Ernst Klopp (1900 -1964) Part 17

Baby Peter Arrives at Gutfelde

Family Photo Gutfelde 1941 – The six people on the right: My brothers and sister in the front, Ernst and Erika Klopp, my parents in the back

At the time of my birth, Father as manager and inspector was in charge of the estates Silberberg, Oberhof and Gutfelde totalling an area of approximately 3000 ha. Although he must have been thankful to the authorities for landing him such challenging and prestigious position and therefore may have harboured a favourable disposition towards the Nazi regime, he always strove to keep his humanity in dealing with his fellow human beings, Germans and Poles alike. In particular, through his actions he distanced himself from the policy that forbade German citizens to fraternize with the defeated enemy. It is a great testimony to his moral independence from the dark and sinister sides of Nazi Germany that he allowed Polish men and women to live and work closely and cordially with the Klopp family at the Gutfelde residence and the agricultural headquarter for the region.

My Father Ernst Klopp 1941

From the stories I picked up from my mother I speculate that Father owed his survival to his reputation of treating fairly and equitably all the people who worked for the large estate under his directorship. Other administrators notorious for their arrogance, cruelty and injustice in dealing with the Polish population were rounded up, lynched, hanged or shot in the closing months of the war. On a  Polish website with a special focus on mansions, manors, and castles of Poland, I found an entire page devoted to Gutfelde – now an agricultural training center with orchards, wheat and corn under cultivation, 800 cows and 8000 pigs. The same page to my great surprise also mentioned my father’s name as an administrator during WW2!

The following are excerpts from my mother’s diary which she wrote from baby Peter’s perspective.

Mother and Baby Peter

When I arrived with Mother at Gutfelde, I received a truly royal reception. My brother Karl, who attends a boarding school in Belgard (Bialogard), would see me a few months later at the beginning of his summer holidays. But the others including my proud father did everything to welcome the fifth child in the family. Flags were waving. Fir branches and a big welcome sign decorated the door to my very own room. Inside the sunny and warm room several pots with beautiful flowers created a cheerful atmosphere for the latest arrival in Gutfelde.

First Page of my Mother’s Diary

Father must have kindled my passion for music and my desire for writing. For he often spent time at my crib telling me long stories, singing with his deep beautiful voice or whistled many a lovely tune. His birthday was coming up. The entire family had prepared a wonderful celebration. For the first time the five children were together. Early in the morning of June 28th, Karl, Adolf, Eka and Gerhard entered the parental bedroom and presented to Father a bouquet of flowers and started off the day with cheerful ‘Happy Birthday’ wishes. Later when good friends of the family, the Döpelheuer couple, had arrived, Karl sat at the piano and played a few pieces to show what he had learned. For accompaniment, Father and Auntie Döpelheuer played on their violins with great enthusiasm. The trio created a really festive atmosphere. 

To be continued

18 comments

  1. Amy · 13 Days Ago

    Yay, I’ve been wondering when you were going to appear on the scene! Are you the last child?

    Your mother’s diary is just wonderful. Such sweet memories. I hope she wrote more.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Stella, oh, Stella · 13 Days Ago

    What a nice idea to write the diary from your perspective!
    I was once able to read these letter, but, alas, no more … a pity actually.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Des · 12 Days Ago

    Reading the words from your mother’s diary, I would say she must have also contributed to your interest in writing. It’s a sweet entry and I’m glad you shared it. Happy Friday, Peter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 12 Days Ago

      Thank you for the kind words, Des! I am so glad you like the page from my mother’s diary. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful reception and celebration of your family upon your arrival at this earth. I can almost read half of your Mother’s diary page, since I grew up with this kind of writing, what a lovely idea of her to write with your voice. Writing has already been embedded in your gene from the first moment on, no wonder about your beautiful letters to Biene back than. Have a beautiful weekend , Peter. Can’t wait for the continuation of your story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · 12 Days Ago

      Such a heart-warming comment, Cornelia! There are very few people who can still read the old German cursive writing. I had to relearn the script before I was able to read my mother’s diary. Thank you very much and a have a great weekend!

      Like

      • Thank you Peter. When my mother passed away 10 years ago, I spent a lot of time to read old letters from my grandparents both sides, written in cursive writing , over the time my eyes got used to it. Enjoy your autumn Sunday.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · 11 Days Ago

        Thank you, Cornelia! I also took much time before I was able to read this handwriting style again. You too have a great Sunday!

        Like

  5. Ann Coleman · 12 Days Ago

    You were blessed with a wonderful family, Peter! And I loved that photo of you and your mother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 11 Days Ago

      Image that the photo in my mother’s diary was only an inch and a half wide. I scanned it at high resolution to produce the large image for my blog. Have a great Sunday, Ann!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. kopfundgestalt · 11 Days Ago

    I read this with great interest, Peter.
    Good, That your father treated the people well.
    In a way I can fand similiarities in his face to you.
    I hardly can read your mothers diary. There were times I could read this fluently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 11 Days Ago

      I too struggled with the script of my mother’s handwritten diary. There are some excellent online resources that helped me decode the wonderful account of the first 18 months of my life. Thank you for your interest in our family history, Gerhard! Your comments are always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ankur Mithal · 9 Days Ago

    Peter, I continue to be fascinated by this first-hand story of a real family in a period many of us only the horrors of, and that too through history books. Gives me confidence that humanity will always shine through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 8 Days Ago

      Thank you, Ankur! The good times of the Klopp family are rapidly coming to an end, as you will soon see in one of the following posts. The expulsion of millions of Germans from their home provinces is also a topic found in history books.

      Like

  8. travelsandtomes · 4 Days Ago

    What a beautiful gift to have these journal entries from your mother. And what a lovely and loving family you have. Thank you for sharing your family stories, which offer another side to our shared histories of a difficult time period.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 2 Days Ago

      Indeed, my mother’s journal is a real treasure to me. Thank you for your kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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