Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part XVIII

Escape from the Horrors of War

On the morning of 29 January 1945 Ludwig von Waldenfels was totally against leaving Panwitz. Being a former WW1 officer of the Bavarian army, he planned to hide in the forests of Panwitz and armed with a pistol intended to sacrifice his life if necessary. His wife Anna knew how to curtail such dramatic, but senseless undertaking and with gentle force manoeuvred him into the waiting car.

The population of East Brandenburg (to which Panwitz belonged) experienced all the brutalities of the Russian hordes. The people percentage-wise paid the highest blood tribute rendered in 1945 at their expulsion from the German eastern provinces. In Rogsen alone, a village of 761 inhabitants 10 km south of Panwitz, a dozen men were shot and on the night of 29 January 1945 forty brutally raped women and girls committed suicide. Already in the afternoon of the same day, Soviet artillery shot from Heidemühl and Kupfermühle at a distance of 5km into Meseritz.

For Ludwig and Anna, in view of the military situation, there was only one escape route. It led over icy and snowed-in country lanes via Lagowitz and Brätz to the main connecting road to Schwiebus. With little luggage and the few things on their body, the couple reached after one week of travel Gauting near Munich. There they found first reception at their brother/brother-in-law Ernst von Waldenfels (1877 – 1955). He was a bank chief inspector and lived at 10 Hindenburg Street. He was in charge of money matters before the chaotic times set in. Here they experienced the arrival of the Americans and thus survived the war’s end.

Within just a few hours a life’s work and dream had sunk into oblivion. Only the nostalgic feelings of 18 years of Panwitz and Lagowitz remained, which nobody of the former residence would ever see again. Alive remains the memory of the shadowy gravesite of grandmother Emma Klopp (née Bauer) in the park of the Panwitz estate. Her final resting place was supposed to have become the family gravesite of the Klopp and von Waldenfels clans. The fury of war and the greatest mass expulsion in history had swept all this away.


  1. Amy · August 30, 2019

    Losing their home and their estate must have been terrible. But at least they survived. So many did not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · August 30, 2019

      So true. I just mentioned to Gerhard who also read the book you recommended that I saw quite a few parallels in ‘The House by the Lake’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy · August 31, 2019

        That’s why I immediately thought of the book as I was reading this series of blog posts. I assume that there were many, many families who experienced similar ordeals.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. kopfundgestalt · August 30, 2019

    So sad.
    It was new to me that women committed suicide. After all, most of them had children.
    The book “The Summer House on the Lake”, which Amy recommended, had similar stories. Everything is completely impossible for me to imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · August 30, 2019

      I recently finished the book ‘The house by the Lake’ and also saw many parallels to the present blog ‘Baroness Anna …’

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pure Glory · August 30, 2019

    It was a miracle Ludwig and Anna made it out of the area alive. So many did not. I have read other accounts of the Russians’ brutality.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Steve Schwartzman · August 31, 2019

    I’ve heard from several sources that many Germans did whatever they could to surrender to the Americans rather than to the Russians.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · August 31, 2019

      This is true. In the closing days of the war, German army units were racing to American held part of Germany, especially to Bavaria. Unfortunately, by American and Russian agreement they were returned to the Soviets.


  5. Chocoviv · August 31, 2019


    Liked by 1 person

  6. rabirius · September 1, 2019


    Liked by 1 person

  7. maryannniemczura · September 1, 2019

    The horrors and injustices of war cannot be underestimated. Man’s inhumanity to man. Enjoyed the rich history in this post, Peter. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ankur Mithal · September 6, 2019

    Once war starts, all bets go off. Anything can happen.

    Liked by 1 person

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