Friedrich Wilhelm Otto Klopp (1886 – 1937)


The Innkeeper of the “Brown Elk”

As the ninth child Wilhelm was born on 8 December 1886 in Jersleben. Due to the sparse memory retention of the descendants, Eberhard Klopp, the author of the Klopp Family Chronicles, had not been able to dig up any information on Wilhelm all the way up to 1919, when after the lost WW1 the latter returned from the eastern German provinces (given to Poland by the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles) to Elbeu. At the Magdeburg Street of Elbeu, Wilhelm bought a house, presumably with agricultural land attached to it. With his brother Ferdinand he seemed to have come to some sort of financial arrangement involving a considerable sum of money paid out by the state to compensate for lost property in the eastern provinces.

From Wilhelm’s first marriage with Maria Söchting come two sons: Wilhelm and Gerhard. Their mother died in 1912. In 1912 Wilhelm married his second wife Louise (née Grünwald). From this marriage originate four children: Viktoria (1914), Fritz (1916), Heinz (1919) and Günther (1924). It is safe to assume that 28-year old Wilhelm became a soldier in 1914. When he returned from the war with his brothers, he procured for his brother Ferdinand Klopp (1879 – 1952) the lease of the Elbeu Inn “Brown Elk”. Over financial disagreements in August 1922, the two had in the barroom a fight, during which Ferdinand shot his brother. Wilhelm was wounded at his left shoulder. Louise, who was standing behind him, was grazed by the bullet. Mother-in-law Emma Klopp must have heard about this incidence either at her daughter Rosa Diesing’s (1881 -1924) place at Schöneberg or experienced it first hand right on location in Elbeu. At any rate, it had been passed down through the grapevine that Emma had used the highly defamatory term “Satan’s wife” in describing her daughter-in-law. Mother Emma condemned Wilhelm’s excessive alcohol consumption, which she blamed on his wife’s bad influence. Louise died in 1924, presumably on account of the injury she suffered from the grazing bullet. Wilhelm was reconciled with his brother Ferdinand – at least on the surface, took over the “Brown Elk”, and remained innkeeper for the rest of his days.

Around 1925 he married for the third time: Ruth (née Grünwald), the sister of his second wife. Six underage children needed to be cared for. From this marriage descended two more sons: Hans-Georg and Hans-Joachim, both were born in Elbeu. On 7 August 1937, Wilhelm passed away at the age of only 51 years. At the end of his short life, he had apparently become his own best customer of the local watering hole.