several years of emailing her, I got some courage to ask her about living in Germany during WWII. Annelise told me that before Hitler came to power things were very bad in Germany. She only had hand me down clothes and very little food. Then her father, August, went to work for the Henchel Train Company in Kassel and things got better for them. She also told me about a time Kassel was bombed during WWII where Kassel was badly damaged. After the bombing she stayed in town to work while her father went to Berlin to work, and Erna along with my grandmother Anne and the twins went to live in a nearby town until Kassel could be rebuilt. I remember reading the account of the bombing and sitting at my computer crying as I thought about my family living through that and how scary it must have been. You can read about it on the wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Kassel_in_World_War_II
I have often wondered about my German ancestors and their life in Germany. During my research I have felt a strong connection to them and to Germany. I have read so many books about WWII trying to learn more. One conclusion that I have come to was that life was not easy for them but they overcame many obstacles and lived happy lives.