Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) – Part 13

Cousin Hartmut Kegler’s Vacation Report

The following story is a guest post written by my cousin Hartmut Kegler, who also wrote the children’s seminary on Albert Schweitzer I published a few months ago in the original German. I waited until now because it throws some additional light on my father Ernst Klopp and on the happy years in Gutfelde (Zlotniki).

My Memories of Gutfelde after more than Seventy Years

I gladly remember the wonderful vacations we were able to spend in the years of 1942 and 1943 during the murderous World War II at Gutfelde. Our aunt Erika Klopp, the sister of my father Bruno Kegler killed in action in 1940, and her husband Ernst Klopp were the caretakers and administrators of the Polish estate Gutfelde in the so-called Warthegau. They lived in a spacious mansion, behind which was a big beautiful park with a small pond. About the house, I still remember the large dining room and the estate office.

The Pond in the Park behind the Mansion

In the dining room, there was a long table. There we all, the four Klopp children and their parents and we three Kegler kids with our mother would sit to have lunch and dinner. Beforehand, the Polish domestic employee would diligently set the table. I remember her well because of what she said after one of us children had hidden a fork from the carefully laid-out cutlery. Quite shocked, she exclaimed in garbled German, “Where is forkie this?” We rascals were very much amused by her reaction. But the young Polish woman took our prank all in strides and was not even cross with us. When all had punctually taken their seats at the dinner table Uncle Ernst opened the mealtime with these somewhat irreverent words, “People eat, horses gorge. But today it will be the other way around. Enjoy your meal.” Not exactly a pious expression. According to the spirit of the times, the Klopps had left the church but described themselves as God-fearing.

Our holidays were filled with playing many games often bordering on extremely dangerous escapades.

To be continued …


  1. Amy · September 11, 2020

    What sweet memories! How fortunate they all were.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · September 11, 2020

      That’s why I called these times the golden years in spite of the fact that it wasn’t for millions of people during the same time period.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amy · September 11, 2020

        Yes, I must admit that I did have that reaction—hard to imagine people having so much joy while others were being murdered. But we find joy when and where we can.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Stella, oh, Stella · September 11, 2020

    Good memories! This just confirms that we should take one day at a time and enjoy the hear and now …
    I am looking forward to read about the dangerous escapades … 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pure Glory · September 11, 2020

    In the midst of unspeakable horror, this sounds like an oasis of normalcy. God really blessed your parents to have this respite from World War II.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. · September 12, 2020

    You rascals, what a fond memory of those times. Interesting that you posted a picture of rowing a boat, because you and Biene are kayaking. Enjoy your Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ankur Mithal · September 13, 2020

    I think you got some early practice for your present day rowing expeditions 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · September 13, 2020

      Perhaps you are right when I read my cousin’s story. But I was only one year old at the time of the naval battle at the pond.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jane Lurie · September 13, 2020

    Amusing, lovely memories Peter. I like your Uncle’s mealtime words. 🙂


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