Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part VI

My Aunt’s Triumphant Coup

With the marriage of her son Fritz Georg with Emilie von Sobieski (after her adoption she had become a von Zychlinski ), the heiress of Panwitz and Castle Lagowitz, Anna had climbed the highest possible rung on the social ladder of the Klopp family. Through an almost incredible stroke of luck and clever manipulation, grandmother Emma, daughter Anna and her offspring had married into an actual castle. From now on they were considered even among distant envious family circles as people ‘in the big chips’. The news about Anna’s grandiose coup made all the jealous gossiping about her Jewish ancestry and her good-for-nothing son freeze. All they could say in a both dubious and admiring tone was, “The grandmother, Anna and her son are now castle owners somewhere in West Prussia”.

With the acquisition of Lagowitz the von Waldenfels estate expanded to an impressive 1000 ha piece of property. Lagowitz (Lagowice) is by way of a dirt road a mere 3 km distance away from Panwitz. At the eastern village entrance stood the stately manor inside a park. The country castle was built sometime between 1850 and 1860 in the typical Windsor-Gothic style with its stylistically typical little towers and turrets. In 1995 the author of the Klopp family history, Eberhard Klopp, a distant cousin of mine, found nothing but a few remnants of the ruins of a once magnificent building.

Supposedly the Red Army had set it on fire in 1945. The Polish villagers reported the blowing up of the remaining ruins in 1947, when most of them had just arrived from East Poland to settle in this now Polish territory. Even though there was much information available about the still existing wooden church (built around 1550) in Lagowitz, the author could not find anything on the inherited castle of Emil von Zychlinski (1852-1922). At the castle entrance was supposed to have been a nepomuk-column . Today there is on a base a statue of Virgin Mary. Behind it there are the former state farm buildings, stables and granaries, which were after 50 years in run-down and dilapidated conditions. Opposite to the former castle entrance and the statue, two ‘socialist’ buildings are located, in which live the approximate 30 families of the personell of the communication centre of the Polish army (1995).


  1. Pure Glory · June 7, 2019

    Wow, Peter, that is quite a history. Having a title and an actual castle and then having the Russians destroy it. Politics are strange. Losing this territory to Poland. There were so many twists and turns in this family story. Truth is stranger than fiction. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nurul Fitri Lubis · June 7, 2019

    I was expecting to see the castle. That must be lovely. It was too bad, that it was burnt. Well, maybe for the next posts, I’ll see more photos about the old properties. Lovely story, Peter..


  3. Stella, oh, Stella · June 7, 2019

    Many of the people who had fled from the Russians westwards went back after the war to see their former homes again. Most of the properties were quite neglected. It is a pity about the castle. I guess it was victim to a symbolic action against the wealthy.

    Did Anna actually contrive the marriage of her son with the heiress? Or did he manage that himself? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · June 9, 2019

      From what I know, grandmother, mother and son worked this scheme out together.


      • Stella, oh, Stella · June 10, 2019

        And Emilie went into the “trap” … 😉 … but maybe they were quite happy together …

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · June 10, 2019

        Perhaps for the first little while, but as the story unfolds, the two got divorced a few years later.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Stella, oh, Stella · June 11, 2019

        Or rather “not like”, divorces are often very sad.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy · June 7, 2019

    How very sad. War does so many terrible things.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. rabirius · June 8, 2019


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ann Coleman · June 8, 2019

    I hope you realize what a gift you are giving your family to keep track of, and write down, their history. For far too many of us, the family history dies with the oldest generation, and it’s something that can never be recovered.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anonymous · June 8, 2019

    That’s really an interesting family history you are sharing with us, Peter. Especially for me, since my mother was born in Prussia…. Koenigsberg….yet I know that it is a different country side.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Steve Schwartzman · June 10, 2019

    Your post is a reminder of how common it is around the world for a given place to have previously been controlled by a different nation—or even several—than the one that controls it now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · June 10, 2019

      The present story is just about the loss of manor/castle. My parents lost their home region Pomerania, which had been German for more than 500 years. That is the real tragedy. Thanks for your comment and interest, Steve!


  9. Ankur Mithal · June 11, 2019

    Fascinating history. Fortunes have a way of rising and falling.

    Liked by 1 person

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