The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Chapter 34 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part VII


Canada’s Moral Code for Biene’s Immigration


Key Player #7: Paul Werner, Biene’s Brother-in-Law

As the drama unfolds I will introduce for each part of this chapter one person, who played a major role in our desperate struggle for being reunited in Canada.

December 5th 1965 Calgary

My dear Little Bee!

Your admission to Canada is more complicated than I had thought before and is connected with some obligations. Dear Gertrud, you know that I like to talk about each step with you. However, it would take too much time, and I had better hurry up so that you can come next spring. I hope you will agree with all I am undertaking now. First of all there is no other possibility of your coming except that you come as my fiancée. Second, I have to declare that I am willing to marry you within 30 days after your arrival. That means, I cannot compromise with your parents as I have suggested to them that we shall marry after a trial period of a year or so.

I have many things to do now. But I hope that I’ll be at the department of immigration on Monday and have all the requirements fulfilled for them. I have to provide the following pieces of information:

1) A letter from some responsible person, preferably a married woman, who will have accommodation for you until the day of the proposed wedding. (I got a letter from Martha and Gerry). This is probably for maintaining the good morals.

2) A letter from a minister stating that I am of good character, free to marry and that he will perform the wedding ceremony within thirty days of your arrival. I’ll get this letter tomorrow after church.

3) Then I have to give them an exact report how close we are acquainted, if we correspond regularly or if we exchanged recent photographs etc. This is already done.

4) And I need to provide additional facts relating to you and to me.

It was really wise to start the whole matter from here, for it would have been difficult for you to apply for your immigration in Cologne without having somebody financially responsible for you. If anything goes as the officer in charge has promised me, I might embrace you in May 1966.

How good you are in English! I see you have learned the natural way of expressing yourself. No wonder that you had so much success at your school. You are really familiar with the so-called everyday English that still eludes me. Will you promise me to speak English after we meet again, at least during the regular course of the day? You know, in my second year at the university I will begin with student teaching at the high schools. Therefore, I must have a satisfactory command of the English language.

In longing and in love

Your Peter

33 thoughts on “Chapter 34 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part VII

  1. Amy

    Hardly the most romantic proposal letter, but exigency does not often allow for hearts and flowers! 🙂 I can’t wait to find out how she reacted. Was she ready to marry that quickly? Was she taken aback by how you’d taken control or in awe of your certainty and your love?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Oh yes, Biene was more than ready to marry me so quickly. She was urging me to pave the way for her coming with Canada immigration. Of course, her reaction will have to wait till next Friday’s post, Amy. You are right, in contrast to the many other letters I wrote to her, this was not exactly a love letter, but in fulfilling Biene’s wish it still was.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Des

    Peter, this letter is so interesting from both a personal and historical point of view. It would be interesting to compare the current Canadian Department Of Immigration’s policies in contrast with those of 1965. I assume you fulfilled your obligations to find a married woman capable of providing the appropriate accommodations? I doubt it would be as important in today’s moral climate. I hope you still have Biene’s reply letter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      One thing could be stated with certainty about one difference I observed. The process then was run by a competent staff on a very personal level. In an interview with an official you could bring to light your special case and provide details in a one-on-one situation. Now all is done almost 100% by computers and/or bureaucrats in a far away centre, which is totally impersonal.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kopfundgestalt

    I especially like your wish to talk with her in English after she will arrive.
    My wife often tells me that she likes to learn English, but she doesn’t want to talk to me in English during the regular course of the day, because she fears to be ridiculed.
    Sadly, there is nothing to do.

    Interesting details by the way about the procedures regarding the admission to Canada in those days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      There are some very good language programs on line. Perhaps your wife would be interested to start with one. If she has some English from her school days, that would help her to get started.
      Admission to Canada is nowadays next to impossible from a European country unless you are a millionaire or a refugee. The process has become totally impersonal and involves extremely long wait time. Thank you, Gerhard, for following our story!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pure Glory

    Peter, I am sure Biene was pleased with the progress being made towards immigration and marriage. I find the requirements quite interesting. But at that time in you life, I am sure you were doing everything to comply. Looking forward to the next chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. arv!

    From today’s perspective it seems like a different world. These days when live-in is quite common, finding an accommodation with another married woman sounds alien. It surely looks like the world in your youth was about being a gentleman.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      At the time when I applied for Biene’s immigration, I was eager to comply with the letter of the law in order make sure the application would not be rejected. In today’s judgment the requirement for Biene to live somewhere else until the wedding appears rather odd indeed. Thank you, Arv! for taking the time to respond in such an insightful way!


  6. taphian

    Habt Ihr das wirklich gemacht, dass Ihr English miteinander gesprochen habt? Ist man nicht froh, dass man mit jemand noch die Heimatsprache sprechen kann? Das würde mich mal interessieren, lieber Peter. Schöne Grüße aus dem arktisch kalten Hamburg, Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Ja, das haben wir am Anfang meiner Lehrerausbildung gemacht. Das bedeutet aber nicht, liebe Mitza, dass wir unsere Muttersprache vernachlässigt haben. Die liebsten Grüße und Wünsche für ein besseres Wetter in Hamburg! Peter

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Edda

    Jetzt nimmt Eure Berg-und Talfahrt in punkto gemeinsame Zukunft aber rasante Geschwindigkeit auf ,lieber Peter! Sicher sollte es so sein, daß Du nun schnell und gezielt alles Nötige erledigen mußtest, um Biene zu ermöglichen, schnell zu Dir zu kommen..Da blieb wirklich keine Zeit mehr, sich noch länger mit Bienes Familie auszutauschen und viele Briefe zu schreiben..Daß erstmal dabei viel an Diskussionsbedarf “auf der Strecke ” blieb, ließ sich da nicht vermeiden.. Aber alles Folgende werden wir ja noch nach und nach erfahren..😉
    Weiterhin schnelle Erholung ,Peter! Und viele Grüße von uns an Biene und Dich aus Sottmar!👋👋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Liebe Edda, es geht mir nun schon viel besser, bin nun schon ganze vier Wochen zu Hause. Doch noch immer habe ich Schwierigkeiten beim Schlucken und der Geschmack für Biene’s gute Mahlzeiten fehlt noch. Doch klagen will ich auch nicht, bin ich doch in guten Händen.
      Das mit der Berg- und Talfahrt hast du gut ausgedrückt. Im nächsten Kapitel wirst du erfahren, was für eine problematische Überraschung die Einwanderungsbehörde sich für Biene ausgedacht hat. Nun seid du und dein lieber Dieter ganz herzlich gegrüßt! Peter


    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Yes, I had to leave the problems with the family opposing our wedding plans to Biene, since I really could not do anything about it from Canada. My focus was to set the process of her immigration in motion. Thank you, dear Cornelia, for your heart-warming comment! Have a great week-end!


  8. Nurul Fitri Lubis

    I have been being silent reader for the series of “Peter and Gertrude Klopp Story”.. But this time, I can’t help myself to comment. This letter is so sweet, Peter. I have been smiling once I started to read it.. Looking forward for the next chapter 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Oh, I am so happy that you like our story. Before I started my blog, there was just this box full of the letters of our correspondence. Now they have come back to life. Perhaps you will write a few more comments as our love story continues. Thank you, Nurul!


  9. Bun Karyudo

    I was impressed by your determination to speak English with Biene (at least during the daytime hours) in order to improve your English. I’ll be interested to find out in a later post if you managed to hold to this. The temptation to fall into speaking German, particularly when discussing anything highly abstract, must have been extremely strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Oh yes, we stuck to the promise to speak English on a daily basis. This eventually reached a point, where we started losing fluency in our mother tongue, a phenomenon I observed also among other immigrants. With many visitors from Germany we were lucky to receive a ‘refresher’ course in our own language every once in a while.

      Liked by 1 person

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