Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 25

My Sister’s Ordeal

Part 3

[Here I must insert a paragraph gleaned from the City of Erfurt website which throws some additional light on the miracle of survival of my brother and sister who lived for a while in that city in Thuringia: “How close Erfurt escaped such an inferno as the city of Dresden had suffered in February, however, no one suspected, right to the top of the Nazi officials. In view of the relocation of armaments factories, Reich authorities and the military to Thuringia, the British in particular pressed for a massive bombing of the Erfurt traffic junction. The attack was initially scheduled for April 2nd and was then postponed twice. On April 4, the Royal Air Force was to launch a double attack on Erfurt and Nordhausen. 376 bombers were standing on the tarmac that morning alone for Erfurt. While the city in the southern Harz had to lament thousands of victims and the total destruction of its old town a few hours later, Erfurt remained unscathed. What happened? The US ground forces under General George S. Patton were at this time already moving towards Erfurt from Gotha, so that the Americans were afraid of bombs being dropped on their own soldiers and literally stopped the British  at the last minute.” I searched for the location of the street where my uncle lived and found that is was located very close to the city centre and the railway station. It would have meant certain death for my uncle, aunt and Erika and Adolf]. 

Cathedral of Erfurt Germany

And it was decided that Adolf and I were to join Mother in southwest Germany. The necessary papers arrived and we were on our way. The train took us close to the border and we walked the rest of the way. Two Russian border guards saw us coming and questioned us. After studying our valid papers allowing us to pass, they just tore them up. We were stunned at such injustice, after all we were 15 (Adolf) and 13 years old myself. The soldiers shooed us off, one of them pointing at his gun, in case we had any ideas of returning. We left seeking shelter behind a haystack and began to weigh our options on what to do next. Adolf wanted to return to Erfurt, but I would have none of it. I picked up my stuff carefully avoiding the guardhouse. Now a steady rain had begun. Soon I heard my brother’s footsteps behind me and I was much relieved. I don’t remember how long we walked. It seemed like a long time. By the time we got to a small railway station, we were exhausted, yet very much relieved that we were in the West. Two French border guards approached us demanding to see our papers, – no wonder, we looked like runaways. Adolf handled the situation quite well and we were allowed to board the train.

Nuremberg Germany

In Nuremberg we found the Red Cross Refugee Camp, where we received food and shelter. As we were out of money, discussing our next move, a woman interrupted us handing Adolf a bill that would cover our train fare to Meßkirch. Several kilometres more on foot and we arrived in Rohrdorf. What a relief for all of us to join our mother and the two youngest brothers again after such a long separation!

20 comments

  1. Shepherd Cathy · December 4

    Thankful you could be together again.

    Like

  2. Amy · December 4

    Amazing story, Peter. It’s so hard to imagine being so young, so scared, and so brave. And yes, it is fortunate that Erfurt did not get bombed the way Dresden did. If someone from another planet ever came to earth and saw what we’ve done to each other—Hiroshima, Dresden, the concentration camps—they’d like blow up earth as a deadly threat to the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · December 5

      This is a good time to reflect. I believe all people yearn for peace. Yet, there is so little of it on our planet. Let us not lose hope, Amy. For if we do, everything is lost.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amy · December 5

        I agree, Peter. Hope and gratitude are so important in these scary times.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Labby · December 4

    Gott sei Dank ist alles gut gegangen. Viele Grüße nach Kanada. Wolfgang

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ruth · December 4

    Amazing life! What it must have felt like to be reunited.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stella, oh, Stella · December 4

    That can send one a shudder down the spine. First of all the escape from being killed by a hair’s width at Erfurt, but also the behaviour of the Russian boarder guards. Your sister was just as brave as your mother, and she was the younger in that situation. The women of your family are/were absolutely plucky!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · December 5

      I’d wish my mother would be able to read your praise.She passed away on her 95th birthday. Have a great weekend, Birgit!

      Like

  6. Steve Schwartzman · December 5

    Do you have more information about how Adolph convinced the two French border guards to let them through, given that the Russian border guards had torn up their papers?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · December 6

      I’d wish I could ask my brother Adolf. Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly in 1989. A flu virus had attacked his heart muscles. The doctor in charge had diagnosed his condition as caused by the common flu. Too sad!

      Like

  7. Anna Sale · December 5

    Hello Peter! I found some information regarding ‘Vaki’ Batik Art on an earlier post on your site. Yesterday I acquired 4 large scale GORGEOUS Vaki batiks. I really wish I knew more about them. Yours is the only site I can find with information. I would post pics here but don’t see the option to do so. I would love any further info you may have on these…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · December 6

      After Bill Laux passed away his Batik work was donated to the Fauquier Cummunication Centre. In fact, all his literary works, research papers and books are now housed there. For further information you may want to contact Al Brown, who is in charge of the FCC. You can reach him via Facebook searching for Al Brown Fauquier BC. Thank you for your interest, Anna!

      Like

  8. Ann Coleman · December 5

    That was such a close call…and amazing that the city of Erfurt was spared, and thus saved your brother and sister as well. And that must have been terrifying with the Russian soldiers tore up their papers. I can’t even imagine the courage your siblings must have had to get through this situation, and I’m so thankful that they were finally reunited with your mother. This is such a compelling story, thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · December 6

      I am so grateful to my siblings who provided their story for my blog. Thank you, Ann, for your kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. kopfundgestalt · December 6

    Quite a Story to say the least.
    And again: a helpful Hand cared for you when it mattered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kopfundgestalt · December 8

      The picture Nuremberg Germany reminds me on a visit exactly 49 years ago, same place where we took a picture.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ankur Mithal · December 20

    Miraculous!

    Liked by 1 person

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