Chapter 23 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part II

Biene’s Visit to her Birthplace in Gotha

and her Vacation on the Island of Majorca, Spain

In the meantime Biene traveled to Gotha, where her half-sister Elsbeth and husband Paul Werner with their two children Norbert and Christian lived. Biene grew up in Gotha, until her parents and family escaped to West Germany. After a lengthy ordeal at the refugee camp in Aurich her parents eventually succeeded in receiving a decent apartment in Velbert.

Castle Friedenstein, Gotha - Photo Credit: thueringerschloesser.de
Castle Friedenstein, Gotha – Photo Credit: thueringerschloesser.de

Biene reported enthusiastically about her former home province Thuringia. They made many excursions into the surrounding area of Gotha, even visited the famous castle, the Warthburg, where Martin Luther within the safety of the massive walls translated the Bible into German. But what mattered most to Biene was that she and Elsbeth became close friends. They spent as much time as possible together.

While everyone was sound asleep, Elsbeth, twenty years her senior, would share her most precious memories with her. The two would often talk into the wee hours. Biene learned that Elsbeth loved to pen stories and even contemplated writing a book. After the wedding she was deeply saddened that her husband did not share her passion for writing. He was a very practical man with both feet on the ground and was focusing only on what had to be done to survive in the postwar communist society, where most basic consumer commodities were scarce. Paul ignored what was dearest to his young wife’s heart and treated with contempt what was in his eyes useless, sentimental tripe. He callously burned her entire portfolio of creative and much cherished writing leaving her nothing of her priceless collection except for a very few stories, which she managed to save from the senseless destruction. Their son Norbert kindly contributed for my blog one of her story in German entitled Sein Letzter Besuch (His Last Visit – Christmas 1942). Overall, Biene had spent a wonderful time at her birthplace, that quaint house and apartment, where little had changed, since Biene and her family had escaped from the socialist ‘paradise’ in 1954.

The House in Gotha - Biene's Birthplace
The House in Gotha – Biene’s Birthplace

Within barely a week upon her return to Velbert she was getting ready to fly with her friend Gisela to the Spanish Isle of Majorca. There in the company of other young girls and boys she enjoyed two relaxing weeks at the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. This was the first time Biene was allowed to travel alone without parental supervision. Her mother had always kept a watchful eye on her stunningly beautiful and romantically inclined daughter, who had given her in the past much grief with her dangerous, almost fateful attractiveness she exerted on her male admirers. But as it turned out, Biene returned home safe and sound, tanned by the southern sun so dark she could have easily been mistaken for a Spanish senorita.

Biene on Vacation on Majorca Summer 1964
Biene on Vacation on Majorca Summer 1964

Apart from lounging at the beach and going swimming, Biene had once gone scuba diving in the crystal clear waters to explore the mysterious seascape, which gave her quite a thrill. However, as she soon discovered, diving and depending on the vital air supply from the oxygen tank on her back was not entirely without danger. While she took in the wonders of the strange world under the sea, the air supply suddenly dwindled forcing her to quickly surface. There was plenty of oxygen left in the tank. Perhaps Biene had put a kink into the connecting hose. Fortunately she had kept her cool and after being confronted with imminent danger did not panic. After this scary experience Biene decided that it was safer to stick with the more relaxing beach routine. Their flight back to Germany had been delayed by more than a day due to the loss of a plane, which the small tourist airline had suffered in a plane crash elsewhere. When they finally arrived in the dead of night at the Düsseldorf Airport, no busses were running any more to take them home. Biene and her friend were stranded. They were waiting at the dreary railroad station for the morning to come. Then a small miracle happened, which I let Biene describe in her own words.

Beach on Wild Coastline of Majorca - Photo Credit: wikipedia.org
Beach on Wild Coastline of Majorca – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

          “In the bungalow village was also a young girl who was teased by all, especially by the boys. She was strutting about in an extravagant attire entirely too dressed up. Nobody liked her. I had only once exchanged a few words with her. When Gisela and I were now waiting at the station for the morning and had gone outside to catch a little bit of fresh air, she suddenly walked up to us. She knew that our plane had landed late. When she learned that our bus would arrive only in the early morning, she took us without hesitation to her place not far from the station. She gave us each a couch, where we totally exhausted slept until she woke us with coffee and buns. You wouldn’t believe how lovingly she cared for us. I had never before noticed so prominently how much one lets outer appearance deceive oneself. I was really stunned by such kindliness.”

Autobiography Book Germany Photography The P. and G. Klopp Story Writing

9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Süße Biene ! Kein Wunder, dass Peter so verliebt und ausdauernd war ! Ein Glück, dass sie sich dann auf das Baden konzentriert hat.
    Das Haus in Gotha hatten wir uns ja angeschaut, beim Bild von Mallorca mußte ich sofort an einen schönen Ausflug mit Edda denken. Wir waren mit einem Bus die Serpentinen nach Torrent de Sóller heruntergefahren und haben uns diesen wunderbaren Strand von Sa Calobra angesehen, anschließend mit dem Boot die wunderschöne Küste lang nach Port de Sóller und mit dem roten “Blitz” nach Palma de Mallorca, eine nostalgische Eisenbahn durch lange Tunnel.
    Liebe Grüße
    Dieter

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vielen Dank, lieber Dieter, für deinen lieben Kommentar! Da sind ja eine Vielzahl von schönen Erinnerungen beim Lesen bei dir erwacht. So geht es mir auch, wenn ich bei anderen Posts etwas über einen Ort lese, wo ich schon einmal gewesen bin. Habt noch einen schönen 2. Adventssonntag!

      Like

  2. Dear Peter,a wonderful story ,which is also a true one.It was very interesting to read about that special moments .Biene had wonderful experiences,which always make us different as person.It is like I read a book from Thomas Mann,who is one of my favorite writers.Thanks a lot.I wish you and your family all the best.Many greetings to Biene ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Biene’s birthplace in Gotha is an amazing looking place. It must have been very interesting for her to go back and see it. Elsbeth sounded like a nice person, but as for Paul… I know it couldn’t have been easy to live under the Communists, and I have no idea how good or bad a writer Elbeth was, but to burn virtually all of her writing like that seems so cruel.

    I was much more impressed by the kind girl who helped Biene. I hope that over time, her kindness and good nature won over the people around her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, dear Bun! I feel deeply touched by your interest in my life story. You can’t imagine how much your kind words mean to me. We are finally getting some sunshine together with bitterly cold temperatures. There is always a fly in the ointment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Peter. You have a very interesting story to tell. I’m sorry to hear about the cold weather you’re having, though. I guess at this time of year in your part of the world, clear skies must mean very cold temperatures, although I imagine it must also look beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We live about 800 km from the coast. So it is little colder in winter and a little warmer in summer, but still we enjoy a very temperate climate when compared to the prairie provinces. Yes, it is beautiful here in BC, but right now it is grey and gloomy. We are hoping for some snow for Christmas.

        Liked by 1 person

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