Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 26

Report Written by Peter’s Brother Karl (1929 – 2019)

Preface

How was it possible that parents and children were going to flee from different places? Father Ernst Klopp had been ordered from our original residence in the Pomeranian county of Belgard into the Land of the Warthe to hand over expropriated Polish estates to Baltic Germans, who had been resettled primarily from Latvia. My brother Adolf and I were boarding with a family in Belgard to attend a secondary school. From there began on March 3rd, 1945 the flight into a westerly direction.

To what degree do memories committed to paper reflect the truth? This document limits itself to the presentation of direct impressions and experiences and sparsely delves into explanations. Therefore it avoids them unless absolutely necessary.

Due to the regrettable loss of a diary that I had kept since my early childhood days, most likely lost in a hay barn on the trek to the West, it is impossible for the sequence of events to be authentic.

Refugees 1945 – Photo Credit: The Conversation

Also subsequent inserts of military and historical value, or attempts of this nature were unproductive. The Wehrmacht reports, which one can read in the archives, and the historical works by authors based on the former – as far as they could be controlled by personal, absolutely authentic facts – lagged behind the events and even jumped ahead of them.

Memories of the Flight (March 1945)

The Incredible Journey

On March 3rd at 6 o’clock in the evening ‘Tank Alert’ rang out in Belgard. Why did the defence and party headquarters choose the evening to evacuate the civilian population? The family Meißner-Kulmann, two women, five little girls and the Klopp brothers moved under the howling sounds of sirens and the wild perpetual ringing of our church to the designated area, where transportation facilities were supposed to be ready, which was not the case. Without any further discussions the group marched in the direction to the exit road leading to Kolberg in order to reach the coast. Halfway there we stopped in the middle of the night for shelter in the village of Leikow. Some luggage was in the handcart, on which also the children were sitting. Soon we realized that the family did not want to go farther. I was sent back the following evening to Belgard on a bicycle that I had been pushing to get a briefcase with documents belonging to one of their grown-up boys out of the house at the Schidlitz. In us grew the decision to separate from the family, who attempted to stop us by saying, “Fine Hitler boys you are!” I should mention that the march of the trek led us past familiar native places of our early childhood, which slid by in the dark night like shapeless outlines. We recognized how close the front line was by the fire in the village of Lülfitz, which was located north of the Kolberg road, which led in a westerly direction to the coast. In that direction stood also a train recognizable by the stream of sparks: Certainly the railroad line had already been cut.

I always liked to tell that early on my birthday I still got a cake – whether Frau Meißner had baked it in the simple quarters in Leikow or in her own oven in Belgard, I did not find out. March 6th was the day of separation from my room and board mother, who later had walked back to her house in Belgard with her daughters and grandchildren.

To be continued …

21 Replies to “Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 26”

    1. This is a good observtion, Robert. It seems to me that women find comfort in baking during difficult times. My wife has been baking Christmas cakes and cookies more than ever before. And our children and grandchildren cannot even come and visit us and eat all these treats.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I can’t imagine being that young and that brave. And your brother, like you, has a wonderful gift for language (I assume that you translated? Or did he write in English?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My brother Karl, who passed away last year at the age of 90, had a good knowledge of the Englsih language, but he submitted his report in German. Yes, I did translate his amazing story for the blog. Have a great weekend, Amy!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Seeing one’s house burn down is a horrible event in one’s life. But at least your family escaped and managed to get to the relative safety they found in West Germany. So many people didn’t.

      Like

  2. What a shame that your brother’s early diary disappeared, and so much specific information with it. I looked up Belgard on a map to see where it is. In the process of searching for it I found there’s a Belgard paving company in San Antonio and a Belgard Heights in Dublin. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence of sounds, but the name looks like it could come from Old French and mean ‘beautiful view.’ It was hardly that for your brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Peter, Especially in light of your comment to kopfundgestalt, one thing that strikes me is that sometimes children see things more clearly than adults who can lose sight of the big picture. It amazes me that Karl and Adolph had the courage separate from the adults and continue on their own. What a courageous (and probably wise) decision!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a dangerous and life-threatening journey it was you will see in the following episodes, Des. You are right about your assessment of the young people still being aware of what is really important in life and that is life itself.

      Liked by 1 person

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