Friedrich Ernst Klopp – The Sixteenth and Last Child of Friedrich and Emma Klopp

My Father – Friedrich Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964)

Introduction Part I

While translating parts from the family chronicles written by my cousin Eberhard Klopp, my main focus was on rendering an accurate translation. My personal interest in our family history and a deeply felt responsibility towards the Klopp branch and future descendants living in Canada provided me with the motivation and necessary persistence to delve into this laborious and time-consuming undertaking. With the exception of four aunts and my father Ernst Klopp, I did not get to know the other twelve children of my paternal grandparents Emma Christiane and Peter Friedrich Klopp. 

As I was writing down the wealth of ancestral information of Eberhard Klopp’s book containing more than 200 pages in small print and then publishing it on my blog one uncle and one aunt at a time, I gained deep insight into the causes of what makes a family function in harmony and of what makes it fall apart. Quite frankly, reading some of the stories shocked me so intensely that I hesitated for a long time to publish them online.

My readers, who read the posts on my nephew Georg von Waldenfels, a Nazi SS officer, may understand as to why I was tempted to leave out this embarrassing chapter of our family history. In the 1930s many people were misled by the promises made by the Nazi propaganda for a more prosperous and stronger Germany after having suffered through the worst economic depression in German history. Actually, at least initially, their hopes and aspirations were being fulfilled. While millions of people had been struggling to make ends meet, every person willing to work was now gainfully employed and able to put bread and butter on the table. They had no idea that the Third Reich that was supposed to last a thousand years would lie in ruins so quickly and millions of soldiers and civilians would be sacrificed on the altar of an insane ideology.

Title Page of the Klopp Family Chronicle

 

14 comments

  1. Edda · June 5

    Hallo, Peter!
    Ich denke, jetzt ist der richtige Zeitpunkt, wieder an Deinem Blog teilzunehmen. Es ist bei uns so viel passiert, (Du weisst es ja ) dass es mir nicht möglich war, Deinen Ausführungen so zu folgen, wie es nötig gewesen wäre.. Nun können wir uns Dir und Deiner Familiengeschichte wieder voll und ganz widmen.
    Da wir ja selbst etliche Jahren mit unseren Kindern in Wolmirstedt gelebt
    haben, ist es nun für uns besonders interessant, Weiteres über Dich und Deinen Vater zu erfahren.
    Herzliche Grüße!
    Edda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · June 5

      Aber liebe Edda!
      Das war mir doch völlig klar, dass du bei all den Aufregungen und Sorgen um deinen lieben Mann keine Zeit hattest, auch noch meinen Blog zu lesen. Um so mehr freue ich jetzt, dass du dich wieder an meinem Blog beteiligen kannst, da nun gerade der wichtigste Teil meiner Familiengeschichte beginnt, nämlich die Lebensgeschichte meines Vaters. Ganz liebe Grüße an dich und Dieter!

      Like

  2. Stella, oh, Stella · June 5

    Dear Peter, your account of your family was a brave step to take, and for me reading it was like facing the history of my ancestors.
    I think every family had their black (resp. brown) sheep(s), the opportunists. Most people were driven by fear, as for any misdemeanour of one person, the whole family would be punished. That was what the Nazis called “Sippenhaft”, with the means of which they had a firm grip on the population. I don’t know the English word, as – interestingly – the word Sippenhaft does not exist in the online dictionary …
    I don’t believe in dwelling too much on the past, but it should not be suppressed either, as we are supposed to learn from it, hopefully that we won’t repeat those things. I don’t feel responsible for what my grandparents did during World War II, but I am responsible for not making the same mistakes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Peter Klopp · June 5

      Thank you, Birgit, for your profound comment on the introductory post on my father’s lfe! You are right, if we do not know our past we are bound to repeat the same mistake. If we know it we have no excuse for repeating the same mistakes. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

    • kopfundgestalt · June 6

      Sippenhaft = collective punishment.
      I think they had family responsibilities and abstained from any comments.

      Like

  3. Amy · June 5

    As you know, I am a firm believer in learning about and writing about our families, warts and all. We cannot learn from history if we suppress it. So I commend you for publishing even the ugliest parts of your family story. And, of course, most of your family stories should give you much pride and honor.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Peter Klopp · June 6

      Thank you for your understanding in this delicate matter, Amy!
      By the way, I finished reading the Seventh Cross. You are right it is not a very uplifting novel, especially as it reflects the reality of a horrible past. But humanity shines through all the gruesome events as the force living and dying for.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amy · June 6

        I’m still slogging through it. I tend to read late at night so usually get through a few pages before I fall asleep!

        I think we all have to remember that upside to humanity whenever we confront its dark side.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Des · June 6

    Peter, I found this to be a very honest and interesting post! A few days ago I read an interesting article entitled “Why Did Women Vote for Hitler? Long-Forgotten Essays Hold Some Answers.” It’s good to review conditions of the German people prior to WWII, especially coming from a single family perspective. I would say you’ve handled these difficult chapters in your family history in a very dignified manner.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kopfundgestalt · June 6

    It will be difficult for us as newborns to understand the time of depression in the 20s. Even the Nazi era.
    I am currently reading a book by an Englishman about Germany, or about German-speaking areas in the past centuries.
    All of this may make the picture a little more complete.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ann Coleman · June 6

    I think you are right to publish all of the family history that you have found, both the good and the bad. We don’t learn from history if we don’t look it squarely in the eye, for one thing, and for another, I think honesty is always good. There isn’t a single family that doesn’t have some things in their history (or even present) that aren’t good, but that’s just the reality of humans being humans.
    And I think you bring up an important point about the Nazi’s. We forget that in the beginning, they were seen as the party that was going to save Germany from the severe depression they were in. During hard times, people are all too willing to believe in that sort of thing. And honestly, we still see that going on today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · June 7

      In a call to make America strong again, I also see a temptation to follow a leader who is making such promises. I believe that the forces of democracy are still sufficiently in place to avoid an outright dictatorship. However, vigilance must be exercised.

      Like

  7. rabirius · June 7

    Excellent. I sill like to follow your reports.

    Liked by 1 person

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