Meta Emma (1898 – 1984)


The ‘Baby of the Family’ and ‘Frau Professor’ Later

Meta, the fourteenth child, was born in Jersleben on 5 January 1898. Her birth took place at a time of disputes about the ownership of the house in Wolmirstedt. Her eldest brother Friedrich (1875 – 1946) was beginning to assert his independence at the expense of the family. The steady new arrivals of siblings and consequently increasing competition for the modest inheritance was getting on the nerves of the ‘faithful’ and now 23-year old rope manufacturing apprentice.

Meta was baptized, as prescribed by tradition, eight days after her birth in the newly consecrated church in Jersleben. The officiating pastor was Dr. Friedrich Daniel, the historian of the Altmark. Very little is known about Meta’s childhood. In all likelihood, her sister Jula Steuer arranged for her the enrolment in a nurses’ training programme. According to vague family memories, it started in a branch of the evangelical church in Waldbröl, Westerwald. At the start of the 1920s, because of the proximity to Neu Rosow, she resided in Stettin. it probably was the first place of her employment in the hospital ‘Bethany’ in Kreckow Street. At the same time, her sister Else and brother-in-law Stier were living in Stettin. When the couple moved to Alt Valm, Pomerania, Meta felt more and more drawn to her sister Anna in Panwitz. At the end of the 1920s, one could find her noticeably more often, almost like a permanent resident, at the von Waldenfels estate at Meseritz. From there she must have found employment at the hospital Limburg, Lahn.

Meta was the youngest daughter of the Klopp children and maintained close contact with her elder sisters. Anna von Waldenfels, Jula Steuer and Else Stier took turns in taking the yet unmarried ‘late bloomer’ under their wings. Photos of the Panwitz time show her as a good-looking young woman, who appears not unhappy but a little bit shy. She suffered mildly from a ‘lazy eye’ problem.

Toward the end of the year 1934, the high school teacher Professor Vincenz Mülbert (1875 – 1958) underwent prostate surgery at the Limburg Hospital. Considering the whole story, Vincenz may have also received psychiatric treatment. Between this man, who was just going through the agony of divorce, and Meta Klopp developed a more than the usual patient-nurse relationship.

Vincenz had suffered a series of painful blows during the span between 1930 and 1935. They included a bitter mix of personal fateful events and ominous pressures stemming from his political and academic superiors. Meta Klopp, by no means an unattractive woman, felt with her fine sensitivity the needs of the man in her care. The call for love reached her heart, perhaps delayed by some overprotected years, but now with power, apparently for the first time in her life. After all, there was between the engaged couple an age difference of almost twenty years. In 1935 Vincenz celebrated his 56th birthday.

Vincenz Mülbert was born on 12 November 1879 in Edingen near Heidelberg, the son of a catholic commissioner Franz Mülbert in Mannheim, who had been sick and unemployable since 1896. After the elementary school in Edingen, Vincenz attended the high school in Tauberbischofsheim from 1891 up to grade 11 and transferred ‘because of his low achievement to the high school in Mannheim, where he graduated in 1899’.

He enrolled at the University of Heidelberg. In the third semester, he abandoned the study of classical linguistics and turned to modern languages at the University of Freiburg. For the last two semesters, he returned to Heidelberg. His major subjects were German and French with Latin as his minor. In his application for admission to a high school position in the spring of 1905, Mülbert mentioned in detail six key areas: Gothic grammar, Old High German grammar, Middle High German and modern German literature of the 18th and 19th century.

After his employment as a civil servant of the State of Baden, Vincenz began his exemplary career: May 1905 teaching position and passing the examen and successfully completing his trial period at the Middle School in Bretten, September 1907 High School in Hettenheim, September 1908 Middle School in Schnepfheim. On 22 March 1910 upon the authority of “Friedrich, by the grace of God, great-duke of Baden, duke of Zähringen, Vincenz Mülbert was installed as a professor of the High school in Weinheim”. Mülbert had now achieved official rank and social status. In full anticipation of a secure financial basis, he married on 30 September 1909 the merchant’s daughter Amalie Schmitt of Taubenhofsheim, presumably a sweetheart from the high school days.

The Tragic Loss of a Son

In 1910 the sons Werner (died in 1990) and Paul (died in 1932) were born in Weinheim. In 1910 came the transfer of their father to the renown senior high school in Mannheim, which was named after the French major and geographer “Tulla Oberschule”. The unremarkable years of a tranquil teacher’s existence were interrupted in the middle of World War I. In June 1916 Vincenz Mülbert was drafted into military service by the 14th Army Corps of the State of Baden. He served as a truck driver at the Recovery Unit I (Genesungsabteilung) of the Reserve Infantry Regiment 109. In October his daughter Hildegard was born in Mannheim.

During the static warfares in 1918, Vincenz took on active duty at the Aisne (east of Reims) and in the Upper Alsace. At the beginning of September 1918, he was declared “no useable for service at the front” on account of his highly strained nerves. As “being capable of garrison service”, he experienced the war’s end at the balloon battalion 139. On 22 November 1918, he received his demobilization papers and was released from his military service.

He returned to the former teaching post at the school in Mannheim. In May 1923, his wife Amalie gave birth to the twins Gertrud Ida and Hedwig Margarethe in Mannheim. In December followed the birth of the sixth and last child Rudolf Pius. It was according to a teacher’s news bulletin a premature birth. At that time the family possessed a home in Quadrant L of Mannheim.

From an application for financial assistance in September 1932 to the school administration one may be able to reconstruct the circumstances of a serious fateful event. The 19-year old son Paul, a commercial employee, suffered from depression and had already been receiving medical treatment for a long time. On 30 August 1932, he withdrew from his parental home and for ten days was reported missing. On the fourth of September, the Hessian police found his clothes on the banks of the riverbank of the River Main near Frankfurt. “Whether it was an accident or suicide could not be determined”. The body was retrieved from the river on the 7th of September, transferred to Mannheim and buried there. Mülbert already owed a large amount of money to the bank and was forced to borrow some more to cover the cost of transportation and burial expenses, He had asked for assistance in the amount of 258 marks.