Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part XVI

‘Castle’ Lagowitz in Ruins

In a chaotic flight with lightning speed from Posen (Poznan), passing through his beloved Lagowitz, Georg von Waldenfels reached his wife’s home turf, the Münster province in the northwest of Germany and became a POW of the British Army. Ilse von Waldenfels, when approached for an interview by my cousin Eberhard Klopp, the author of the Klopp Family Chronicles, was very reluctant to share any information on her husband’s past. In her eyes, more than 40 years later in 1996, Georg was ‘an insignificant subaltern officer, who did not play any special role in the SS. After the war, he paid his tribute. We never talked about those bad years anymore.” She like many other Germans of her generation had buried and suppressed deep within her guilt-ridden psyche a considerable number of events of the Nazi era.

In the night from 28 to 29 January 1945, a certain SS general was passing through Panwitz and demanded the immediate evacuation. His urgent warning revealed that the Red Army would be at their doorsteps within just a few hours. Perhaps it was only the SS-Obersturmbannführer by the name of Georg von Waldenfels, who in his flight from Posen in the direction of Berlin had quickly warned his parents. As early as 1980 the author of this book in translation had received the following information in Trier from a reliable source: “Our all-rounded super-provisioner in France, a man from the nobility, Sepp Dietrich’s staff officer, succeeded before the arrival of the Russians in burning down Castle Lagowitz.”

Should von Waldenfels have really destroyed his very own NS-Headquarters and Castle Lagowitz with all its incriminating documents and evidence turning them into a heap of rubble and ashes? Eyewitnesses can no longer be found. But the action in a time of perilous urgency fits perfectly within the overall frame of his mentality. Treacherous documents and correspondence of all sorts in the hands of the Russian or Polish authorities would have heralded a dangerous new beginning for Georg. If all these collected facts agree, the parents Anna and Ludwig von Waldenfels on the morning of their own flight from Panwitz may have seen Castle Lagowitz for the last time as a smoking and smouldering pile of ruins. Georg von Waldenfels has taken this particular piece of history with him into his grave.

14 comments

  1. rabirius · August 16, 2019

    Excellent

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy · August 16, 2019

    This story reminded me of what we learned when we visited Auschwitz—how the Nazis tried to destroy the camp before the Alliied forces arrived to prevent them from learning about what happened there. It was somewhat ironic, given that until they saw that they were losing the war, the Nazis were preserving every record of their genocidal conduct, proud to be able to someday prove what they had done. Fortunately they did not destroy all of Auschwitz or all of those records so that today we do know about their evil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · August 16, 2019

      The thorough bureaucracy with its meticulous record keeping the Nazis inherited from previous German government. Without these incriminating records many Nazi big shots may have escaped their just punishments after the war.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amy · August 17, 2019

        Exactly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • kopfundgestalt · August 18, 2019

        But as far as I know Speer could rely on, that not everything was known at the trials. He claimed that he had known nothing about Auschwitz, but he did design for a similar camp. At some point he was even number 2 in the ranking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · August 18, 2019

        I read his memoirs in English translation:Inside the Third Reich. It seemed to me that he made an attempt in his book to justify his actions. Being an inside person he must have known about Auschwitz.

        Liked by 1 person

      • kopfundgestalt · August 18, 2019

        U don’t need to read his memoirs. It’s all about painting a picture that didn’t exist. Just read the recent book about him. It’s revealing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · August 19, 2019

        Could you give me the title of the book on Speer?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · August 19, 2019

        Ist es vielleicht ‘Albert Speer: Eine deutsche Karriere’?

        Liked by 1 person

      • kopfundgestalt · August 19, 2019

        ja, das ist der titel. von brechtken, wenn ich mich erinnere.
        ist ein eye-opener.

        Liked by 1 person

      • kopfundgestalt · August 20, 2019

        Interessant könnte für dich dieses kleine Interview des SWR1 mit Brechtken sein:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · August 20, 2019

        Vielen für den Link, lieber Gerhard!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Stella, oh, Stella · August 16, 2019

    That is quite a drastic measure, burning the entire castle down … what a pity! But maybe there was no time to only burn the papers. He must have had a lot to hide that would have condemned him.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ann Coleman · August 18, 2019

    I can imagine there was quite a scramble to hide evidence of Nazi activities as the war drew to a close. But we will never forget….. Great post, Peter!

    Liked by 2 people

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