The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

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Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part XIV

4

Georg’s Pipe Dream Collapses

Rücker-Emden, the DAG director, sensed that with this person would come an unhealthy development for the SS, which was otherwise not generally known for finicky handling of problems of this kind. Fraud and deceit lay almost graspable in the air. He put an immediate stop to the von Waldenfels lust for wealth and property and abruptly ended the commissioned working relationship as of October 1, 1938.

From this point on began a four-year court battle, which dragged on till 1942 between the Viennese lawyer of the DAG, representing the property of the dispossessed Löw family, and Georg’s attorney. The von Waldenfels files contained more 200 pages and occupied among others the chancellery of the Party and the highest court in Munich. Georg insisted with selfish stubbornness that he had received approval from the DAG, personally insulted its director Rücker-Emden and tried to make an inspection committee more agreeable to his plans by serving them alcohol quite early in the morning.

Even his mother, Baroness Anna von Waldenfels got involved in the subsequent flood of letters being written to the highest authorities of Nazi Germany, which included the boss of the Reich’s main security office Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner and the head of the SS Heinrich Himmler. However, the tone of responses from the various SS offices was getting increasingly sharper and included more and more requests to put an end to Georg’s farcical behaviour.

In the middle of 1942 von Waldenfels received the final warning shot from Karl Wolff, a member of Himmler’s personal staff, “It is intolerable that in a time while Germany is at war and thousands of SS men are fighting on the front lines that year in and year out the SS has to deal with trivial stuff like that.” The dream of a ‘castle in Bohemia’ had finally melted away.

Georg von Waldengels had been playing a high-staked poker game and had planned to climb on the shoulders of the SS up to a new type of grand estate and castle owner. The settlers’ policy by contrast was primarily aiming into the opposite direction: the transfer of rights regarding vast tracts of agricultural land to dispossessed farmers from the east. On account of this key discrepancy the enterprise Angern was doomed to fail.

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part XIII

23

Georg’s Pipe Dream

Pulling the right strings at the right authorities, Georg von Waldenfels managed to acquire from the DAG the trusteeship over the ‘abandoned’ estate property at Angern on the River March between Lower Austria and Slovenia. As a trustee he worked there for two months from August 3 to October 1, 1938.

His ultimate goal was by hook or by crook to take possession of the property of the Jewish family Löw, who had owned and worked this large parcel of land of prime agricultural land for many generations. The DAG (Deutsche Ansiedlungsgesellschaft), the so-called German Settlement Agency, had set into motion punitive court proceedings against the Löw family to the tune of 13 million Reichsmark (RM). Eight million RM were covered by the sale of all movable equipment. Remained the five million RM, which the DAG desired to collect. To fully comprehend the value of the entire estate, one can easily peg the sale’s price on today’s real estate market at around 100 million dollars. The commissioned administrator von Waldenfels bragged among friends that he could easily come up with the five million RM. Through marriage he had connected with father-in-law Jan F. Jannink, “one of the wealthiest mega-industrialists of Holland, who would throw the five million RM on the table with a smile.”

Von Waldenfels had also set his eyes on the palace-like mansion of the Löw family located at the 19th District of Vienna. This stately and historically important residence also belonged to the total ‘aryanized’ property of the SS. The low ranking SS officer of Lagowitz, swept up by his incredible pipe dreams, now beyond all reasonable dimensions appeared to drift away into the fantasy world of his own desires.

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part XII

14

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 XI

13

Georg von Waldenfels

His Aryan Background under Scrutiny

The investigation process by the “department for Racial Purity” was dragging on deep into the war years and hung like the Sword of Damocles over Georg von Waldenfels. On May 1943 he received the following threatening message, “In his letter to the personnel main office dated April 15, 1943, the Reich’s Leader SS (Himmler) has ordered the review of your ancestry.” On June 12, 1943, the department for racial questions toned down the threat, “The Reich’s Leader SS desires the process for final clarification to start right after the end of the war.” Sepp Dietrich must have put a word in for Georg.

Two aspects saved von Waldenfels, who himself was caught in the Nazi net of racial insanity: The generosity of the SS towards people from the aristocracy even burdened with a questionable ancestry background. The name counted, when it could be used to advantage for the ’NS Movement’. Secondly, during the war against Poland and later as administrator in the agricultural field at Glückshütte near Schrimm/Posen Georg had earned considerable recognition for his work.

Whoever might have been Georg’s supporter, his SS career continued with lightning speed. On July 1, 1942 in Schrimm Georg was promoted to the rank of  lieutenant. With full support of his friend and boss Sepp Dietrich, he could boast bearing the rank of captain in April 1943. In the fateful and dangerous month of May Dietrich’s influence brought about Georg’s promotion to the rank of major in the SS. Right from the first contact with Sepp Dietrich Von Waldenfels had unerringly placed his bet on the right horse. Two promotions within 8 weeks from April to June 1943 is quite a remarkable fact. Sepp Dietrich must have had a ‘Spezi’ (Bavarian: meaning friend) in the department for racial questions making it clear with the bold statement, “I decide, who is a Jew!” Indeed he could care less whether Georg had a non-aryan grandmother or not.

Both Sepp and Georg knew how to play the game in this complex multi-faceted system, which in spite of its reputed ruthlessness left significant gaps, which allowed personal initiative, civil courage and connections to change or even reverse an administrative decision. Of course, outsiders had no such luck. However, if the Nazi regime had survived the year 1945, Georg von Waldenfels’s SS career would have in the long run ended in a big fall.

To be continued next Friday …

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part X

16

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

12

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 …

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