The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part IV

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The Panwitz Estate

In 1927 Anna and Ludwig von Waldenfels acquired the estate Panwitz (today Polish Panowice). It was located 15 km southeast of Meseritz, East Brandenburg (today Polish Miedzyrzcecz). Originally it was a knight’s estate of about 300 ha, half of it was land under cultivation and pasture, the other half was forest. The building had been in the sober and down-to-earth style constructed following the trend dominant around the time of World War I.  The two-storey manor with its pseudo-classical columnated entrance and its three-storey high addition of a tower is located in a park in the centre of the village. At the south and east it was partly surrounded by a wall.

In the mid 1920’s the German government has set up a special office at Meseritz to deal with the resettlement of those farmers, who had been dispossessed and expelled from their land  in West Prussia and the Posen territory. To provide them support for their livelihood new settlements were established, in which Panwitz was included. By granting credits for the exchange of real estates to the former land owners the German government was able to push through the acquisition of large tracts of land to help the dispossessed farmers from the former eastern provinces. Through this fortunate turn of events, Ludwig von Waldenfels took possession of the new estate in Panwitz. Ludwig and Anna appeared to have profited the most under the new settlement provisions of the agro-political government programme. In the written records it was mentioned that in 1930 the village of Panwitz under the mayor W. Ihnow was still in the re-settlement phase. By 1939 the village had 32 households of 147 German inhabitants.

Ludwig von Waldenfels and his ‘Baroness’ Anna, as she was from now on very pleased to be called, were by 1930 well established here. Many relatives began to drop in for a visit. Among them were captain and company commander Gerhard Kegler (my uncle), who was stationed at Züllichau in 1934 and brother-in-law Ernst Klopp (my father). Anna’s sister Meta spent in some years entire months at the Panwitz estate. ‘Castle Panwitz’ had turned out to be a beloved family centre for the entire family. For the development of this feeling the arrival of Anna’s mother Emma (my grand-mother) had greatly contributed. She spent the remaining 14 years of her life at Panwitz. Here in the living- and diningroom at the warm fireplace she devoted herself to her dreams. Of unbroken and enterprising spirit even until her very old age, she used to encourage her visiting children and grandchildren with statement like this, “Come and let us make plans”. In the tower chambers of the manor she had her own private apartment.

In 1996, Eberhard Klopp (a cousin of mine), the author of the Klopp family chronicles, noticed that the wooden floors and staircase to Emma’s tower had become totally rotten and had collapsed.

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lakes

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Wednesday’s Photos

Late Apple Blossoms

Almost a month late the apple trees in the Arrow Lakes region are finally showing off their blossoms. They are especially plentiful and promise in contrast to last year an abundant crop. I love their delicate petals, which remind me of the fact that the apple trees are actually related to the rose family. I selected three photos for this post. Enjoy.

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Albert Schweitzer – Seminar #26

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Tabus und Aberglaube

Wisst ihr, was Tabus sind? Nein? Dann will ich versuchen, es euch zu erklären. Also, wenn man etwas auf keinen Fall tun oder sagen darf, dann nennt man das ein Tabu. Auch bei uns kann etwas tabu sein. Zum Beispiel ist das Lügen oder das Stehlen oder jemanden ganz schlimm beschimpfen oder über jemanden etwas Unwahres behaupten ein Tabu. Auch ist das Privatleben von Menschen tabu. Da mischt man sich eben nicht ein. Ohne diese und andere Tabus können Menschen nicht friedlich zusammenleben.

Leider gibt es aber auch Tabus, die mit Aberglauben verbunden sind. So etwas war früher auch bei uns und ist bis heute noch unter anderem in Afrika verbreitet. Mit solchen Tabus können Menschen gequält, verängstigt und betrogen werden. Ich will euch einige Beispiele erzählen, die Albert Schweitzer in Afrika erlebt hat.

Bei einem bestimmten Stamm der Urwaldbewohner durfte ein Mann, dessen Frau ein Kind erwartet, keinen Nagel in die Wand schlagen, nicht ein Loch im Boden mit Erde ausfüllen oder einen Zug von Wanderameisen überschreiten. Das war für ihn tabu. Wenn er es doch tat. würden seine Frau und sein Kind sterben.

Noch schlimmer war zum Beispiel, dass der Vater bei der Geburt eines Kindes Tabus ausspricht, an das sich das Kind ein Leben lang halten muss. So erhielt ein Mädchen bei seiner Geburt vom Vater das Tabu, dass es nie einen Besen anfassen dürfe. Als das Mädchen dann groß und erwachsen war, musste es ihr ganzes Leben lang den Schmutz mit ihren Händen zusammenstreichen und wegtragen.

Ein Mann hatte das Tabu erhalten, dass er nicht am Kopf berührt werden durfte. Einmal wurde er vom Doktor untersucht, ob er Fieber hatte. Der Arzt wollte seine Hand auf die Stirn des Mannes legen, als dieser in Ohnmacht fiel. So große Angst hatte er davor, dass ihn der Arzt am Kopf berührt und damit das Tabu bricht. Ist das nicht schlimm?

Ganz besonders schlimm erging es einem kleinen Jungen. Er hatte das Tabu bekommen, dass er keine Bananen essen durfte. Er durfte noch nicht einmal Speisen essen, die in einem Topf gekocht worden waren, in dem zuvor Bananen zubereitet worden waren. Eines Tages ereignete es sich, dass dieser Junge einen Fisch gegessen hatte, der in einem solchen Bananen-Topf gekocht worden war. Stellt euch vor, als der Junge das erfuhr, bekam er Magenkrämpfe und starb bald darauf. Ist das nicht schrecklich?

Ein anderer Aberglaube ist, dass ein Mensch den anderen verzaubern kann. So verfluchte ein Vater seine Tochter, indem er sagte, dass sie oder ihr Kind nach der Geburt sterben werde. Die arme Frau glaubte an diesen Zauberfluch. Sie gebar ein gesundes Kind und wollte es am Leben erhalten. Dafür starb aber die Frau auf rätselhafte Weise. Das kleine Kind brachte man zu Albert Schweitzer in das Hospital, wo es liebevoll aufgenommen und mit einer Flasche aufgezogen wurde. Durch diesen Aberglauben mit den bösen Tabus hatte es aber seine Mutter verloren.

So können Aberglaube und Tabus die Menschen krank machen. Deshalb muss man abergläubische Menschen aufklären. Denn Aberglaube ist eine gefährliche Dummheit.

Doch es gibt auch lustige Geschichten über den Aberglauben. Eine Frau gebar ein Kind im Urwald Hospital. Sie wollte, dass ihr Kind so gut und so klug werden sollte wie der Doktor und nannte den Jungen „Doktor Albert“. Ein Heilgehilfe hatte zwei Töchter. Er wünschte, dass die beiden Mädchen so lieb und so tüchtig werden sollten wie die zwei Gehilfinnen von Albert Schweitzer Emma Haussknecht und Mathilde Kottmann. So nannte er die beiden Mädchen Emma und Mathilde. Aber so etwas gibt es auch bei uns. Wie viele Eltern nennen nicht ihre Kinder nach Schauspielern, Sportlern oder

Schlagerstars! Und so manches Kind muss sich dann sein Leben lang über seinen Namen ärgern, weil die Stars schon längst vergessen sind. Ihr aber habt ja allen so schöne Namen und könnt euch freuen, dass ihr so kluge Eltern habt.

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Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part III

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The Long Arduous Road to the Panwitz Estate

While World War I was still raging and devastating Europe, Anna’s husband Ludwig von Waldenfels was reactivated into the military service on July 27th 1918 and served as supervising officer at a penal camp at Oberhaus near Dachau until demilitarization in May 1919. Now already 43 years old with a modest pension Ludwig had to worry about his family’s future. After his high school graduation in Munich he had taken a three-semester training course at the forestry college at Aschaffenburg between 1894 and 1896. Therefore, he had some basic agricultural knowledge. On the northern edge of Passau the couple acquired the estate Kastenreuth. On the hilly terrain the work in the fields was not very cost effective and the harvests appeared to have been quite meagre.  Already by 1922 Anna and Ludwig sold the property to the physician and researcher Professor Dr. Wilhelm Kattwinkel.

In the same year they acquired the estate Neuhof (today Polish Garbek) in the county of Schlochau. It was located right at the border of the newly formed ‘Corridor’ between the remaining part of German West Prussia and the new state of Poland. According to my cousin Eberhard Klopp’s research my Uncle Hermann (1892-1937) had passed on the 200ha property to his brother-in-law Ludwig. As a result of the Versailles Treaty the Polish border was moved within a few metres of the estate boundary. It ran about 300 metres east of the village street alongside a pond still existing today. In a 100 m direct line of sight was the Polish hamlet Zychce (German Sichts). In 1921 the West Prussian rural bank founded ten settlers’ places in Neuhof. Baron von Waldenfels and his wife Anna acquired the remaining parcel with the even today well-preserved estate building on the left side of the village street.

In the village of Neuhof of some 200 inhabitants Ludwig von Waldenfels worked the 810ha farming property and served at the same time as mayor until 1927. “The inhabitants originated mostly from the stolen parts of West Prussia and partly from Münsterland (Münsterland is a mostly flat, agricultural region in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany).  Only 14 people were speaking Polish.” When the family von Waldenfels left Neuhof in 1927, their property was also parcelled into seven more settlements.

It is definitely unimaginable that the couple von Waldenfels accustomed to the big city life style of Metz and Berlin would feel at home in the solitude of a remote little border village. In the year of their departure in 1927 brother Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964 my father) found employment and stay during the summer harvest. Mostly likely he participated in the preparations for the move out of the second agricultural venture. In the remote bush, heather, and meadow landscape with a few deciduous woods the family von Waldenfels managed to last barely five years.

Now brother-in-law Herman Klopp jumped into action as helper in a new government initiative. Having been the administrator of the copper mill near Meseritz, East Brandenburg (today Polish Miedzyrzcezc) he was familiar with all locally pertinent facts. He made a concrete proposal to the couple von Waldenfels, which turned out to be a stroke of luck.

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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Wednesday’s Photos

Pussy Willows in May?

Last week I reported how far behind Nature is at higher elevations. Pussy willows are the very first sign of springs in our valley. They can be spotted as early as February. But at 1200m altitude they are showing their delicate beauty only now in the second week of May. On my way to Vernon I stopped by to have another look at Lost Lake where I had taken a photo of the Canada geese the week before. Enjoy.

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Translation of Mother’s Poem for our Wedding

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So many followers of my blog had asked me for a translation of my mother’s wedding poem that I decided to get to work. The poem is quite poetic and uses my wife’s nickname Biene (Bee) as a metaphor for her flight from Germany to Canada in 1966. There was no way to preserve the rhyme and rhythm of this wonderful poem. The translation therefore can only give a crude impression, but at least you will know what this poem is all about.

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My Mother’s Wedding Poem loosely translated into English

It whispers here, it mutters there.

It happened to my youngest son.

He wanted to study in Canada

to get himself a really good job.

 

The exams taken in quick succession

did not bother and confuse him at all.

Also what comes now is not a lie.

Something buzzing came flying to him.

 

A little bee (Biene) tender and excited,

of a very special kind was she,

flew from the Rhine on and on,

totally joyful and spontaneous,

sometimes high and sometimes low,

almost singed her wings, oh no.

 

From Montreal to Calgary,

tireless like never before,

the little creature totally exhausted

landed at Peter’s basement door.

 

Peter showing respect for any kind of life

did not leave the insect unattended.

He took care of the Little Bee,

stroking her wings so tenderly.

 

Indeed with so much tender-loving care

she turned into a princess without delay.

A young maiden well known to me,

he took her quickly to the marriage office.

 

On the 21st of May you will be a couple.

That is clear to the people in ‘Born, Germany.

Not too long ago Peter as scout lived in tent.

And now Biene flew to him in a great hurry.

 

Here are the greetings to all the siblings

from all the uncles and all the aunts.

That all may go well wishes your mother

from the bottom of her heart.

selective focus photo of yellow sunflower

Photo by Karol Wiśniewski on Pexels.com

 

 

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