Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 34

The Writing on the Wall

Who can read the signs, when the fabric of family unity begins to unravel, when the glue that once held the clan together breaks loose under the load of stressful times? It is easy to answer such questions as we are looking back more than sixty years into past events. But at the time when the eldest son left the house, it appeared perfectly normal. After all, grown-up children with a few exceptions have always abandoned their nests to assert their independence and eventually have a family of their own. Yet, with hindsight we can probe a little deeper below the appearance of normalcy. Why would Adolf, the second oldest son, choose to immigrate to Canada, which turned out like the promised land, which however he did not know at the time he made the decision to emigrate? Or was it not rather the desire to escape his financial obligation to support the little farm in Rohrdorf with his meagre income? And why would Gerhard, the second youngest son, follow in Adolf’s footsteps if not for the same reasons. But most importantly, we children had no clue about the strain that the failed farming venture exerted on our parents. Ernst Klopp, once responsible as manager and director for a 3000 ha farming operation, utterly failed in turning the puny farmstead into a profitable venture. The psychological blow to my father must have been devastating.

Haren, Ems Bridge – Photo Credit:

In 1954, Father in search for meaningful employment moved to Haren at the Ems River in Northwest Germany. He worked in the office of the weaving factory of his nephew Georg von Waldenfels. The manufacturing plant was primarily producing cloth which was in high demand at the time. The newly created West German army (Bundeswehr) turned out to be a lucrative market for the son of Anna von Waldenfels. Unfortunately, Ernst Klopp and his meddlesome employer’s mother-in-law did not get along very well. The friction often resulted in unpleasant scenes, which wore him out and caused him to leave in 1957.


In the meantime, my mother Erika Klopp had taken on a supervisory position in the kitchen facility of a senior citizen home in the town of Rudersberg northeast of Stuttgart. Her sister Maria Kegler, an elementary school teacher at the small village of Brünen near the city of Wesel took the 12-year old Peter under her wings. From there, he took the bus to attended the all-boys high school in Wesel, a city that ten years after the war had still many parts lying in ruins.

Lower Rhine Bridge at Wesel – Photo Credit: Thomas Biermann Pixabay

Rebuilding the city in the mid 1950s was in full in swing and the pressure of the extreme housing shortage was beginning to ease. Through some fortuitous connections, aunt Maria, also endearingly called Mieze, was able to find an apartment. An invitation went out to her sister Erika in Rudersberg to run her household in exchange for free roam and board. So it happened that in 1955, while Father was still doing office work at the cloth factory in the Ems Country, Peter’s mother finally found a place she could call her home again.

12 thoughts on “Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 34

  1. Although Adolf may not have known about Canada in much detail—it’s a huge country, after all, with differences from one region to another—didn’t he at least know that as a prosperous country and as one of the winners in the war it would offer many more opportunities than war-ravaged Germany?

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  2. So when you and your sister decided to emigrate to Canada, you knew from your brothers about the possibilities there. I mean they had been there for several years already, before you emigrated.

    I am glad that your aunt gave your mother a home again, and you could be with her again as well.

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  3. Despite the difficulties faced by all your family members, a golden thread runs through it all. Provision, family helping, no one homeless, and better days ahead. God’s love is the golden thread throughout that kept the members of your family despite the hardships of post war Germany.

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      • You are welcome, Peter! Truly, God turns what seems evil to good. In the midst of the darkness, he has his light shine. His blessings go to a 1,000 generations for those who serve him. You have some very committed Christians in your maternal and paternal bloodlines who were righteous and prayed for their generations to come. You and you, your siblings, and all your family were supernaturally preserved. I have seen God do the same in my family, despite what looks like disaster, he turns it to good. Blessings of great courage!

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  4. That must have been so hard for you as well as your parents. I did map out these locations. It seems that moving to Wesel brought your mother closer to where your father was living than she had been in Rudersberg. But given the title to your next post (which I’ve not yet read), I am guessing that the geographic distance was not the only problem.


  5. Children leaving home and hearth is a story that plays out again and again now. My parents lived in the same house with my grandparents as long as they (the grandparents) were alive. And it was not unusual. My father and grandfather were in the same profession too, they were both lawyers. And what a privilege it was to live with grandparents in the same house. One of my regrets is that my children never lived with their grandparents. But that is the way it is, I suppose.

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    • Some of the old traditions with a strong emphasis on family ties are rapidly disappearing. It is a world-wide trend. I remember my mother telling me how everyone in her family was playing an important role and contributed to the welfare of entire clan.

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