Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 40


At the time of Father’s sudden and unexpected passing, death had given me in quick succession several reminders of our transitory life here on earth. In the fall of 1963, I was serving in the signal corps of the German Nato Forces in Bavaria. On November 22 at the Maxhof army barracks, I listened to the American Forces Network (AFN Munich). The DJ suddenly interrupted the Country and Western music and, after a short pause, announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. Later that night, AFN reported that he had died of his gunshot wounds. I was shocked by the news of this tragedy, as I had taken a liking to this great man for his courage to force the Soviet Union to remove their missiles out of Cuba. I liked the way he had publicly committed himself to the security of West Berlin. His famous statement, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner,’ will remain with me for as long as I live. Then, in January, our staff sergeant Wohl had a fatal accident when his VW beetle collided with a public transit bus on an icy hillside road in Feldafing. Three comrades and I accepted the sad task of becoming his pallbearers. I will never forget the widow’s heart-rending sobbing in the front pew when the officiating priest addressed her with a few consoling words. A couple of weeks later, almost if death intended to remind me again of its presence, I lent sixty marks to a friend so he could buy a train ticket to attend his grandmother’s funeral.

Then, on February 26, an order came for me to see the captain for an important message. A little puzzled and worried about this unusual event, I went to the captain’s office. After I sat down, he informed me with genuine regret that my father had died of a massive heart attack on the night of February 25. The officer granted me a five-day compassionate leave, effective immediately. Numbed by this horrific message, I could not respond with a single word. The captain, deliberately ignoring military protocol, shook hands with me and spoke kind words of condolences. 

Only a small number of family members, aunt Meta and Anna, Erna’s relatives and friends attended the funeral in Michelbach. I wrote and dedicated a poem in German to my dad, my best friend and helper. The poem ended with a line in Latin:

Viventium, non mortuorum misereor.

I feel sorry for the living, not the dead.

If Father were still living today, he would proudly look at his many descendants: five children, eleven grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. Perhaps one day, some of them will be interested in the fascinating story of their wonderful grandfather and great-grandfather Ernst Klopp. I hope that they will read it and get to know the roots of the Klopp branch of their family.

This book is available free of charge. If interested, leave a message in your comment.

My next project will be writing about my father-in-law, Walter Panknin, and his family.

29 thoughts on “Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 40

  1. You have done a wonderful job of honoring your father—his courage, his hard life, and his resilience.

    One comment—JFK was killed on November 22, 1963. I remember it vividly. I don’t know whether your 1964 date was a typo or perhaps a trick of memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for allowing us to read the story of your father’s life, Peter. I am in the middle of writing my StoryWorth memoirs, thanks to a Christmas present I received from my daughters. The project consists of answering one question a week for 52 weeks and then they publish your story. One of the StoryWorth questions I answered a few weeks ago was “Where were you when you heard that Kennedy was shot?”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter, your father definitely has a legacy in his descendants. Great job in giving him life and complexity. It is so good to know your roots. I am sure your family and the younger generations will find it interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes ! I had an uncle who compiled our family history on my mother’s side. I had the information but did not read it for some time. Then I became interested and read it. It gives me a greater understanding of my roots. Your descendants or maybe a few of them will be grateful for the history you have written.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dein Vater wäre sehr stolz auf seine vielen Nachkommen.Besonders aber auf Dich,Peter,denke ich.Du hast ihm durch Deine liebevollen Ausführungen ein für die Familie unvergessliches Andenken bewahrt..
    Wir würden sehr gern dieses Buch haben,wenn es möglich ist!
    Herzliche Grüße!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hallo, liebe Edda! Ich das Duplikat deines Kommentars gelöscht. Auch ihr seid auf meiner Liste für das elektronische Buch über meinen Vater und seine Familie. Schön, dass ihr noch Besuch haben könnt. Genießt die Tage mit Bine und Familie!


  5. Too many young people don’t think to elicit personal histories from aged relatives while they’re still with us. Your relatives are fortunate that you’ve put together such a detailed account of your family. Let’s hope it inspires others in your family to do likewise. I’d certainly enjoy having a copy of your book.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Tremendeous last words!
    The widow’s heart-rending sobbing, I can imagine.
    As my father had died I went into his room and sudenly out of nothing I had to cry heavily in the presence of my older brother….
    So I can understand your feelings, Peter!

    May I have the book, with a signature?!
    Warm greetings

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to lose your father so suddenly, especially on the heels of those other losses. But I am quite sure he would have been proud of you all, and most certainly of your efforts to write your family’s story down for future generations to read. I can’t think of a nicer way to pay tribute to him than that!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Peter, I feel honored to get to know your beloved father through your stories about his life. He certainly endured and accomplished a lot in his life time. And I think it is so wonderful that you carry on your entire families memories.
    I do clearly remember that day when John F. Kennedy was shot, my parents had just gotten a TV… Fernseher.

    Liked by 1 person

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