Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) – Part 1

My Father’s Childhood Years

Ernst was the sixteenth and last child of Friedrich and Emma Klopp. Within the short timespan from March till June 1900, four fateful events occurred in Wolmirstedt. In March the eldest son Friedrich (1875 – 1946) married Marie-Luise (née Weihe, 1880 – 1924), who was six months pregnant. At the end of May, Peter Friedrich Klopp (1852 – 1900) passed away. He was good-looking, handsome, slightly obese, and a giant of a man. He was generally of a cheerful disposition and was not disinclined to an occasional drink in the genial company of like-minded buddies every once in a while. 

In the middle of May not long before my father’s birth, he was riding home from a hunting party. It appears that he often left direction and speed to the discretion of his well-trained horse. Maybe on this chilly night, he had had just one drink too many. Falling asleep on horseback is never a good idea, especially when you are in that cozy state of inebriation. Inevitably, he slipped off the saddle, and the horse trod home without him. Early next morning travellers found him lying half-conscious on the roadside. He was sober by now but suffered from a severe case of hypothermia. Soon after, he acquired a kidney infection, from which he was unable to recover. He died on the 26th of June 1900 at the age of 48. 

Photo Credit: Museum Wolmirstedt

At the beginning of June, the first child of the eldest son was born. Her name was Frieda (1900 – 1979). Finally, on June 28, 1900, the fatherless Ernst was born. Thus, Frieda and her uncle Ernst were of the same age. The two have never met again in later years.

These intersecting both joyful and painful events happened during those four months in the crowded conditions of the house in Wolmirstedt. The expulsion of the Klopp son Ferdinand (1879 – 1952) and his departure to the United States also occurred during the first half of 1900. All this wore down the family’s physical and psychological ability to cope. The acquisition of the mill Wehrmühle near Zieglitz by the forty-year-old widow appears almost like a desperate attempt to gain her freedom and independence from all these troubles at home.

12 thoughts on “Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) – Part 1

  1. How awfully sad that your father never knew his father and that you never knew your grandfather. I assume you are his namesake?

    People endured so much in those times. And I guess we still do. Drunk driving isn’t that much different from drunk horseback riding. So sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And the poor widow, pregnant and all of a sudden alone with all those children, although some must have been old enough (at least the eldest) to work and had maybe left home.

    My greatgrandmother was also alone with 12 children. In her case, the oldest son took over the role of the father, not quite to the benefit of his siblings..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s so sad that your father never had a chance to know his own father, and that your grandmother was left a widow so early in her life. But as you said in one of the comments, joy and sorrow often go hand in hand in life. I’m hoping that your father’s birth was comfort to his mother in her grief.


  4. Falling aslleep on a horse is not a good idea.
    My maternal grandfather, whom I never got to know, died in an accident at around 64. He managed a construction company on the railroad. When a train came he jumped down from his observation post, but, being heavy, lost his balance on the gravel and tipped backwards against the passing train. I happened to be at the relevant position today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems like you also have quite a few stories to tell, Gerry. But you have your pottery, art, photography, insect research etc. Wie meine Frau immer so richtig sagt. Man darf sich nicht verzetteln.

      Liked by 1 person

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