The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

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Albert Schweitzer Seminar #1

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1. Seminar

Ich stelle mich euch vor

Mein Name ist Hartmut Kegler. Ich wurde im Jahr 1931 in Stettin geboren. Als ich sechs Jahre alt war, kam ich in die Schule. Damals schrieb man noch in einer anderen Schrift mit einem Griffel auf Schiefertafeln. An dieser Tafel hing ein kleiner Schwamm und ein Lappen, mit dem man die Schrift wieder auslöschen konnte. Später lernten wir dieselbe Schrift wie ihr und wir schrieben auch in richtige Hefte.

Als kleiner Junge fuhr ich gerne mit einem Roller, spielte viel im Sandkasten oder mit anderen Kindern Kasperletheater. Später habe ich auch Soldat gespielt, bis ich merkte, dass das kein gutes Spiel ist.

Als ich neun Jahre alt war, begann der Zweite Weltkrieg. Schon im ersten Kriegsjahr ist mein Vater gefallen. Nun war meine Mutter mit uns drei Kindern allein. Gegen Kriegsende wurden die Schulen geschlossen, weil in Schlesien die Ostfront immer näher kam. Als wir schon den Kanonendonner hörten, packte meine Mutter jedem von uns einen kleinen Rucksack mit ein paar wichtigen Dingen und ging mit uns auf die Flucht. Fast wären wir in die Bombennacht in Dresden geraten und alle umgekommen. Da erkannte ich. wie grausam der Krieg ist. Unsere Flucht endete in der Mark Brandenburg. In einem kleinen Dorf bewohnten wir in einer alten Mühle ein Zimmerchen. Es gab wenig zu essen und wir hatten alle Hunger. Um etwas zu essen zu haben, sammelten wir Getreideähren vom Acker auf und haben Kartoffeln geklaut. In Notzeiten verschwindet die Moral.

Mit vierzehn Jahren ging ich zum Bauern und lernte dort Kühe zu melken. Schweine zu füttern, mit Ochsen das Feld zu pflügen und mit einem Traktor, einem „Bulldog“, das Getreide zu mähen. Mein Arbeitstag begann früh um fünf Uhr und endete abends um sechs. Die Arbeit war zwar schwer, aber sie bereitete auch Freude. Es war schön, abends auf ein Feld zu sehen, das man selbst umgepflügt oder besät oder abgeerntet hat. Vor allem habe ich in der Landwirtschaft viel gelernt und Achtung vor schwerer und oft schmutziger Arbeit gewonnen.

Als ich neunzehn Jahre alt war, begann ich an einer Fachschule und auf der Universität Landwirtschaft zu studieren. Es gab viele Fächer über das Wachsen der Pflanzen, die Pflege von Tieren, die Eigenschaften der Dünger und wie man auf einem Bauernhof rechnen muss.

Nachdem ich mein Studium beendet hatte, holte mich ein Professor in sein Institut nach Aschersleben. Es war das frühere Institut für Phytopathologie, das sich mit den Krankheiten der Pflanzen beschäftigte. So wurde ich so eine Art von Pflanzenarzt. In diesem Institut habe ich dann 36 Jahre lang gearbeitet. Wir halfen den Bauern, dass auf ihren Feldern gesunde Pflanzen wuchsen, sie viele Früchte ernten konnten und alle Menschen genug zu essen hatten.

Ich habe eine liebe Frau (gestorben 2017), die viele Jahre in Aschersleben Lehrerin gewesen ist. Wir beide haben einen tüchtigen Sohn, der Städtebauer und Landschafts­gestalter ist.

Nun bin ich Rentner und möchte euch von einem Menschen erzählen, der mein großes Vorbild geworden ist. Er heißt Albert Schweitzer und wurde als „Urwalddoktor’ in der ganzen Welt berühmt. Er war ein guter Mensch und ein wahrer Christ. Als er bereits Pfarrer und Universitätsprofessor war, gab er alles auf und ging nach Afrika, um dort kranken Negern zu helfen. Auch hat er viel für den Frieden in der Welt getan.

Albert Schweitzer sagte einmal, wer eine glückliche Kindheit gehabt hat, darf das nicht als selbstverständlich hinnehmen, sondern soll dafür dankbar sein und an anderen Menschen Gutes tun. Darüber wollen wir nachdenken und miteinander sprechen.

Albert Schweitzer – Vorwort zu den Kinder Seminaren von Prof. Dr. Hartmut Kegler

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Im Sommer des Jahres 2003 lud mich die Freie Montessori Grundschule Aschersleben ein, ihren jüngsten Schülern etwas über Albert Schweitzer zu erzählen. Damit sollte ihr Ethikunterricht ein wenig ergänzt werden. Nur zu gerne bin ich dieser Einladung gefolgt, denn es konnte für mich nichts Schöneres geben, als jungen Menschen diesen großartigen Humanisten und beispielhaften Christen nahe zu bringen.

Da ich selbst kein Pädagoge bin, traute ich mir auch nicht zu, ordentlichen Unterricht zu geben. So entschloss ich mich zu einer Art von Seminar. Meine „Schüler“ hatten sich freiwillig dazu gemeldet, keiner wurde zur Teilnahme gezwungen. Einige von ihnen schienen durch ein aufgeklärtes Elternhaus zu dem Entschluss ermuntert worden zu sein, denn sie zeigten mir später Bücher Albert Schweitzers aus ihrer Hausbibliothek.

Meine Seminare dauerten jeweils eine Dreiviertelstunde. Diese Zeit hatte ich dreigeteilt. Zunächst erzählte ich ihnen jeweils eine der nachfolgenden Geschichten. Dann spielten wir einige Geschichten als kleine Theaterstücke nach. Das begeisterte die Jungen und Mädchen am meisten. Jeder wollte einmal Albert oder Helene, Joseph, Emma oder Mausche, Esel, Fiffi oder sogar Regenwurm spielen. Oft genug musste ich die Begeisterung bremsen, um nicht in Verdacht zu geraten, im Klassenzimmer Volksfeste zu veranstalten. Doch im letzten Drittel der Stunde setzten wir uns hin und malten eine ganz bestimmte Szene nach. Wie viele liebevolle Zeichnungen künden von dem gerade erzählten und nachgespielten Erlebnis!

So entstand nicht nur ein beglückendes Freundschaftsverhältnis zwischen meinen Schülern und mir, sondern ich erlebte zunehmend, wie Albert Schweitzers guter Geist Eingang in ihre Herzen fand. Das gab mir Hoffnung und auch etwas Mut, vor älteren Schülern aufzutreten, dort allerdings mit regelrechten Vorträgen über das Leben und Denken dieses wunderbaren Menschen. Auch hier in Sekundarschulen und Gymnasien stellte ich große Aufgeschlossenheit und Aufmerksamkeit fest. Es schien mir, dass die jungen Menschen geradezu danach verlangten, außerhalb der regulären Schule ein­mal etwas anderes zu vernehmen als ihnen eine flache Unterhaltungsindustrie ansonsten bietet.

Meine Geschichten habe ich weitgehend dem ausgezeichneten Kinder- und Jugendbuch von Werner Laubi „Albert Schweitzer, der Urwalddoktor“ sowie den am Schluss genannten Büchern Albert Schweitzers entnommen. Von all dem habe ich kurze Texte verfasst, die ich den Schülern übergeben habe, damit sie sich damit später noch einmal befassen oder ihre Eltern ihnen daraus vorlesen können. Jedem Text habe ich einen kleinen Fingerzeig angefügt, bei dem es um die wichtigste ethische Aussage ging, über die man nachdenken und die man beherzigen sollte. Damit sollten Samenkörner ausgelegt werden.

in der Hoffnung, dass das eine oder andere trotz einer für menschliche Werte wenig zugänglichen Umwelt keimen und wachsen möge. Ohne Hoffnung kann kein Mensch leben und Hoffnung ist Kraft, hat Schweitzer einmal selbst gesagt.

Hartmut Kegler

Chapter 42 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part I

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adventure calm clouds dawn

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Biene’s Flight to Canada

“flight

1 a journey made through the air, especially a scheduled journey made by an airline

2 the action of fleeing, such as flight from turmoil

The New Oxford American Dictionary”

A Very Peculiar Itinerary

On April 6, 1966 Biene’s best friend Ulli pulled up her Mercedes at Elisabeth Street 9 to pick up Biene and her mother and drive them to the Düsseldorf Airport. Having taken the passenger liner Ryndam the year before, I was unable to give Biene any advice on the best possible airline route from Germany to Calgary. The Frankfurt International Airport  would have been a better choice. For it was then and still is one of the busiest travel centres with non-stop flights to all major destinations including Calgary. As it turned out, Biene’s odyssey with two stop-overs, one in Paris, the other one in Montreal, was going to be the last endurance test on her patience , which had already been stretched to the limit of her strength during the past twelve months.

After the final farewell and one last appeal from her mother to keep her independence (meaning not to get married), Biene stepped onto the regional plane to Paris. She was travelling light, although in those days airlines were far more generous than today with the weight of your luggage. Her suitcase contained only the most essential articles of clothing and personal effects. Perhaps her mother perceived it as a hopeful sign. The sweet illusive prospect of having her daughter back by Christmas had made her departure a little easier to bear.

In the late afternoon, Montreal time, Biene had just made herself comfortable at the window seat on the plane bound for Calgary. Tired and a bit exhausted from the long journey across the Atlantic and the tedious passport control by Immigration Canada, she let her thoughts and feelings dwell on the joyful moment awaiting her at the Calgary Airport and on the time together with me in my humble basement suite. She could barely contain her excitement mixed in with the fear of the man whom she only knew, except for a very few visits, through their three years of correspondence. Yet, it was a pleasant fear, as she described it in one of her last letters to me. She managed to calm herself knowing that the love she felt for me would overcome all fear.

Suddenly an announcement over the intercom brought her back to the immediate presence. In a calm and reassuring tone the pilot explained that due to some engine problems he would have to fly back to Montreal. When Biene looked outside, her eyes became glued in horror to the engine on the left wing. A trail of thick smoke was pouring from the defective engine. Fortunately, a short time later the plane landed safely, but caused a two-hour delay for the passengers on their flight to Calgary.

Chapter 41 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part IV

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Biene’s Last Letters from Germany

March 26th, Velbert

My dear Peter,

Finally after a long time I have a quiet evening, which I want to devote to you right away. Normally there is always somebody here for a visit, even though I am not always in a sociable frame of mind and would prefer to be alone with my thoughts. Today it snowed so hard and the streets were so slippery that my friend Ulrike, who had come in spite of it all, immediately drove home again.

Now I sit at my desk, on which I had written so many letters. A little oil lamp, which a friend had given to me for my birthday, is spreading a soft light that creates a dreamy atmosphere. And so it also happens that I am playing my opera records. But ‘Don Giovanni’ will come last, when I am already in bed and have switched off the light. You must feel for sure, what I am thinking. Indeed it would be wonderful, if you were with me now. God willing it will not be long until I can come to you. Thank God, my father is on the road of recovery. We all are breathing a sigh of relief.

In the next couple of days I will finally book a flight. Yesterday my passport with all its pertinent papers stamped and cleared ready for the flight came back from Cologne. I am getting more and more excited. Hopefully at least you will stay calm before the exams.

I have to work for another five days. During the last month I have become so accustomed to my work that I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was especially due to the very pleasant department, in which I had been placed. I would really love to work in Calgary at an office of a large company, if that will be possible. Do you think, we will find something suitable?

My dear Peter, how can I possibly control my excitement, until I am with you? I feel it more and more. Dear Peter, I must not carry on thinking of all these things. Otherwise my fantasy will run wild and I will get sick with excitement, Hopefully I can soon pass the exact date of my arrival on to you.

My dear Peter, try also to remain as calm as possible. But I believe, even if I had to travel to the Shah of Persia, I would not be as excited as now at the thought of coming to you.

For now be lovingly embraced by your Biene

March 29th, Velbert

My dear Peter,

Very quickly the most important information! I just returned from the travel agent. The flight is booked and paid for. Next week on Wednesday, April 6th I take off at Düsseldorf at 13 hours and will arrive in Calgary at 22 hours local time.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words with the good news in your last letter. I also thank you for writing to my parents. I am so happy about it. Your letter was well received by them. My father is getting better. I just don’t know how to manage to visit your mother in the remaining days. Unfortunately, my parents had also in this regard thrown obstacles in my way …

Dear Peter, although I did not do everything right in your eyes, I ask you for understanding. Unfortunately, it is true that letters can only reflect a fraction of the life and character of a person. Now I have to close and say goodbye.

Pray that all will be well.

Your Biene

Chapter 41 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

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IMG_2989Violet

Paving the Way towards a Brighter Future

Peter’s Last Letter before Biene’s Arrival in Canada

March 25th , Calgary

My dear Biene,

I remember very well the time when I wrote you the first long letter. Just like three years ago I am sitting in the warm spring sun and hope that it will bring some warmth into my lines.

Your birthday letter has reopened the locked chambers of my heart with power and might, and a flood of new ideas is pouring out about our near future, our little apartment, our weekends in the city or at the lakes in the mountains. With so much joyful tension and anticipation I can barely concentrate on my studies and I am longing for a break from my intensive work.

Only at night time I am still being plagued by ‘nightmares’, which constantly warn me against the wedding soon to take place. They whisper threateningly that we both don’t have the assurance of the heart to throw ourselves into such an adventure. But in the light of a new day I always return to my confidence and trust. I have been searching deep within me and often discovered that the very weaknesses I had attacked most fiercely in you lie also hidden in me. You were in deep trouble, almost in a state of desperation. There weaknesses emerged in a way that greatly disappointed me. But after some time through self-discovery I was able to understand them. I wished you wouldn’t worry about this my disappointment any more. In the atmosphere, where nobody dictates what our happiness should look like, let us work on the healing of soul, spirit and mind and let us try to overcome our weaknesses.

I am little ashamed that you are a bit afraid of me. Perhaps I have sometimes given you cause for such fear through my seemingly cold behaviour. Perhaps you even believed that your father’s illness could provide the answer to my last urgent question. Now that I did not receive any reply,  I had to assume of course that you are sticking to your original plans. In the meantime your parents will have received my letter, in which in very kind words I have adopted your and your mother’s position and reassured your parents that you would not be in any kind of danger. I hope my letter will contribute to alleviate their fears. I also wrote that I was sorry if they felt insulted by my letter last Christmas. Hopefully you will understand that I could not apologize for what I had written. The strength to overcome my reluctance to write and to fulfill all your wishes came from the returning trust that from now on everything between us will develop normally and we two will forget the ‘sick’ period of the last three months. Should we not learn to trust each other, then spiritually speaking we will have built our relationship on sand and I will have no more hope. I am looking forward to make a little paradise out of our apartment. We will achieve this with love, imagination, and our skilful hands.

Thanks for the many kisses. It’s too bad that I was only allowed to imagine them and did not receive them right away.

Please write when the plane arrives in Calgary, so I can pick you up.

Greetings in love

Your  Peter

Chapter 41 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part II

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Biene yearns for the freedom she enjoyed in England

Her letter continued

You are right, Peter. In England I was much stronger and also much happier. I could concentrate on myself and attempt to be myself, whereas here I am being torn apart by people, who love me, but wish to decide over my life according to their own ideas of happiness. Nobody can imagine that I wish for myself a totally different life and everybody tries to keep me away from my impending disaster. But they have no inkling that this way they make me and themselves unhappy. I know that it is right to come to you, even though many people think it is cruel.

I am looking forward to seeing you and spending the evenings with you in the tiny apartment. We will certainly then forget all the things which have burdened our hearts. And I hope that in your dreams you will no longer have to sleep with other girls.  For me as well temptations have been a constant threat. In England I had my freedom and your love in my heart. That gave me so much strength that I could easily resist the temptations. Even in my dreams I wasn’t searching for a more beautiful reality. Everybody liked me and also everybody knew that I love you. Here at home unfortunately everything is different. I cannot bear it any longer that I must hurt them so much. And yet I love you and I have made my decision. Sometimes I am in a state that I want to numb my senses. But have no fear. I will endure the remaining time I am here.

Now I am almost finished with my letter and have not yet thanked you for your long letter, which gave me a much needed lift. I am happy to hear that you have so much success with your studies. I will make certain that I will not be a distraction to your final exams when I am with you. Now, dear Peter, let us hope that I may soon come to you.

Be now sweetly embraced and kissed

Your Biene

P.S. By the way my inner calendar is very exact. Perhaps it is not good at all to worry so much about it.

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