Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) Part 16

Cousin Hartmut Kegler’s Vacation Report

This is the third part of the 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).

The Hunting Firearm

Finally, still vivid in my memory is another experience that was connected to a visit by my uncle Gerhard Kegler. [In January 1945, he was sentenced to death for disobeying Himmel’s insane order to defend the fortress and town of Landsberg, where thousands of innocent townspeople would have lost their lives. His story can be found here.] He was a colonel on the eastern front at that time and was on vacation in Gutfelde. One day, he asked me if I could shoot with a gun. Since I carried on my shirt the shooting badge of the German Youth Organization, I proudly answered yes. My problem, however, was that as a cub I had only been using a light pellet gun. But my uncle entrusted me with a heavy hunting firearm. At my uncle’s visit I was eleven or twelve years old but went full of pride out into the field. Then I spied a riot of crows which were sitting on a high poplar tree. I loaded the gun, raised it, aimed and pulled the trigger. The recoil of the firearm and the loud bang almost knocked me over. The crows flew away. I had not hit any. Since then I have never touched a gun, and never needed to nor was I forced to use one.

Generalleutnant Gerhard Kegler – Gutfelde 1944

The relationship of Uncle Ernst and Aunt Erika with the Polish personnel was, as I recall it, fair and respectful. I believe that they owe their successful escape from the Red Army to the proper treatment of the Polish personnel. The farm workers prevented through their cooperative actions that Uncle Ernst was captured by the Soviet soldiers. Through a series of adventurous moves he managed to safely make it to West Germany. [The actual tragic events that my cousin Hartmut Kegler did not know will be published on a later post.]

1943 Family Photo – My mother on the right with me on her arm

While at the fronts and the bombarded German cities, in concentration and POW camps innumerable people found a horrible death, we children enjoyed happy days during our vacation in Gutfelde. Much later I began to think about the darker sides of life. At any rate, I am thankful to Aunt Erika and Uncle Ernst for their hospitality and for giving us the freedom to romp around at our hearts’ content.

End of Hartmut Kegler’s childhood memories

12 thoughts on “Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) Part 16

  1. Peter, for some reason the link to the back story about Kegler didn’t work—it took me back to a WordPress site? Maybe it’s just me?

    I am glad your cousin decided not to use guns after that incident. We have far too many guns here in the US, as you know. I will never understand the love of guns.

    I am curious to read the next post and see what happened to your father.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy, it is not the first time that I heard people complaining that the links are not always working in WordPress. Perhaps it is the new format that we are using now. I really don’t know. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am really dreading the new editor. So far I’ve avoided using it. For someone like me who adds footnotes and images into text, it is a real problem. And if links don’t work either…we are really in trouble.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The worst part for me is that everything on the new editor is organized in blocks. I often copy my pages and past them into a word processor for archival purposes. Now the blocks are creating all kinds of problems. The past solution for you and me would be to return to the so-called classical view. Best wishes! Peter

        Liked by 1 person

      • The classic editor is still there, though you have to know how to find it, and they keep making it harder. I assume soon it will be gone completely. My process is the opposite of yours. I compose on the word processor, then cut and paste into the editor. And then I add images and footnotes. I have no idea how I will do that with the block editor and may just switch platforms completely.

        Liked by 1 person

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