Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) Part 22

My Mother’s Ordeal in Pomerania 1945 – 1947

 While Father slaved away in a Soviet coal mine, Mother had to endure indescribable hardships. Escape across the River Oder, where the area was still in German hands, was no longer an option. The Russian troops were heading in that direction and there was heavy fighting. She was left behind at the forestry with my brother Gerhard and me and the four orphans, whom she had taken along during the arduous trek from Gutfelde. That she and thousands of other women from West Prussia and Pomerania did not despair, did not give up and did not fatalistically slip into a state of utter hopelessness gives me cause for great admiration. After the forestry building burned to the ground, Mother wandered around in search of food, shelter, and relative safety. Eventually she obtained permission from a commanding Russian officer to travel with us children to Belgard in the hope of finding my brothers Karl and Adolf. To her great disappointment she discovered that they had decided to leave school and town, when they had heard that the Red Army would be in Belgard within days.

Belgard, Pomerania (now Polish: Bialogard) – Photo Credit Wikipedia

While the town of Belgard remained relatively unscathed from the ravages of war, Mother had to suffer under the harassment and abuses of the new masters in town. In the secret treaty in 1940 between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union Stalin had acquired control over the eastern parts of Poland and wanted to keep them in compensation for the stupendous losses in life and material during the German invasion of Russia. So he ordered the Poles to leave their homes and their farms and settle in the German provinces east of the Rivers Oder and Neisse.

Pomerania, now part of Poland

Now in an ironic reversal of roles, the Poles were now the masters of former German farms and exercising control over the towns and cities. For the Germans, who wanted to stay or could not escape in time, it was now their turn to experience harassment and abuse. Mother refused to be forced into a role in which she would lose her dignity, especially, as it often occurred, if she felt that she was confronted with injustice. She knew about the century old animosity between the Russian and the Polish people. So whenever she felt that the Polish authorities had unfairly treated her, she would go straight to the Russian officer in charge of the district and complain about the incident. To her great satisfaction she received justice ironically from the hands of an enemy officer.

Apart from her inner strength that allowed her to show courage where others would have meekly knuckled under, one must also consider the fact that Russian officers had a heart for the plight of little children. One could dismiss this thought as stereotypical and sentimental bias, if what Mother had experienced in Belgard with the six children in her care had been an isolated case of kindness. But such tender feelings on the part of Russian soldier had been documented so frequently as to attest to their truth.

17 comments

  1. Labby · 11 Days Ago

    Ein interessanter Bericht Peter, ich lese weiter mit. Liebe Grüße Wolfgang

    Like

  2. Shepherd Cathy · 11 Days Ago

    On Friday, November 13, 2020, The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project wrote:

    > Peter Klopp posted: ” My Mother’s Ordeal in Pomerania 1945 – 1947 While > Father slaved away in a Soviet coal mine, Mother had to endure > indescribable hardships. Escape across the River Oder, where the area was > still in German hands, was no longer an option. The Russia” >

    Like

  3. Ruth · 11 Days Ago

    What a story. So brave and resilient. I’m trying to catch up on blog reading. I think your family story is prize winning. So grueling and difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy · 11 Days Ago

    Your mother must have been a remarkably strong woman to endure all that.

    I guess that experiences with the Polish people and the Russians shows the truth of the statement that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 9 Days Ago

      My mother was one of the thousands of women who had to endure the consequences of the evils of war. I am so proud of her and of what she has done to secure my survival. I was only three years old in these chaotic times after WW2.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Stella, oh, Stella · 11 Days Ago

    I think mothers would do and endure anything to keep their children safe. And your mother had four other kids along as well. I cannot admire her enough.
    I am not that surprised about the Russian soldiers’ kindness towards children. Nobody is only bad or only good. Most soldiers of all the countries were cast out into the war by their governemnts. They were family fathers, normal people, who got distorted by the terrible situation of a cruel war.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 9 Days Ago

      I like your comment so full of understanding very much, Birgit. We must guard against seeing the world in black and white. Thank you for your kind words of praise for my mother!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your mother endured such harassment and treatment without dignity , nevertheless she kept her strengths to pull through the lives oh her own children and the orphans and she stood up against harassment, all this truly remarkable I do wonder where she got her strengths from… was she somehow a believer of any religion? It’s not only the soldiers out in the fields who were fighting strongly , it’s also the women left behind who were fighting for their children’s survival.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 9 Days Ago

      I am she sure that it was at least in part her upbringing in the Christian faith that made her endure all these hardships. Thank you for kind comment, Cornelia!

      Like

  7. Edda · 10 Days Ago

    Peter, wie bewundere ich Frauen wie Deine Mutter! Es ist so eine furchtbare Zeit gewesen , Deine Mutter ( wie tausende andere ) war auf sich allein gestellt, Dein Vater in Gefangenschaft… Nicht nur für ihre eigenen Kinder hat sie gekämpft, sondern auch für vier andere!!! Und was hatte sie alles auszuhalten und durchzustehen. Eine wunderbare, starke Frau!
    Herzliche Grüße aus Sottmar!!🙋

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 9 Days Ago

      Ganze Bücher sind über den unbeschreiblichen Mut der Frauen und ihre unglaubliche Kraft zum Durchhalten geschrieben worden. Ich erinnere mich noch gut an das Buch “Die Stunde der Frauen”, das ich vor vielen Jahren mal gelesen habe. Meine Mutter hätte sich sehr über deine Zeilen gefreut, liebe Edda. Vielen Dank!

      Like

  8. Ann Coleman · 9 Days Ago

    Your mother, and the other German women who were in her situation, were so incredibly brave! I’m sure it must have felt overwhelming at times, and yet she endured and even provided you and your brother with a good role model. We all like to think that we would be brave and resourceful in the face of so much adversity, but most of us are fortunate enough never to have to find out. Your mother faced the test and won…..and I know how proud you must be!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 9 Days Ago

      I’d wish my mother could read your praise of all the women who went through all these trials and tribulations at the end WW2, Ann.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Steve Schwartzman · 8 Days Ago

    By coincidence, just yesterday on a National Geographic cable television channel we watched a one-hour program about the aftermath of World War II that included a segment on the mistreatment of various ethnic groups in eastern Europe, including German civilians in Poland and Czechoslovakia. All the more power to your mother for having come through it okay. What you said about the fondness of Russian soldiers for children is new to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · 7 Days Ago

      I subscribe to the NG channel on youtube. I wonder if this documentary will be uploaded for viewing here in Canada.

      Like

  10. kopfundgestalt · 7 Days Ago

    Russian officers had a heart for the plight of little children.
    Good to know!
    Thank you Peter!

    Liked by 1 person

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