Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) – Part 4

Wedding Bells and Return to Agriculture

With assistance from his Freikorps organization, Ernst Klopp continued his training in agriculture. In 1923 we find him working in the Magdeburg area. From 1927 onward, he worked as administrator at Neuhof (former Pomerania) in the Schlochau County, at the estate of his sister Anna and brother-in-law Ludwig von Waldenfels.

Ernst Klopp circa 1927

In the fall of 1927 after the sale of the Neuhof property, Ernst found temporary employment at an estate in Quastenberg near Burg Stargard. [photo wiki]. In 1928, he moved into the family hotel of his sister Jula and and her husband Friedrich Steuer in Diensdorf at Lake Scharmützel.

In the same year on June 5, he married Erika Klara Else Kegler, who lived in Stolpmünde, Pomerania, 20 Willan Street. Erika Kegler (my mother) was born on March 24, 1899 in Grünewald, Neustettin County (Pomerania). She was the daughter of the Protestant pastor Carl Kegler (September 22, 1860 – June 15, 1919) and his wife Elisabeth Kegler ( August 13, 1868 ß September 14, 1948). Her forefathers had lived in villages around Obornik north of Posen (now Polish Poznan).

Carl and Elisabeth Kegler, Grünewald, Neustettin County (Pomerania)

On March 6, 1929, Ernst and Erika,s eldest son wad born in Stolpmünde (now Polish Ustka) at the Baltic Sea. In the same year through his wife’s family connections, Ernst was able to link up with the Protestant Inner Mission and its institutions in Belgard, Pomerania (now Polish Bialogard). The complex together with a large-sized farming area stretched in northwestern direction on either side of the Köslin Stree on the road to Kolberg.

My mother Erika Klopp circa 1927

Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) – Part 3

Chaos and Violence in Berlin

My Father’s Involvement in the Freikorps

It is not certain in which year Ernst Klopp arrived in Berlin. He probably participated in the counter-revolutionary activities of the Freikorps deployments in the capital city. In January of 1919 street battles took place, as well as general strikes of all sorts, and at the beginning of March, a major attack of the Freikorps against the Berlin proletariate shook the nation. The Reich defence minister Notke issued the martial-law order, “Each person caught with weapons is to be shot immediately!” Ernst’s sister was indeed exercising a good portion of wisdom to tell her younger brother to throw away his gun.

Communist Spartacists Taking Control in Berlin – Wikipedia Public Domain

BBC BiteSize provides the following historical background information: During 5 – 12 January 1919, 50,000 members of the post-World War One Communist Party, known as the Spartacists, rebelled in Berlin, led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. The government was saved when it armed bands of ex-soldiers, known as the Freikorps, who defeated the Spartacist rebels. In the aftermath, communist workers’ councils seized power all over Germany, and a Communist People’s Government took power in Bavaria. By May 1919 the Freikorps had crushed all of these uprisings.

Street Fights in Berlin Wikipedia Public Domain

At the mass demonstration against the treaty of Versailles in 1920, army and FreiKorps soldiers caused a bloodbath. In March of the same year, the FreiKorps supported the Kapp-Coup. One year later, the last armed Freikorps attacks took place during the communist general strikes in Central Germany. The extent of Ernst Klopp’s involvement in all of these events remains shrouded in darkness.

It is likely that a few years later Ernst Klopp received assistance from his old Freikorps connections, which through work communities (Arbeitsgemeinschaften) and work camps (Arbeitslager) provided shelter and employment to the old comrades up to the years 1924/1925 and in some cases even later on Pomeranian and Mecklenburg estates.

Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) – Part 1

My Father’s Childhood Years

Ernst was the sixteenth and last child of Friedrich and Emma Klopp. Within the short timespan from March till June 1900, four fateful events occurred in Wolmirstedt. In March the eldest son Friedrich (1875 – 1946) married Marie-Luise (née Weihe, 1880 – 1924), who was six months pregnant. At the end of May, Peter Friedrich Klopp (1852 – 1900) passed away. He was good-looking, handsome, slightly obese, and a giant of a man. He was generally of a cheerful disposition and was not disinclined to an occasional drink in the genial company of like-minded buddies every once in a while. 

In the middle of May not long before my father’s birth, he was riding home from a hunting party. It appears that he often left direction and speed to the discretion of his well-trained horse. Maybe on this chilly night, he had had just one drink too many. Falling asleep on horseback is never a good idea, especially when you are in that cozy state of inebriation. Inevitably, he slipped off the saddle, and the horse trod home without him. Early next morning travellers found him lying half-conscious on the roadside. He was sober by now but suffered from a severe case of hypothermia. Soon after, he acquired a kidney infection, from which he was unable to recover. He died on the 26th of June 1900 at the age of 48. 

Photo Credit: Museum Wolmirstedt

At the beginning of June, the first child of the eldest son was born. Her name was Frieda (1900 – 1979). Finally, on June 28, 1900, the fatherless Ernst was born. Thus, Frieda and her uncle Ernst were of the same age. The two have never met again in later years.

These intersecting both joyful and painful events happened during those four months in the crowded conditions of the house in Wolmirstedt. The expulsion of the Klopp son Ferdinand (1879 – 1952) and his departure to the United States also occurred during the first half of 1900. All this wore down the family’s physical and psychological ability to cope. The acquisition of the mill Wehrmühle near Zieglitz by the forty-year-old widow appears almost like a desperate attempt to gain her freedom and independence from all these troubles at home.

Friedrich Ernst Klopp – The Sixteenth and Last Child of Friedrich and Emma Klopp

My Father – Friedrich Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964)

Introduction Part I

While translating parts from the family chronicles written by my cousin Eberhard Klopp, my main focus was on rendering an accurate translation. My personal interest in our family history and a deeply felt responsibility towards the Klopp branch and future descendants living in Canada provided me with the motivation and necessary persistence to delve into this laborious and time-consuming undertaking. With the exception of four aunts and my father Ernst Klopp, I did not get to know the other twelve children of my paternal grandparents Emma Christiane and Peter Friedrich Klopp. 

As I was writing down the wealth of ancestral information of Eberhard Klopp’s book containing more than 200 pages in small print and then publishing it on my blog one uncle and one aunt at a time, I gained deep insight into the causes of what makes a family function in harmony and of what makes it fall apart. Quite frankly, reading some of the stories shocked me so intensely that I hesitated for a long time to publish them online.

My readers, who read the posts on my nephew Georg von Waldenfels, a Nazi SS officer, may understand as to why I was tempted to leave out this embarrassing chapter of our family history. In the 1930s many people were misled by the promises made by the Nazi propaganda for a more prosperous and stronger Germany after having suffered through the worst economic depression in German history. Actually, at least initially, their hopes and aspirations were being fulfilled. While millions of people had been struggling to make ends meet, every person willing to work was now gainfully employed and able to put bread and butter on the table. They had no idea that the Third Reich that was supposed to last a thousand years would lie in ruins so quickly and millions of soldiers and civilians would be sacrificed on the altar of an insane ideology.

Title Page of the Klopp Family Chronicle

 

Otto Klopp – Friedrich and Emma’s Fifteenth Child

Otto Klopp (1898? – 1915)

Killed in Action in World War I

It was very difficult to obtain any concrete information on Otto Klopp, as no birth and place records were found. It is not even certain if mother Emma had taken him with her to her new residence in Elsenau, West Prussia in 1903 or 1904. In any case, he was mentioned among family circles as a 15-year or 16-year old in Wolmirstedt.

Hermann Weihe (1888 – 1947), the brother of his sister-in-law Marie-Luise Klopp (née Weihe) of Zielitz, arranged a job for Otto at a farm in Farsleben near Zielitz before 1914. There Otto in all likelihood started an apprenticeship program in agriculture. He was, therefore, the only one of the Klopp-Bauer children with whom mother Emma maintained a connection with the otherwise avoided Klopp-Weihe family. The author, Eberhard Klopp, offers the following explanation. Emma tried very hard to keep financial and family responsibilities within a manageable scope. For that reason Otto had to be taken care off in Farsleben.

At Wolmirstedt, Otto was presumably drafted into the German army to fight on the Russian front where he was killed in the 1915 offensive. As cause for his ‘hero’s death, several events during that year in World War I could be considered: his involvement in the Winter battle of February March 1915 in Masuria, East Prussia. Furthermore, he could have lost his life during the establishment of a new front and munition line of the Tenth army northeast of Suwalki. Finally, in connection with an attack at Kowno, he could have been killed during an enemy counterattack in the summer operation against Russia in July or August 1915. Otto Klopp received a shot through the lungs and bled to death in a wire entanglement.

A death notification similar to the one above was sent to Emma Klopp, Otto’s mother..

Meta Emma Klopp – Friedrich and Emma’s Fourteenth Child – Part 7

Tante Meta
Aunt Meta with sister Anna von Waldenfels on the left

Meta’s Sunset Years

After the war, Vincenz and Meta Mülbert moved into an apartment on Maria-Theresia-Street 4. At the end of 1946 Meta offered to her sister-in-law Erika Klopp (1899 – 1994), mother of this blog writer, a first dwelling. Erika was a refugee, who had fled from Gutfelde near Znin via Belgard/Pomerania to Freiburg.

The close contacts with her sister Anna von Waldenfels were also kept alive. It was perhaps Meta, who provided for her nephew Georg von Waldenfels first insights and orientation about the residential construction opportunities in the nearby town of Stauffen, before he settled down there with his wife and family.

When Anna became a widow in 1954, Meta invited her sister, who was quite wealthy, but now very lonely without any close relatives left in Bavaria, to stay with her in Freiburg. Both devoted their time and love to the care of their ailing husband and brother-in-law Vincenz. He died on October 2, 1958, after a long and painful battle with cancer in the Freiburg apartment. He had reached the ripe age of 79. He was buried at the main cemetery on the left of the entrance hall on site 16.

From Freiburg Meta and Anna undertook the occasional trip, such as visiting their brother Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964), this blog writer’s father, who had been living in Michelbach/Vogelsberg since 1957. They also travelled to Lake Titi in the Black Forest shortly before Anna’s granddaughter Carola’s departure for America.

When Anna von Waldenfels died in November 1967, Meta was on her own. Nobody of the Klopp family lived in close proximity. The stepchildren of Mülbert’s first marriage put the woman, who had converted to the Catholic faith into a Protestant home. There the lady died at the age of 86 on January 16, 1984. Next to her husband, whom she had survived by 26 years, Meta found her final resting place.

A post describing my visit as a child to Tante Meta in Freiburg can be found here.