The P. and G. Klopp Story

Conclusion of Chapter 6

Chart I – III

My very first memory goes back to the tumultuous time, when Mother, my brother Gerhard (Gerry) and I were on a train crammed with refugees. I do not remember any specific details, such as the name of the railroad station, where we must have stopped, the town, the time of the day, etc. What I do remember is that I was standing at the edge of the platform with hundreds of people frantically milling about. I do not know why I was standing there in a strange, noisy station surrounded by strange, noisy people. Then quite unexpectedly the train began to move ever so slowly at first. Panic stricken I looked around and searched in vain for Mother. In agony I cried out for her. While the train on its way out of the station was gradually picking up speed, the fear of being left behind, the feeling of complete, utter abandonment struck me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly I felt being lifted up from behind and passed through the open compartment window into my mother’s arms. This traumatic event left such a vivid impression on me that even though it was devoid of concrete details the inner experience was so real that I have not forgotten it to this very day.

Expulsion from the Eastern Provinces - Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org
Expulsion from the Eastern Provinces – Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

We arrived in Schleswig-Holstein at one of the many refugee camps set up for the thousands of displaced people from the eastern provinces. But it was only a temporary stay. The authorities urged the newcomers, after they had recovered a little from the ordeals of their long journey, to move on to areas in Southern Germany, which had been less affected by destruction and would more readily have accommodation available for us. So Mother, Gerhard and I traveled into the French occupied zone to Freiburg, where my father’s sister, Aunt Meta, lived with her husband Professor Vincent Mülbert. On a stopover in Offenbach, Baden-Würthenberg, Mother made arrangements for me to be baptized. I often pondered later in my adult life on the reasons why it had taken more than four years to receive my baptism, one of the essential sacraments in a Christian’s life. I see an important lesson for all of us, who have grown up in the rapidly changing era of modern Western civilization with its great emphasis on materialism. The root of evil is not money itself, but, as the Bible states so clearly, it is the love of money. It is the desire to find happiness in the acquisition of material things. Looking back at Gutfelde with this critical perspective in mind, I cannot help, but observe a drifting from the true faith, in which Mother had been nurtured in her father’s home, away to a faith-like trust in the security offered by material possessions. We lived in a mansion that did not belong to us. Father was a good administrator of the lands and fields of dispossessed Polish farmers. Yes, he was kind and helpful to all the people working under his authority. But it does not detract from the rightful charge that the farmland was worked in a system that heavily relied on a master-servant relationship in order to make it work. With the collapse of the Third Reich that was supposed to last a thousand years and the loss of our beloved Gutfelde came the sober realization that their little ‘paradise’ in the east had been nothing but a pipe-dream, a house not built on rock, but on the shifting sands of man’s earthly aspirations.

Freiburg City Center 1944 - Photo Credit: City Archive
Freiburg City Center 1944 – Photo Credit: City Archive

We received a warm reception at my aunt’s place in Freiburg, a city with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants before the war. By the end of the Second World War 80% of the city lay in ruins. An air raid as late as November 27th, 1944 made 9,000 out of 30,000 apartments uninhabitable, killed 2,000 people and all that was left of the city center was the cathedral. The Münster of Freiburg was built across a span of several centuries and exhibited a range of architecture from late Romanesque to Late Gothic and even a tad of Rococo. Its single tower with a lacy spire was the first of its kind. The building remained mostly unchanged since its completion in 1513. Miraculously, unlike so many great cathedrals and churches in Germany, it was not entirely destroyed during the severe Allied bombing of Freiburg and its ensuing firestorm, although the whole area around it was reduced to rubble. The city fathers had expected an aerial attack, even though strictly speaking Freiburg was a non-industrial town and practically useless as a military target. So they put their heads together to find a way to save the cathedral from destruction. My aunt told me, when I came to visit her later as a ten year old, that they had fir trees attached to the pinnacles and other high points of the cathedral so that like Christmas trees they would with their bright green colors of hope alert the pilots to the city’s urgent plea to spare the 500 year old precious piece of architecture. I could not verify the story, but I too found it amazing that everything else in a large diameter around the building was completely flattened by the Allied aerial attack, but the church itself had remained virtually unscathed.

Coal-mining Spoil Tips along the Kalmius River
Coal-mining Spoil Tips along the Kalmius River – Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

In the meantime Father had a major accident, while he was working in the coalmines in the Donbas region of the USSR. He received treatment for his head injury and would have been sent back to work, if he had not feigned continual headaches. Thus, he succeeded in getting an early release and was sent back to Germany. When he arrived at Uncle Günther’s place in Erfurt, he heard that the entire family had survived the war. He established contact with Mother and the children and in 1947 moved to Rohrdorf, a small village in Southern Germany between the River Danube and Lake Constance. There he found employment with the regional branch of the Fürstlich-von-Fürstenberg forest administration. Eventually the entire Klopp family was reunited. Although now extremely poor, often hungry, and dispossessed, we were together and could attempt a new beginning.

St. Peter and Paul Church Rohrdorf - Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org
St. Peter and Paul Church Rohrdorf – Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

There were indeed very few refugee families who were fortunate enough not to have lost any family members during the horrible expulsion from their eastern home provinces. Volumes have been written on the topic of the greatest mass migration in modern Western history. I will relate only the bare facts as they pertain to my own family. Father belonged to that segment of civilian population that was deported in large numbers to the Soviet Union to do as it was called ‘reparations labor’. The German Red Cross estimated that 233,000 German civilians were deported to the USSR, where 45% were reported either missing or dead. As to Mother’s expulsion from the eastern provinces, the numbers are truly mind-boggling. The movement of Germans involved a total of at least 12 million people. Official sources, like the German Federal Archives, estimate that at least three million people perished in their flight from the Red Army, in labor camps, through starvation and disease, through murder in retaliation and revenge for atrocities committed by the Nazis during the war years. I mention these gruesome statistics only to emphasize the great miracle of the survival of the Ernst Klopp family amid all the odds stacked against them.

Book Family Research Flucht 1945 Germany POW The P. and G. Klopp Story Writing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

To Live as Kate

A modest attempt to share my life with you as I try to find myself.

My Blog

Losing myself in reverie

Karen Painter

Historical Fiction Author

Denney Home Place

~ et mea Messis erit ~

Pure Glory

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Ellie's Blog

Personal Blog

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

Simply Photography by Ileana Alberti

“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” Ernst Haas

shivashishspeaks

ALL U WANNA KNOW

Rainy Day Reflections

Reflections about life, photography and my attempts at creativity.

I Suck at Marriage

I wonder who doesn't suck at marriage on some level...

Escape a lifetime

inspired by new places, new people and new possibilities

Neysa Sanghavi

Pura Vida "Pure Life"

Stories

a part of Life

Haley Bailey

Love. Beauty. Inspirations.

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

To Live as Kate

A modest attempt to share my life with you as I try to find myself.

My Blog

Losing myself in reverie

Karen Painter

Historical Fiction Author

Denney Home Place

~ et mea Messis erit ~

Pure Glory

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Ellie's Blog

Personal Blog

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

Simply Photography by Ileana Alberti

“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” Ernst Haas

shivashishspeaks

ALL U WANNA KNOW

Rainy Day Reflections

Reflections about life, photography and my attempts at creativity.

I Suck at Marriage

I wonder who doesn't suck at marriage on some level...

Escape a lifetime

inspired by new places, new people and new possibilities

Neysa Sanghavi

Pura Vida "Pure Life"

Stories

a part of Life

Haley Bailey

Love. Beauty. Inspirations.

Zibaldone

Heap of Stories

Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

Adventures in Genealogy

HOPE

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

simonbowlerphotos

Welcome to Simons Blog where I like to share my favourite images with you

TheCagedBirdSings

The song of a heart can never be caged...

social underground

Life. Love. The Human Condition

Josephina-Creations

Idei creative, design, reciclare, bricolaj, inovare, arta, planificare urbana eco

Kids641

Family

Wings Of Poetry

Layers Of Life

Tom's Nature-up-close Photography and Mindfulness Blog

Mindfulness, Philosophy, Spirituality, Meditation, Awareness, Religion, Nature Photography

Scott's Place

Fact and Fiction

Untraveled Routes

Journey Begins..!!!

This Tiny Blue House

Frugal lifestyle & Parenting Blog

kaffeeundkekse

Alltagsrezepte und mehr

Blog about Mexico's Must Have Seen

Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cenotes, Sian Ka'an, Cozumel, Bacalar, Mahahual, Monterrey...

Glamorous Without The Guilt

To accomplish great things we must dream as well as act

Wandering Iris

Wandering through life, getting better every day.

Art Expedition

a painter´s attempt to conquer the great white canvas

GERDA KAZAKOU

Eine lose Sammlung zur Dokumentation meiner Werke und Gedanken

Footloose Forever

Travel Diary of A Wandering Mind

Learn Fun Facts

An Archive of Curious Facts for the Curious

waldwolfblog

Lebenserinnerungen

Der Weg ist das Ziel

Via destinatum est .The journey is the destination .

Sartenada's photo blog / Blog de foto de Sartenada

Finland - photo stories from South to North

alzheimertagebuch

Tagebuch über meine Eltern

Building The Love Shack

This is the story of building a cottage , the people and the place. Its a reminder of hope and love.

%d bloggers like this: