A couple of years ago, as some of my early followers may recall, I published the life stories of the first seven children of my grandparents. My father was the sixteenth and last child of this extremely large family, an unusual occurrence even in the world of the 19th century. My posts are based on a book published by my cousin Eberhart Klopp.
Now that Book I of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp has been published in its entirety, I can turn my attention again to the remaining children, my aunts, uncles and my father Ernst Klopp. The life story of my aunt Anna is particularly fascinating, as she was the one endowed with a large portion of beauty and intelligence with that extra portion of luck, which enabled her to catapult herself from the lower-middle class segment of society into the glorious realm of nobility.
The Long Road to Castle Panwitz – Part I
Baroness Anna Auguste Luise von Waldenfels (née Klopp)
Anna was born, as stated by the author Eberhart Klopp, as the product of a passing state of euphoria in marital relations after the parents Friedrich and Emma Klopp received their share of the inheritance from Emma’s grandfather Johann Christian Bauer (1792-1883). Anna, the eighth child, was born on September 29, 1885 in Jersleben, was baptized by Pastor Heyne. After the completion of the elementary school program in Wolmirstedt she enrolled around 1900 in a trade school in Berlin, a early form of business college for women with room and board facilities for non-resident students.
As a 15/16 year old student she somewhat experienced from afar the narrow-minded domestic squabbles between her father and her brothers Friedrich (1875-1946) and Ferdinand (1879-1952) as well as her mother Emma being discriminated against back home at Wolmirstedt. She spent in 1902 or1903 some time as au-pair girl in an Irish household, where she acquired her English language skills.
In 1903 she applied for a secretarial position at the administration at the garrison in Metz, Loraine. After she was hired, she became acquainted there with Lieutenant Ludwig Max Baron von Waldenfels (1875-1954). Ludwig entered the officer’s training program at the First Field Artillery Regiment in Munich in 1897 and after being promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant he became a member of the 4th Bavarian Infantry Regiment in Metz.
When the liaison between the protestant miller’s daughter and the titled Lieutenant von Waldenfels became known, it created mixed feelings with the future mother-in-law Maria von Waldenfels (née von Mühldorfer), whose husband was not involved, since he had already passed away in 1898.
The birth of Anna’s son Fritz Georg was not exactly a joyful event for the catholic von Waldenfels family. Anna gave birth to her only child neither in proximity of her mother-in-law nor in the nebulous circle of the officers’ wives of Metz. In preparation for her ‘heavy hour’ she decided to give birth in the impoverished pioneer’s cabin at her mother Emma in the West Prussian village of Schönsee-Weihe near Thorn. In the church of Schönsee (today Polish Kowalowo Pomorskie) Firtz Georg was baptized into the protestant faith. The offspring of the much later performed official marriage ceremony offered a great opportunity to the Klopp-Weihe family clan for deriding comments, not omitting even adventurous speculations about Anna’s Jewish background. The actual truth for the rumours trickling down to Wolmirstedt and Zielitz may be found in the reaction of the Bavarian mother-in-law Maria von Waldenfels.
To be continued next week …