Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and His Family – Part 23

Report by Peter’s Sister Lavana (Erika}

The war came to an end with Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 8th, 1945. But nothing changed in Mother’s life for more than a year until early in the summer of 1946 when she was expelled along with millions of other Germans from her homeland. In a well-calculated program of ethnic cleansing all German nationals were forced to leave in order to make room for the Polish people who had been displaced in turn by the Russians in their eastern provinces. Thus, the Pomeranian lands that had once been settled and cultivated for a period of over 500 years by industrious German pioneers and farmers were put under permanent Polish administration and are now part of Poland. 

Arrival of Refugees in West Germany

By now I was a little over four years old. What I have been writing about myself, I had gleaned from Mother’s diary, from my second-generation cousin Eberhard Klopp, who did extensive research on the Klopp family going back some four hundred years, from Uncle Günther’s Kegler Chronicles and other sources. I am especially thankful and greatly indebted to my brothers Karl (died in 2019) and Gerhard  and my sister for their personal accounts of their incredible ordeals. I decided to insert them here as documents of a tumultuous period and as a testimony to their inner strength and courage without which they would not have survived.

Report by my sister Erika who adopted a new name Lavana Kilborn in the early 1980s

My Journey from 1943 to 1947

In the summer of 1943, my mother and I left by train for Hirschberg, where relatives of mine resided. As we lived in the country, it was necessary for me to move in order to obtain proper schooling. My host-family consisted of my widowed aunt Johanna, her parents and three cousins of mine, one of them being a girl, named Elisabeth and two boys. After a few days my mother returned home. 

Hirschberg near Breslau,  Lower Silesia

I got along very well with my new family, in particular with Elisabeth, who was of the same age as myself. We sat side by side in school and became good friends. The beautiful city had a large swimming pool, surrounded by grass to sunbathe, play ball etc. On weekends the family would go hiking in the nearby mountains, where the source of the mighty Elbe River is located. The song “Oh du schönes Riesengebirge, wo die Elbe heimlich rinnt …” still makes me melancholic, when I sing it. We also skied on wooden skis. There were no lifts then, but how much fun it was. All these activities were new and exciting experiences for me. 

To be continued …

11 comments

  1. That’s about the same time my grandfather and my aunt had left Koenigsberg, to take refuge at my parents house in Munich, my mother had left Prussia, before the war, but getting finally married to my father in December 1942. I have so many photographs of my mother living in Koenigsberg and Stralsund. I am so very interested to follow your families history and thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · 2 Days Ago

      I am happy to hear that your grandfather and your aunt were lucky to get out of East Prussia. So many were not so lucky. Greetings from Canada!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Steve Schwartzman · 3 Days Ago

    That National Geographic television program I mentioned included the movement of Poles westward into Germany after World War 2 in response to the Russian push westward into Poland. I’ve searched for that program online but so far haven’t tracked it down.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy · 3 Days Ago

    It must have been awful for all of them to be separated like that. How old was your sister in 1943? Thanks for sharing her perspective and memories.

    Like

    • Peter Klopp · 2 Days Ago

      My sister was barely 11 years old and was severely traumatized by the horrific things she had witnessed at the end of WW2.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amy · 1 Day Ago

        I am so sorry. That’s just awful.

        Like

  4. Edda · 3 Days Ago

    Das zu lesen ist sehr interessant für mich,Peter!
    Die Tante Johanna in Hirschberg war meine Oma Hanna und ihre drei Kids meine beiden Onkel Hartmut und Jürgen und Elisabeth meine Mutti , mit der sich Erika so gut verstanden hat. Erika hatte uns, als ich noch ein Kind war, übrigens mal in der ehemaligen DDR besucht, da haben wir auch noch ein Foto von ihr mit uns vier Kindern, meinen Eltern und unserem Schäferhund..☺
    Das erwähnte Schwimmbad in Hirschberg erinnert mich an ein Foto ,auf dem meine Mutti mit ihrem Opa Ludwig, meinem Uropa also , zu sehen ist…
    Viele Grüße aus Sottmar!🙋

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Klopp · 2 Days Ago

      Ja, das Foto hattet ihr mir mal geschickt. Es ist ein sehr schönes Familienbild. Ich hatte es meiner Schwester weitergereicht. Doch sie hat Probleme mit ihrer Vergangenheit und hat nicht darauf reagiert. Sie hat übrigens ihren Namen zu Lavana Kilborn geändert, um sich von der Klopp-Kegler zu distanzieren. Schade! Vielen Dank für eure Mail! Bald schicke ich wieder einige Fotos. Gruß! Peter.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ann Coleman · 1 Day Ago

    I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for both your mother and your sister to be separated. I look forward to reading more about your sister’s story!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kopfundgestalt · 1 Day Ago

    Bin auch interessiert, wie es weitergeht.

    Einem Nachbar von mir habe ich einst über googlestreet Einblick in seine frühere Heimat gegeben.

    Vertreibung begegnete ich auch in Neugablonz.
    Die Erfahrungen spielen auch in der 3. Generation eine Rolle.

    Like

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