Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part XVII

Narrow Escape and Loss of Property

In the early part of 1945 Georg’s wife, Ilse  von Waldenfels escaped just in time from the rapidly advancing  Red Army. After briefly visiting acquaintances at Lake Scharmützel near Berlin she reached Berghorst in the Münster region in Northwest Germany, where her mother Helene née Wattendorf (1881 – 1973) resided. Georg after joining her as reported earlier became shortly afterwards a British POW and was interned in Recklinghausen until 1947. His entire property had been confiscated on account of his SS membership. There are some vague indications about Georg having been summoned as a witness against Genraloberst of the SS, Sepp Dietrich, in court proceedings at the Nuremberg war crime tribunal or at the Malmedy  Court, in which his former boss received a life sentence for being responsible for the shooting of POW’s during the Ardennes Offensive. The author Eberhard Klopp of these family chronicles did not further explore the connections of these claims. At any rate, Ilse von Waldenfels was able to send family care parcels to her interned husband in Recklinghausen.

By the end of January 1945, the Red Army was approaching the town of Tirschtiegel, which the Wehrmacht (regular German army) and SS units were defending on 30 January. Soviet units were breaking through the so-called ‘Obra Position’ and advanced on 28 January south and north of Tirschtiegel in a pincer attack all the way to the road connecting Meseritz and Bentschen. After the conquest of Bauchwitz only 5km north of Panwitz the Soviets not only blocked to the defenders the retreat from Tirschtiegel, but also to the rural inhabitants the escape route to the railway station in Meseritz.

Anna von Waldenfels describes the loss of her beloved Panwitz. “We were totally unaware the Russians with their tanks were ready to strike at any moment being only 5 km away from us. A general of the SS came by and told us that he would take us to Berlin if we would make up our mind immediately. He warned, ‘Tomorrow you all will be hanging from a tree’. Indeed that’s what happened to all our neighbours who stayed behind. For us to escape was truly a miracle”. On the very next morning (29 January 1945) the Russians had occupied the entire county. All men were shot and all women were raped by the Asian hordes.

To be continued next Friday …

11 comments

  1. Pure Glory · August 23

    It is truly a blessing that Anna was able to escape. Someone had been praying for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stella, oh, Stella · August 23

    The poor neighbours … 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · August 24

      My parents were lucky. The entire family, father, mother, and five children were re-united in a small village in southern Germany after being expelled from their home province Pomerania

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Amy · August 24

    The brutality of human beings just stings and burns. How are we capable of so much evil?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · August 24

      Psalm 53 1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
      They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
      there is none who does good.
      This is verdict of the great Jewish king David. What else can we say when we look at the horrors of war and strife?

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Amy · August 24

    Sadly true

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kopfundgestalt · August 24

    Yesterday evening i read about Ostpreußen, where such things happened also. The author told the readers, that u really cant describe in Detail what happend to the fleeing people in 1945.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ann Coleman · August 24

    Your story just proves that old saying, “war is hell.” I feel so sorry for the victims of violence and brutality….when will we learn?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · August 24

      The song by the Kingston Trio is still in my ears: Where have all the flowers gone …

      Liked by 1 person

  7. rabirius · August 25

    Excellent.

    Like

  8. Ankur Mithal · August 27

    Shocking. It seems the primal instinct takes over when we are in a position of power. Country, caste, creed, class, colour notwithstanding.

    Like

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