Norbert Werner Visits the ‘Golden West’

My Travels to the West in 1955 and 1987

(Chart IV – III, IV)

Contributed by Norbert Werner

Part I

Born in the year of the founding of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) I have been living here up to its collapse and beyond. How many can claim to have gone through the beginning and end of a state?! It is well known that we citizens lived here in the GDR well protected, isolated, and screened off from the rest of the world. Travels to only a very few countries were permitted in those days.

Paul Wener and family 1956

Elsbeth, Paul, Norbert and Christian Werner 1956

I vaguely remember that during my early childhood my mother, Elsbeth, and I were allowed to visit her parents in Velbert, West Germany. That was definitely before the building of the Berlin Wall. My brother Christian asserts that it must have been in 1955, because during that time he had to go to a children’s home across the street from where we lived at Reinhardsbrunner Street.

1

Our House in Gotha

One thing will always remain in my memory of our visit. On the bookcase shelf in the living room was on prominent display the 20-volume encyclopedia. Later on, I found out that my father had mailed the books in separate parcels, partly using different return addresses, to his parents-in-law, who had to leave the heavy items behind at their flight in 1954 (Read more in bieneklopp.com).

On our return trip West German border officials thoroughly examined our papers. The reason for their curiosity was that they were puzzled by my father’s name (Paul Werner), which they had come across somewhere in our transit papers. At the time there was a high-ranking member of the East German government by the name of Paul Verner! This was my first visit to the West.

In Part II I will report about my second journey in 1987.

Karl Klopp and His Great-grandson Maxim

My Grandfather and Our Family (Chart I – V,VI)

Contributed by Johanna Pasdeloup

Even though Karl, my grandfather, is turning 86 this year, he still enjoys playing ball with his great-grandchildren Alice and Maxim. On our family photo little Maxim does not care about sitting still. He has better things to do and reaches out for Alice’s cheek.

Research at the Arrow Lakes Historical Society

A Wealth of Information on Fauquier, BC

Today I paid my second visit to the Arrow Lakes Historical Society in Nakusp. I dropped in at their spacious room on the second floor of the library building to which it is conveniently connected.

The purpose was to find out what resources would be available for the menu item ‘Our Community’ on this blog. Two things impressed me very much: the friendly and helpful staff, Rosemarie Parent and Kyle Kusch, and an abundance of material for my research on Fauquier. There is very little information on the Internet. Wikipedia has less than half a dozen lines on our community with a brief reference to its namesake Frederick George Fauquier.

Kyle like the week before located all the relevant binders on the shelves of the of the archival section and laid them out on the table for me to look through. One binder that contained newspaper clippings on the present and former residents of Fauquier caught my immediate attention. Kyle opened the Klopp files for me. Apart from a reward ceremony, in which I had been honored for 20 years of service for the Arrow Lakes School District, I discovered the newspaper article on our son Richard winning a $1500 scholarship for outstanding academic achievement at Nakusp High School in 1987.

This discovery really fired me up to take a closer look. From that moment on I copied many pages using my digital camera. And while I was doing it, I caught glimpses of a legacy of so many remarkable people that had helped shape Fauquier during the past 100 years or so. Armed with all this information, I will endeavor on my next post to explain why our little community has such a strange French name that outsiders have trouble pronouncing it properly.

Arrow Lakes Historical Society Building

Arrow Lakes Historical Society Building

Chapter 2 of the P. and G. Klopp Story

Chapter 2

The Plan

A goal without a plan is just a wish.  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

One day while cleaning up the closet in our spare bedroom, I came across half a dozen boxes overflowing with photos, documents and letters. Although some items, especially those bundled together and secured with elastic bands, were in a fairly recognizable chronological order, most were in a state of extreme disarray. Having endeavored to bring order to chaotic situations throughout my thirty years of teaching, I immediately felt the need to peruse, sort, and arrange this long forgotten wealth of family information. A formidable task lay before me. What could I do, when I had already filled my waking hours with must-do activities? To prioritize is the name of the game. Oh, how I hate this word, even though it is derived from my beloved ancient language Latin! Something ‘prior’ is something that comes before else. It became obvious to me that sorting hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and papers would be very time-consuming and would be strictly an indoor activity for the long, dreary winter months, when my only outdoor jobs would be splitting and stacking firewood, shovelling snow and knocking off sheets of ice off the roof.

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