The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Category Archives: guest post

Albert Schweitzer – Seminar #5

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Die Geschichte vom Juden Mausche

Eines Tages trieb ein alter Mann mit Sommersprossen im Gesicht und mit einem langen Bart einen Esel durch das Dorf. Der Esel zog einen kleinen Karren. Der Mann hieß Mausche. Er war Jude und ein Viehhändler aus dem Nachbardorf. Die Kinder fanden ihn etwas komisch mit seinem Bart, dem großen Hut. dem langen Mantel und seinem Esel. Deshalb lachten sie auch über ihn. Sie rannten hinter ihm her, hüpften um ihn herum, schnitten Grimassen, steckten die Zunge heraus und riefen immer „Mausche, Mausche, Mausche!“

Viele Leute schauten aus den Fenstern und lachten mit. Alle glaubten, dass der Jude Mausche nun böse wird und die Jungen verjagt. Doch der Jude Mausche blieb ganz ruhig, hielt seinen Esel an und schaute freundlich zu den ungezogenen Jungen. Er lächelte gütig, strich einem der Jungen über das Haar und ging dann weiter.

Albert hatte das beobachtet und den Juden Mausche nicht ausgelacht. Eigentlich tat er ihm sogar leid, denn er war ein guter Mensch und hatte es nicht verdient, ausgelacht zu werden. Albert fasste sich sogar ein Herz und lief dem Juden Mausche nach, bis er ihn erreicht hatte. Dann nahm er seine Hand und ging mit ihm gemeinsam weiter durch das Dorf. Die Leute wunderten sich nun sehr: Da ging der junge Christ Albert mit dem alten Juden Mausche Hand in Hand die Straße entlang. Nicht nur die Jungen, sondern auch die älteren Leute hörten nun auf zu lachen und einige schämten sich sogar, dass sie den alten, gütigen Mann nur wegen seines Aussehens ausgelacht hatten.

Schweitzer 5

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

The Wonderful World of Cacti

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Wednesday’s Photos

Photos by Klaus-Dieter Barge

In my youth I once watched the Walt Disney documentary ‘The Living Desert’ (Die Wüste Lebt). It showed how the arid landscape after a rare rainfall literally exploded into a colourful display of the blooming desert flowers including the incredibly beautiful shapes of the cacti. As it often happens, the images gradually faded from my memory and all that remained was the idea  that cacti are nondescript plants extremely prickly and not exactly pretty to look at. Therefore, I am very grateful to my friend Dieter Barge who told me about his passion for raising and cultivating a large variety of cacti in his greenhouse. He kindly provided the photos of these marvelous desert plants complete with their botanical names. I turned the images with the help of a video editor into the short two-minute video below. Enjoy.

Halleluja by Leonard Cohen

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An Amazing New Year’s Greeting

For New Year our friend in Germany sent us a couple of videos of his family celebrating Christmas, enjoying an impressive fireworks display on New year’s Eve and of his wife Edda playing the Halleluja by Leonard Cohen. Edda is the granddaughter of my Uncle Bruno. If you look at the Kegler family tree, you will find her on Chart IIc. Never have my wife Biene and I received a more touching and more precious New Year’s greeting than this video. A big thank you goes out to Dieter, Edda’s husband, who made this beautiful recording! It is my hope that you like it as much as we do.

Christmas Tree Hunt in the Great Canadian Wilderness

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Guest Post by Stefan Klopp

A few days before Christmas our son Stefan and his partner Laura went into the mountains to hunt for our Christmas tree. He recorded their adventure on video, which I would like to share with all my friends who might not be familiar with masses of snow in our nook of the world in Canada. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone and all a Happy and Blessed New Year.

 

Kindred Time Travel Narrative by Justin Shaw

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Please note: Justin’s great-great-grandparents are my grandparents Carl and Elisabeth Kegler. Inspired by an account of my uncle’s (Günther Kegler) near death experience on the battle field in WW1, he wrote this highly creative piece and gave me his kind permission to publish it as a guest post in the Klopp Family Blog.

Kindred Time Travel Narrative

A deafening explosion burst nearby, sending a fountain of soil all around me. I fell to the floor, knocking the air out of my lungs. As I rolled over and gasped for air, another shell exploded near the trenches not too far away from me. Paralysed for a second, my mind started whirring through the countless questions that arose from my situation: Where am I? How did I get here? Am I going to die?

Yet, I had nowhere near enough time to think as a round of bullets caused me to dive into a trench. Spitting out dirt, I looked up through the smoky air to see a face looking down at me.

“Who are you?”

A young man in his early 20s wearing a military uniform peered down at me. I coughed, preparing to answer him, when I realised that I had just understood what seemed to be perfect German.

“What- what year is it?” I managed to sputter out, the words finding themselves without me having to attempt to translate.

“1917- what’s going on?” the German man shouted, confused. I would have answered him, but my mind was going through a thousand thoughts at once. I felt myself falling to the floor, but before I hit the ground, I was gone.

Gasping for air, I shot up to find myself half-asleep at my kitchen table, head buried in an old family tree. I picked myself up cautiously, half-expecting to find myself back on the Western front. I blinked once or twice, taking a moment to assess my situation. My experience felt surreal, but too lifelike to be a dream. Rubbing my eyes, I was still feeling remnants of the smoke and dirt that filled the air of the battlefield. World War I… Germany… Slowly things began to click into place. I turned towards the record of my family’s history and began to flip through the pages of information feverishly, looking for a clue as to where I had just been. Pouring through the text, I skimmed for any clue related to what I had just witnessed. Finally, something caught my eye.

It was a distant relative, Gunther Kegler. He had been born in Germany in 1894, and had joined the army at the beginning of WWI. In 1916, he became the commander of a machine gun company and traveled around Europe, fighting in many different battles for the Imperial German Army. Next to the description I found an aged picture. The man was much older than the boy I had seen in the trenches, but his face was familiar.

As I gently touched the photograph, I began to slip away again. I found myself back on the battlefield. Quickly, I threw myself to the ground expecting hails of bullets, but this time, none came. The battle must be over, I thought as I pulled myself up relieved. I began to look around the large expanse of land that had been home to the violence and human misery I had briefly witnessed before.

Trying to find my only link to this place, I scanned the scene for Gunther. As I looked around the battlefield, my eyes found large large craters from shells, and extensive networks of trenches carved like scars into the ground. My gaze came to rest on a large military truck. It was filled with corpses, a gruesome image. But my expression froze with surprise when I saw Gunther lying in the hearse. I rushed over. This didn’t make sense, Gunther didn’t die in this battle! What was going on?

“Gunther!” I shouted loudly. I ran over to the edge of the truck. He was lying still, and it looked like he had been very badly injured.

“Gunther!” I called again desperately. Had history changed itself? Was it my fault?

Gunther coughed gently. He was still alive! I pulled him out of the truck and glanced around worriedly. Nobody seemed to be around. Straining myself, I lifted him onto my back, barely able to stand under his weight. I began to slowly lumber over to the camp in the distance.

After struggling forward slowly for what felt like hours, I made it to the tents. Looking around frantically, I saw wounded soldiers slowly shuffling into a hospital tent. Pulling Gunther towards them quickly, I called out for help.

Weary eyes turned to face me, but I was already gone.

 

Works consulted: “The Kegler Tree.” The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project, klopp-family.com/our-family/the-kegler-tree/. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

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