Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 27

The Two Brothers Karl and Adolf (16 and 13 years old respectively)

Karl’s Report Part 2

Halfway on the road to Kolberg we saw my classmate Ulrich Schulz (Uschu), with whom I had committed many a prank. He was wearing a bandage around his head. We exchanged a few words, but I have forgotten, what he had said about his injury. In the late afternoon of my birthday we arrived in Kolberg. We had entered the city without any problems. Earlier it had been declared a fortress and since then was considered (also according to army reports) surrounded. We hurried to the harbour, which we also knew very well and the seashore, because we had often traveled with the family or alone to this summer resort at the sea. There also existed relatives and a friendly family. The pictures of the German Baltic seaport of 1945 are well known through TV programs. We too saw the line-ups at the ships. We did not take long to think. We decided to march along the coastline. The great bridge at the Persante river was still intact and so we tried to get to the southern part (Maikuhle) of the city, where the friendly Pascheke family lived, who however had already fled. The city of Kolberg was already being fired at by artillery. The Soviets began the encirclement and assault of this also historically important place.

Kolberg March 1945
Kolberg March 1945

Once in a while we had a chance to travel a short distance on military vehicles. Since we had only our schoolbags filled with provisions on us, we were able to quickly climb on board. How nervous some people became, shall be demonstrated by the following example. A woman accused us of having stolen her suitcase filled with valuables. At a beach section we examined a boat that had been pulled up onto the shore as to its sea worthiness, but were quickly distracted by other things. Rides and marches changed according to the situation and opportunity. Finally we were forced to continue on land and a short time later even in an easterly direction. Thus, it happened that we saw a location twice: once on the march back and then again in the planned direction to the Oder estuary. The explanation for this is that the front lines were moving back and forth, often there were even wandering army pockets.

Lighthouse Kolberg Today
Lighthouse Kolberg Today – Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

On such march in darkness and blowing snow we saw at the roadside an abandoned hearse. Since we were very tired, we simply lay down on the seats to catch a few winks. Whether it was instinct or battle noise, we left the protective shelter and went into the next village and asked the Pomeranian farmer to stay overnight. He did not want to let us into the barn saying, “You will set it on fire!” He offered us the pigsty and so we spent the remainder of the night right next to the box that housed a well-fed sow. We gave her our empty sardine cans, which she was licking and chewing all the time. When we came by the farm the next day on our way west to the Oder estuary, it was engulfed in flames. Now the farmer had lost everything! An hour later we saw the hearse. It had been totally torn to pieces by gunshot.

To be continued …

17 comments

  1. Stella, oh, Stella · December 18

    Your brothers were quite resourceful, I must say, and quite lucky as well. It must have been agony for your mother not to know what had become of her other children.

    Liked by 2 people

    • kopfundgestalt · December 18

      Yes that’s true. Even if you could go through it undamaged, sometimes you didn’t know what was going on with your loved ones.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. kopfundgestalt · December 18

    It was like running the gauntlet.
    So many events and so much danger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · December 19

      And on top of it all, my brother Karl who had just turned sixteen was in danger of being drafted into the army.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kopfundgestalt · December 19

        You know, sixteen year old boys died in 45 in an last effort to save our home-village. I once wrote about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · December 19

        Indeed, I remember this post well. It was totally insane to send children into war.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy · December 18

    It’s hard to imagine two young teenage boys enduring all this. I had to Google Map Kolberg, now Kolobrzeg, to see where it was. Can you remind me where you and your mother and sister were at that time and where you all started out from? I’d like to map out the places to see how far you all had traveled from home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · December 19

      After my brothers Karl and Adolf had left Belgard (Bialogard), my mother arrived there in search of them a few months later with me and my brother Gerhard. She stayed there with friends until they were all being expelled in 1947. As reported in a previous post my sister Erika escaped with relatives from the Breslau (Wrocław) area in Silesia in February 1945. At the time of my elder brothers’ flight, you can see, Amy, the family members were all far apart from each other with my father doing forced labour in the Soviet Union.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy · December 19

        I will map this out. I bet your readers would also be interested in maps showing where you all were. Thanks, Peter!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amy · December 19

        OK, I went back to your earlier posts and entered all the place names into Google Maps. Quite a distance you all were separated and traveled to be together. And I didn’t even enter your father’s location in Russia. Or your final destination. Amazing. https://goo.gl/maps/WhfQA7CgejwsyyKUA

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · December 19

        The final destination was the village of Rohrdorf near Messkirch between the Danube and Lake Constance. Indeed that was a long distance to travel.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amy · December 20

        I’ll add it to my map. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pure Glory · December 18

    War so often separates and kills refugees. Your brothers were definitely protected by God during their search for safety!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ankur Mithal · December 20

    “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger,” they say. But who cares if it makes you stronger or not. When you are going through, survival is all you care for. Crazy times you lived through Peter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · December 20

      Being only three years old at the time when my family went through these horrific events I do not remember any of them and merely wrote down the reports of my older brothers and sister.

      Liked by 1 person

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