A Salute to Marie-Louise Klopp, a Courageous and Fiercely Independent Woman

Midwife Marie-Louise Klopp (1880 – 1924)

Adapted from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle – Chart I – II

In response to her mother’s endless disturbing attacks, Marie-Louise told her with an oath, “I am going to move with my family so far away that you cannot visit and bother me any more.” She resolutely converted this intention into reality. The former seamstress took up nurses’ training at the Wolmirstedt hospital to become a qualified midwife. Even against this career choice her mother voiced her opposition, although Marie-Louise after 12 years of marriage has been out of her parental home for such a long time. According to her mother’s distorted and overheated fantasies, Marie-Louise was entering a field that somehow was connected to the world of the ‘wise women’ and ‘witches’ of the Middle Ages. Indeed, according to her opinion, this was an evil consequence of her daughter marrying into the Jewish Klopp clan. From this point on, the few remaining family connections broke off all together.

Gardelegen - Photo Credit: scrapbookpages.com

Gardelegen – Photo Credit: scrapbookpages.com

Marie-Louise started her work as midwife in 1912 in Algenstedt, north of Gardelegen, where the family had acquired a house at the outskirts of the village. Friedrich found employment as mason or rather as laborer here and in the neighboring towns and villages. Marie-Louise, by having chosen the profession of midwifery, displayed in this male-dominated world a high degree of personal independence. Her work proved to be highly useful in the following years, especially during World War I. While her husband Friedrich was fighting in the war, she became the major bread earner of the family of four children. Fortunately Friedrich returned unharmed from the war. In 1921/22 he got together with his brother-in-law August Diesing (1875-1939) to prepare for a construction business. The plan was to acquire an older, unused school building close to Gommern by putting in a bid for that property. The devaluation of money and the collapse of the German economy put a quick end to their dream.

Gommern - Photo Credit: wasserburg-zu-gommern.de

Gommern – Photo Credit: wasserburg-zu-gommern.de

On the other hand, from 1912 and 1924, his wife Marie-Louise built up an excellent reputation for being a competent and reliable midwife in the towns, villages and farms north of Gardelegen. Unheard of at a time, when men dominated the work place, she was the one in the Klopp family, who put bread and butter on the table. Her son Friedrich together with his siblings Liesbeth and Hermann attended the tiny one-room school at Algenstedt. The eldest sister Frieda took care of the younger siblings and general household duties during the frequent absences of their mother.

Jacob - Photo Credit: thefreequark.com

Jacob – Photo Credit: thefreequark.com

They all remembered the tame crow ‘Jacob’, which rain or shine sat on the bike’s mudguard of Mother Klopp and traveled along. In-between it would disappear in the long treed boulevards and waited there for her return. Hours later it would travel back with her to Algenstedt. One day a neighbor shot the poor crow, because it had pulled  the clothes pins off the wash line.

Night shifts, hardships, a weak physical constitution, last but not least, constantly recurring trouble with her mother brought about her premature death at the young age of 44. From the Zielitz family nobody showed up for the funeral of their ‘Jewish-affiliated’ daughter.

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