The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

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Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part XVI

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In a chaotic flight with lightning speed from Posen (Poznan), passing through his beloved Lagowitz, Georg von Waldenfels reached his wife’s home turf, the Münster province in the northwest of Germany and became a POW of the British Army. Ilse von Waldenfels, when approached for an interview by my cousin Eberhard Klopp, the author of the Klopp Family Chronicles, was very reluctant to share any information on her husband’s past. In her eyes more than 40 years later in 1996 Georg was ‘an insignificant subaltern officer, who did not play any special role in the SS. After the war he paid his tribute. We never talked about those bad years anymore.” She like many other Germans of her generation had buried and suppressed deep within her guilt-ridden psyche a considerable number of events of the Nazi era.

In the night from 28 to 29 January 1945 a certain SS general was passing through Panwitz and demanded the immediate evacuation. His urgent warning revealed that the Red Army would be at their doorsteps within just a few hours. Perhaps it was only the SS-Obersturmbannführer by the name of Georg von Waldenfels, who in his flight from Posen in the direction of Berlin had quickly warned his parents. As early as 1980 the author of this book in translation had received the following information in Trier from a reliable source: “Our all-rounded super-provisioner in France, a man from the nobility, Sepp Dietrich’s staff officer, succeeded before the arrival of the Russians in burning down Castle Lagowitz.”

Should von Waldenfels have really destroyed his very own NS-Headquarters and Castle Lagowitz with all its incriminating documents and evidence turning them into a heap of rubble and ashes? Eye witnesses can no longer be found. But the action in a time of perilous urgency fits perfectly within the overall frame of his mentality. Treacherous documents and correspondence of all sorts in the hands of the Russian or Polish authorities would have heralded a dangerous new beginning for Georg. If all these collected facts agree, the parents Anna and Ludwig von Waldenfels on the morning of their own flight from Panwitz may have seen Castle Lagowitz for the last time as a smoking and smouldering pile of ruins. Georg von Waldenfels has taken this particular piece of history with him into his grave.

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part XV

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More Promotions for Georg von Waldenfels

As noted earlier, Georg von Waldenfels had experienced a number of promotions in his officer’s career, quite unheard of and irregular in the German army, where advancements were based on military training and especially on merit on the battle field. The SS was, however, no regular army. On 1 July 1942, he was promoted to SS-Hauptsturmführer, somewhat equivalent to the upper rank of lieutenant  and in April 1943 to SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain).  Although von Waldenfels occupied the same ranks in another branch of the SS, he acquired them all over again in a more prestigious  division. Now under the protective umbrella of influential Sepp Dietrich he now became so-to-speak a ‘regular’ in the hierarchy of the Common SS. It is not surprising that after the war the Allies were facing an incomprehensible phenomenon within the hierarchal structure of the SS.They were unable to cope with all the confusing differences within the ranking system and ignoring them erroneously treated all cases the same. In May 1943, barely four weeks later, Georg was promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer (major).

In the spring 1944 there were definite signs that the idyllic life in the eastern province of Posen (Poznan) would come to an end.The commander Sepp Dietrich engaged on the western front arranged Georg’s transfer from the so-called ‘Common SS’ (Allgemeine SS) to the prestigious “Leibstandarte SS”. As support officer at the various battle locations after D-Day in France and Belgium he was never employed in a military function, but was responsible for providing food, drink and entertainment for his boss and his entourage. Georg must have experienced – obviously mostly far removed from the actual fighting – at least three of the four major battles, which took place after 6 June 1944.

The casino chef Georg von Waldenfels survived the dramatic weeks shortly before the Allied troops marched their troops into Paris away from the front lines in any of the numerous secure headquarters of the SS, which were mostly requisitioned hotels, residences and castles in and around Paris. Before the battle between Falaise and Caen, which ended in defeat and signalled the retreat of the SS units in August 1944, Georg, unsuitable for military duties, managed to be ordered back to Germany. By 1945 he acquired, no doubt with the help of some influential political ‘friends’, the rank of SS-Obersturmbannführer.

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part XII

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New Prospects on the Horizon

or Georg’s Unlimited Greed and Ambition

After the 27-year old von Waldenfels had left his high school in 1921 with the equivalent of a grade 10 education, he asserted later in a curriculum vitae that the November revolution of  1918 had ‘prevented him to take the highly desired officer’s career.’ Now the SS had raised hime to a high staff rank without even requesting proof of qualification at an officer’s training centre or military academy. Judged by his tone and tenor of his literary outpouring, Georg’s academic horizon corresponded to the one of his role model Sepp Dietrich, who according to statements made of SS officers was incapable to digest not even half-way the complexity of a military report. But in their Bavarian foolhardiness and wanton bravado they were very much alike. Even in their physical appearance, corpulent and of low stature they showed great similarities. Both were miles apart from the ideal type of an ‘aryan model of light.’ Georg had good reason for unlimited gratitude towards his benefactor. But by a hair he almost spoiled things with Sepp.

In March 1938, Hitler brought about the annexation and integration of Austria into the ‘Greater German Reich’. Within half a year the ‘Special Leader’ with the rank of an SS lieutenant embarked on surveying the ‘East Mark’ of Austria for new activities with his strong agricultural background. In 1938 Georg felt the time had come to get rid of the estate Lagowitz. Because of envy and a harsh letter writing campaign against Georg by NS party members at home, he wanted to move as far as away as possible.

In the summer of 1938 he found out through his network of connections about a very large ‘abandoned’ estate in Austria. A few days after the wedding von Waldenfels approached the SS very own ‘German Settlement Agency” (Deutsche Ansiedlungsgesellschaft -DAG), which had its head quarters in Berlin. At the office of director Richard Rücker he applied directly for the agricultural and industrial ownership of the Jewish family Gustav and Wilhelm Löw in Angern at the River March (Moravia).

The area contained more than 3,000 ha (about 7,400 acres) some 40 km southeast of Vienna. It was fertile and very productive land used for centuries for growing crops of grain, corn, sugar beets, potatoes, even vineyards. The industrial real estate consisted of an alcohol factory, refinery, a molasses-spirit facility, potash plant, pea shelling outfit, feed mixing centre, grain elevators and central workshops with seed research station. The mega estate was governed at the castle-like building complex, which served as residence for the administrator and his family.

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part X

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The Problem with Georg’s Ancestry Passport

Heinrich Himmler, the Reich’s SS leader, had decreed that all members of his organization had to produce evidence of their aryan ancestry in order to retain their rights and privileges of their membership in the SS. By a good portion of luck and conniving Georg von Waldenfels managed to establish a personal connection to the special SS elitist group, which was sworn in as the one and only bodyguard responsible for Hitler’s limb and life. This personal connection was no other than the leader of the bodyguard, Sepp Dietrich. Georg had calculated in wise foresight that he could use his like-minded wedding guest as an influential person in his attempt to conceal his Jewish ancestry.

Georg had been unable to provide sufficient evidence for his aryan descent for the officials in the department for racial questions in Berlin. They had no issues with his ‘pure aryan’ wife Ilse Jannink. Himmler, who personally took care of such questions, granted the marriage licence without any reservations. Yet, feelings of relief for Georg were premature. One cannot fail to notice on his family records the blue stamps behind the various names of his forefathers, indicating a negative response by the agency’s officials.

In addition, the data which Georg had submitted did not go farther back in time than his great-grandfather Friedrich Wilhelm Bauer born in1818 in Groß Ottersleben. A very suspicious gap remained in Georg’s records. Indeed, SS officers had to provide evidence for their aryan genetic background all the way back to 1750.

Also puzzling for the government race experts was the noble character of Ludwig von Waldenfels, who 12 years after Georg’s birth and one week after the wedding with Anna officially declared himself the father of this child. Obviously, such a declaration even in writing does not prove a blood line to the von Waldenfels family. Fortunately for Georg the officials did not investigate this matter any further.

In the meantime Anna von Waldenfels was sitting on pins and needles. Should she reveal the name of her son’s real father? Would such a revelation not make her son’s situation worse? Would the Nazi investigators not get really suspicious when eyeing the old Galician-Austrian Jewish sounding name “Grasmück”? Such thoughts occupied Anna’s mind and must have caused many a sleepless night at castle Panwitz. It was lucky that there was not sufficient time to turn the focus on grandmother Emma’s ancestry. The family kept her until her death (1941) in her tower room away from the public eye to make sure that the friendly old lady’s tongue would not let slip out an incriminating word or two.

To be continued …

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part IX

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Georg von Waldenfels and his Great Ambition

The Nazi and his Shattered Dreams

Considering the massive amount of available information, I had right from the outset limited the scope of our family history to my wife’s and my grandparents and their children, our uncles and aunts, to our own stories and those of our children. As reported earlier my grandparents on the paternal side had 16 children, of whom my father Ernst Klopp was the youngest. My aunt Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) was the eighth child, who is the focus of the present series. So in view of this massive undertaking there is no time to deal with all the other children.

However, with Anna’s son Georg von Waldenfels I would like to make an exception, the reason being to avoid being accused of leaving out embarrassing details about one black sheep in the family, whose greed and ambition for fame and gain made him a follower of the Nazi regime. On the basis of documented files, which my cousin Eberhard Klopp had gathered from various government and archival sources, I tried to put together and to highlight Georg’s ‘achievements and failures’, which will clearly identify him as the black sheep of the family.

  • Early member of the Nazi party.
  • Known to disrupt meetings of other parties, especially speakers of the socialist and communist parties in pubs and other public places through rude and bullying tactics.
  • It was during this period that his marriage with Emilia (née von Zychlinsky fell apart and ended in divorce.
  • Emilie could not stand that the Lagowitz castle had become the centre and breeding ground for National Socialism (Nazi), all the more when she realized that her husband wholeheartedly embraced the new movement and supported it with vim and vigour.
  • Even Georg’s mother Anna von Waldenfels regretted the end of their relationship, although she was fully aware of her son’s conduct, which destroyed the earlier solid foundations of her son’s marriage.
  • One day after Hitler’s rise to power on February 1, 1933 Georg became member of the infamous SS with the number 147,781.
  • It is still difficult to see through the maze-like complexity of the SS organizational structure. Heinrich Himmler, the Reich’s leader of the SS, created one sub-organization after an another with various fanciful names to camouflage his intent to turn the SS into his own personal empire by enlisting as many members as possible with no regard to any military background and experience.
  • This may explain why Georg found easy access to the SS in view of his non-military background as estate manager.
  • But a career as a military high ranking officer seemed impossible under the given personal circumstances.
  • A fateful chance encounter in Berlin with the like-minded commander of Hitler’s body guard unit “Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler” and friendship with this notoriously rambunctious leader removed the obstacles to Georg’s military career in a jiffy.

To be continued next Friday …

Albert Schweitzer – Seminar #31

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Albert Schweitzer will Frieden unter den Menschen und auf der ganzen Welt

Es gibt Menschen, die glauben das eine, sagen aber das andere und tun etwas ganz anderes. So einer war Albert Schweitzer nicht. Er sagte, was er glaubte, und tat was er sagte. Glaube, Wort und Tat stimmten bei ihm überein.

Das traf auch für den Frieden zu. Ihr wisst ja. dass schon für den kleinen Albert Jesus ein großes Vorbild war. Ihm folgte er sein ganzes Leben. Jesus hatte in seiner Bergpredigt gesagt: „Selig sind die Friedfertigen; denn sie werden Gottes Kinder heißen.“ Keiner kann sich vorstellen, dass dieser Jesus jemals Soldat, General oder Kriegsminister geworden wäre und andere Menschen getötet oder ihnen das Töten befohlen hätte. Wenn alle Menschen so friedfertig wie er gewesen wären, hätte es nie Kriege gegeben.

Das meinte auch Albert Schweitzer. Wie ihr auch wisst, hatte er ja selbst unter dem Krieg sehr gelitten, obwohl er niemandem etwas Böses angetan hatte. Das ist ja gerade das Schlimmste am Krieg, dass so viele unschuldige Menschen, Kinder, Frauen, Männer, die alle keinen Krieg wollten, leiden und sterben müssen. Deshalb sollen alle Menschen dafür eintreten, dass der Frieden bleibt und kein Krieg kommt.

Davon war auch Albert Schweitzer überzeugt. Seine größte Sorge waren die schrecklichen Atomwaffen. Sie explodieren nicht nur, sondern senden außerdem tödliche Strahlen aus. Alle Menschen, Tiere und Pflanzen, die von diesen Strahlen getroffen werden, müssen sterben oder werden ganz schlimm krank. Nur böse Menschen können diese Waffen erfinden, bauen und anwenden. Deshalb muss man den Menschen sagen: „Habt Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben! Baut Computer, aber keine Atombomben! Baut Autos, aber keine Panzer! Bringt Getreidesaat in den Boden, aber keine Minen!“

Albert Schweitzer wollte kein Politiker sein. Ihm ging es nicht um Macht, sondern um Moral. Doch wenn Gefahr droht, muss man politisch werden. Eine ganz große Gefahr war damals und ist noch heute die Kriegsrüstung. Dazu gehört auch der Bau von Atombomben. Mit ihnen kann man alles Leben auf unserer Erde vernichten. Deshalb war Albert Schweitzer auch dagegen. Um zu verstehen, wie eine solche Bombe funktioniert, befasste er sich mit über 80 Jahren noch mit Atomphysik. Sein Freund, der berühmte Physiker Albert Einstein, hat ihm dabei geholfen. Bald wusste er, wie schlimm diese Waffen sind. „Das müssen alle Menschen wissen!“, sagte er. Kriege kann man nur verhindern, wenn alle Menschen Frieden wollen! Vor allem muss man die Atombomben verbieten. So hielt er Reden für den Frieden und gegen den Krieg. Die Reden wurden über das Radio in alle Länder der Erde übertragen. Die Menschen horchten auf, denn was Albert Schweitzer sagte, war für alle wichtig. Auch die Politiker hörten schließlich auf ihn und andere, die zum Frieden mahnten.

Ein Jahr vor seinem Tod stellten die Atommächte ihre Explosionen in der Luft und im Wasser ein. Das war ein großer Erfolg. Dafür hatte ihm der damalige USA-Präsident John F. Kennedy gedankt.

Für alles, was Albert Schweitzer in seinem langen Leben für die Menschen getan hat, erhielt er den Friedens-Nobelpreis. Das ist eine ganz hohe Auszeichnung.

Bald darauf starb Albert Schweitzer in Lambarene. Die Menschen waren alle sehr traurig. Aber einer seiner vielen Freunde sagte: „Er war der Bruder aller Menschen und weil sein Leben eine Botschaft darstellte, wird er immer unter uns bleiben.“

Wir merken uns:

Bei einem guten Menschen stimmen Worte und Taten überein. Gute Menschen sollten unser Vorbild sein.

Dieser Post ist das letzte Seminar über Albert Schweitzer. Ich bin meinem Vetter Hartmut Kegler dankbar für seine liebevolle Arbeit und seine Erlaubnis, sein Werk hier auf meinem Blog veröffentlichen zu dürfen. Es ist meine Hoffnung, dass diese Seminare ursprünglich für Kinder geschrieben ein wenig zum Frieden in der Welt beitragen.

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