Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Erna Freida Emma Hartman (1901-1994)

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Erna Freida Emma Hartman
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Businesswoman, community activist.

Born at Berlin, Germany on 24 March 1901, daughter of Emma Marie Kortmann (1879-1963) and Paul Kortmann (1874-1956), her higher education occurred at the Polytechnik Institut of Berlin. During the First World War, she served as a nurse with German forces. After the war, she married Paul H. Garten (1900-1930), a pilot who had served with Manfred von Richthofen, and they had a son, Wolfgang Alfred Paul Garten (1925-2010).

Her husband came to Canada in 1927 and worked as a bush pilot with James Richardson’s Western Canada Airways. She followed with their son in 1928 and settled at Sioux Lookout, Ontario. After her husband was killed in an airplane crash, she came to Manitoba, trained for three years as a nurse at the Selkirk Hospital for the Insane, and worked at the Scott Nursing Mission. On 2 August 1934, she married A. William Hartman (1876-1952) at Winnipeg. When he became ill in 1937, she opened the All Saints Nursing Home, the first privately operated such facility in the city, and remained involved with it for some 30 years. For over ten years, she was President of the Manitoba Nursing Home Association.

In 1955, she opened Mark Motors, the first Mercedes Benz dealership in Winnipeg, and served as its President, and established the Mercedes Investment Corporation in 1958. Helping in the election campaigns of Steve Juba whetted her appetite for politics. She ran unsuccessfully for the position of Mayor of North Kildonan (1961) and was a Progressive Conservative candidate in the 1963 federal general election but was defeated by Stanley Knowles. She was a member of the Advisory Council for the Manitoba Centennial Corporation and a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and the Professional and Business Women’s Club. In 1957, she was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt for her involvement in a publicity tour to New Orleans.

She died at Selkirk on 9 September 1994 and was buried beside her first husband at Sioux Lookout.


“Pilot believed drowned when machine upsets,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 June 1930, page 3.

Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“First German migrants here,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 January 1950, page 10.

Obituary [A. William Hartman], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 February 1952, page 24.

“Engagements,” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 July 1952, page 15.

Obituary [Paul Kortmann], Winnipeg Tribune, 2 April 1956, page 19.

[Advertisement - Mark Motors Limited], Winnipeg Tribune, 2 November 1956, page 4.

“Flowered hat enters race for Mayoralty,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 September 1961, page 16.

Obituary [Emma Marie Kortmann], Winnipeg Free Press, 2 December 1963, page 27.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 11 September 1994, page 31.

Obituary [Wolfgang Alfred Paul Garten], Winnipeg Free Press, 28 December 2010.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 January 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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