Aunt Marie (Tante Mieze)
Chart II a – II
Of all the relatives in the Kegler family Aunt Marie was closest to me. But before I go into the details, I need to go back a few years to provide the background for a better understanding of the circumstances that made her for more than a year my loving caretaker.
After my father’s failure in a small-scale farming venture in Southern Germany, he was financially ruined. My mother had to go out and find work as housekeeper first at Sigmaringen, a small, picturesque town on the River Danube and then later in 1955 at a Senior Citizen home at Rudersberg not far from the city of Stuttgart, Father’s health while being a POW had been severely affected by the intolerable working conditions in a Russian coal mine. He suffered from a number of psychological and physical ailments. His recurring back pains prevented him from taking up any meaningful employment. It is sad to say that after the miraculous survival and coming together again of the entire Ernst Klopp family in the village of Rohrdorf, there were signs of disintegration written on future’s gloomy horizon. Karl had gone off to university at Göttingen, Adolf emigrated to Canada, Eka (Lavana) took up nurses’ training at Hamburg, Gerhard entered a toolmaker’s apprenticeship program in Switzerland, and I, barely 12 years old, had to nobody to look after me.
This is where Aunt Marie comes in. She had just taken up employment as elementary school teacher in Brünen, a short bus ride away from the city of Wesel. Its claim to fame is that it is known as the most destroyed city of Germany (almost 98% turned into rubble by two consecutive Allied bombing raids near the end of World War II). For almost 5 years my aunt was not permitted under the rules and regulations of the occupation authorities to carry out her teaching profession. As former state employee of Nazi Germany, she like many thousands of other civil servants was suspected of harboring pro-Nazi sentiments and was consequently classified as unfit and dangerous for the teaching profession. This happened in postwar Germany under the so-called denazification program. The injustice was that all former teachers were given the same label and that there was no exception to the rule.
Finally the Allied authorities saw it fit to lift the ban. And Tante Mieze, close to her retirement age, was able to resume her work and do what she liked best, to teach. How I am connected to her and what impact she had on my life will be the topic on one of my following posts.