The Panwitz Estate
In 1927 Anna and Ludwig von Waldenfels acquired the estate Panwitz (today Polish Panowice). It was located 15 km southeast of Meseritz, East Brandenburg (today Polish Miedzyrzcecz). Originally it was a knight’s estate of about 300 ha, half of it was land under cultivation and pasture, the other half was forest. The building had been in the sober and down-to-earth style constructed following the trend dominant around the time of World War I. The two-storey manor with its pseudo-classical columnated entrance and its three-storey high addition of a tower is located in a park in the centre of the village. At the south and east it was partly surrounded by a wall.
In the mid 1920’s the German government has set up a special office at Meseritz to deal with the resettlement of those farmers, who had been dispossessed and expelled from their land in West Prussia and the Posen territory. To provide them support for their livelihood new settlements were established, in which Panwitz was included. By granting credits for the exchange of real estates to the former land owners the German government was able to push through the acquisition of large tracts of land to help the dispossessed farmers from the former eastern provinces. Through this fortunate turn of events, Ludwig von Waldenfels took possession of the new estate in Panwitz. Ludwig and Anna appeared to have profited the most under the new settlement provisions of the agro-political government programme. In the written records it was mentioned that in 1930 the village of Panwitz under the mayor W. Ihnow was still in the re-settlement phase. By 1939 the village had 32 households of 147 German inhabitants.
Ludwig von Waldenfels and his ‘Baroness’ Anna, as she was from now on very pleased to be called, were by 1930 well established here. Many relatives began to drop in for a visit. Among them were captain and company commander Gerhard Kegler (my uncle), who was stationed at Züllichau in 1934 and brother-in-law Ernst Klopp (my father). Anna’s sister Meta spent in some years entire months at the Panwitz estate. ‘Castle Panwitz’ had turned out to be a beloved family centre for the entire family. For the development of this feeling the arrival of Anna’s mother Emma (my grand-mother) had greatly contributed. She spent the remaining 14 years of her life at Panwitz. Here in the living- and diningroom at the warm fireplace she devoted herself to her dreams. Of unbroken and enterprising spirit even until her very old age, she used to encourage her visiting children and grandchildren with statement like this, “Come and let us make plans”. In the tower chambers of the manor she had her own private apartment.
In 1996, Eberhard Klopp (a cousin of mine), the author of the Klopp family chronicles, noticed that the wooden floors and staircase to Emma’s tower had become totally rotten and had collapsed.