Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) Part 18

Peter’s Second Year – Mother’s Day 1943

From My Mother’s Diary

Spring came early in 1943. I spent a lot of time outside exploring the world around me. I learned to stand up on my own and ventured to make my first stumbling steps. Jupp, the friendly family dog, was my steady companion and my best friend for a while. Unlike my older siblings I refused to take the bottle and from my first birthday on I proudly drank my milk from the cup. When people were watching, I did my best to entertain them and show off my newly acquired skills. With the good weather also came a stream of visitors to enjoy the peaceful environment and the hospitality they found at Gutfelde. These visits spread over a couple of months were quite enjoyable for hosts and guests alike, even though some stayed for as long as three weeks or even longer. On top of it all, Karl and Adolf came home for the Easter holidays. Karl had acquired a certain degree of stardom with his excellent performance at the Belgard High School and his rapid development of his piano playing skills. As always, when he was home, he was asked to demonstrate his progress at the family piano. This went over very well, especially as his music teacher was also present and accompanied him on Father’s violin.

Peter and his Friend Jupp

Mother was honoured for the second time on Mother’s Day in Seebrück (Rogowo), a near-by town southwest of Gutfelde. With her five children, four of whom were male, she ranked very high among all the mothers in the region. Mother’s Day was a state supported festival, upon which a lot of emphasis was given to the meaning of motherhood mostly for ideological and mythical reasons based on ancient Teutonic folklore. Women in general were considered not weak, but very precious who had to be protected at all cost from any involvement in war activities. Germany was the only nation that did not employ women in the war effort in any shape or form. Young girls in colourful dresses presented flowers to the mothers. This year it was Father’s turn to make a speech to the assembly. What he was saying about motherhood and family came straight from the heart and with his genuine admiration for all mothers and especially for his beloved wife left a lasting impression on all those who were present.

Peter’s Mother in a Rye Field 1943

Mother’s diary of the first 15 months of my life came to a sudden end, because she had simply reached the last page and did not want to start another booklet. If one considers that this diary with the many tiny photographs pasted into it and written in beautiful Sütterlin handwriting was from among all the other precious goods the only object that she managed to bring safely to West Germany, one must concede that we are dealing with a little miracle. The far greater miracle, the survival of the entire Klopp family in the closing days of  World War II and afterwards, will be the subject of the next chapter.

15 thoughts on “Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) Part 18

  1. Jupp looks like a good pal
    I was interested, and surprised, to learn there were no “Rosie the Riveters” in Germany. One of my great-grandfathers worked for an explosives/munitions firm for many years, and I’ve seen pictures of women working in the ammunition plants, and this type of employment went back to the Civil War, when women workers were actually preferred, as exercising more caution. Sometimes this line of work proved tragic, of course, when the plants or arsenals went up, as they did in NYC, Philly, Pittsburgh, etc.

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    • Indeed, there were no such “Rosies” in Nazi Germany. The dark side behind this fact is that thousands of slave workers from occupied countries had to work in the ammunition plants.


  2. Peter, it seems that many of us had dogs as best friends when we were toddlers. And again, I love your mother’s account of your very early days. These are unique and fascinating glimpses into your life, and into a side of WWII most of us know little about. I appreciate you sharing it.

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  3. Dann wart ihr ja eine richtig musikalische Familie. Glaube auch, dass der Muttertag – der Tag für die Mutter – früher wesentlich mehr geachtet wurde, heute ist vieles zum Kommerz verkommen. Schön, dass ihr das Tagebuch retten konntet, da wären sicher viele Erinnerungen verloren gegangen. LG Wolfgang

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  4. Yupp and you are best friends for a while in your early childhood, such a blessing. Interesting that you refused to drink milk from a bottle, but learning very fast to drink from a cup, quite unusual for a one year old. Strengths within you has developed from early on. Indeed that is a miracle that your mother’s diary was saved to bring to West Germany, such a treasure for you. Thank you for sharing your childhood with us, Peter. Wish you a wonderful weekend with autumn colors to enjoy.

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  5. Whenever I start feeling too sorry for myself for living during these uncertain times, I think of what families went through during the times of War. Even though yours had found a safe haven for some of those years, I can’t imagine the problems that followed. I am so glad that your mothers journal of your first few months was able to survive! That is a miracle, and a testament to a mother’s love that will always be treasured.


  6. “With her five children, four of whom were male, she ranked very high among all the mothers” piqued my curiosity. I thought the desirability of having male offspring was an Indian (or at least Asian) trait. Seems it was more universal.


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