The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

The Rise and Fall of the F. Klopp Rope Making Enterprise

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The Collapse of the Wolmirstedt Business Venture

Adapted and translated from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle

Chart I – II

Within five years the Klopp and Weihe families had added amongst and against each other so many wounds that only after a century one can look at them with a certain emotional detachment. They should not remain the last ones. Within the course of one generation, the two families had drifted apart and  the deep gulf of enmity between them was steadily widening. In the Weihe family the daughter did no longer communicate with her mother, in the Klopp family mother, brothers, sisters no longer with Emma’s eldest son. In the Klopp/Weihe family – no longer worth being called a family – all members completely acted out their mutual dislikes emerging out of the most varied and unlikely causes.

Windmill

The mill my grandfather Peter Friedrich Klopp owned and operated is now a German heritage site.

In the Klopp house in Wolmirstedt Friedrich devoted all his energies to the business. For the boat people on the River Ohre he produces ropes and cords, which the rope manufacturing plant ‘Seilerei von Friedrich Klopp’ kept ready for his costumers. Furthermore, he acquired a piece of land with a workshop south of the Ohre bridge on the right side on the road to Elbeu. There Friedrich and his workers twisted hemp fiber into ropes, The length of the ‘rope course’ was 15 m. In front of the bridge ramp the last house on the left at the Magdeburg Str. was the inn ‘At the Anchor’ (Zum Anker). It served as the meeting place for the Ohre boaters and was strategically located only 40 m from Friedrich’s factory and residence. Diagonally across stood ‘Fatje’s Hotel’, which served as a kind of exchange agency for goods and services, where the Wolmirstedt business elite would do their trading transactions. At the business table would often sit among other dignitaries Carl Loß (1865 – 1937), owner of a nobleman’s estate and of the largest sugar and starch factory of the region. Through him Friedrich primarily sold his various rope products. Ropes and nets were very useful and much-needed during harvest time. In order to secure the safe transport of sugar beets on the horse-drawn wagons they found much use in the Loß’s agricultural enterprise.

In these years 1907 and 1908 two more children were born to the Friedrich Klopp family. Under slowly deteriorating economic conditions Friedrich managed to provide food and shelter for his growing family until 1912, when he gave up his business. The steady decline of shipping  on the Ohre River reduced the profitability of his business. The taking down of the old wooden Hindenburg Bridge in 1908 and the long wait for the construction of the new stone bridge cut off Friedrich’s access to the market, further diminishing his already declining business. Add to these problems new attempts by his brother Ferdinand to seize house and business and we find the perfect recipe for financial ruin and disaster.

To be continued ….

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