Peter Friedrich Klopp (1852-1900)
All articles on my grandparents, uncles and aunts on the Klopp line have been translated and adapted from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle
It was my goal to restrict the family research to our grandparents. Yet, to get a well-rounded picture of Peter Friedrich Klopp and to enhance our understanding of his colorful personality, I need to go back to his parents, Heinrich Friedrich and Charlotte Wilhelmine (neé Hoppe) Klopp. They got married in the St. Catherine Church on July 6, 1851 in Magdeburg, where they lived until Heinrich’s early death in 1861, most likely brought on by consumption, the most common cause of death in those days.
In the few years, which Heinrich had after the wedding, he was barely able to eek out a living for his growing family. For a short while he managed to run an independent business as hauler and carrier of goods, mail and people. With horse and buggy he provided a service to the people of Magdeburg very much akin to a modern taxi service. During this time three children were born, the first born being my grandfather Peter Friedrich Klopp. The location where he worked and lived with his family was the former shopping street ‘Breiter Weg’ (Broadway), known as the popular social center complete with pubs, inns, breweries, stores, various governmental establishments and offices, for which Heinrich could provide a service in the fledgling transportation business, enough at least to feed his family. Alas, he passed away too soon, and widowed Charlotte had to endure many hardships raising her children and working as seamstress and washerwoman. On October 27, 1862 she gave birth to the illegitimate son Franz Karl August, whose father remained unknown. In 1864 she married Ferdinand Pielert, who, having been born in 1836, was ten years younger and worked as deckhand on one of the boats plying the waters of the Elbe River. Due to the transitory nature of his work the two rarely saw each other. When he finally settled down with a permanent address in Magdeburg, Charlotte had already died on October 28, 1870.
Little Peter Friedrich Klopp (born on January 23, 1852) was barely nine years old when his father died. As the eldest he experienced how his mother after the loss of the bread earner plunged into deeper misery and abject poverty. Since his stepfather Pielert was rarely at home with no permanent address in Magdeburg, the responsibility for her son’s education and trade lay entirely upon the shoulders of the single mother. The circumstances, under which Peter Friedrich Klopp found his way to the mills at Jersleben, could probably be guessed from his mother’s connections with relatives and acquaintances in her hometown Wolmirstedt, a short distance north of Magdeburg.
The Magdeburg period of our family line was ill-fated right from the beginning. In spite of hopeful attempts it remained in its vocational prospects at a relatively low level. The family of the former Prussian soldier and, later on, of the ‘carting entrepreneur’ Heinrich Friedrich Klopp of Jübar painfully experienced the low-bourgeois and proletarian social conditions in the city of Magdeburg of the 19th century, which the GDR historians had later so dramatically, but accurately described in their annals. Already before 1860, the most dire poverty of all family related epochs controlled the history of our Klopp family line. Since the catastrophes of the Seven Years’ War this particular time frame represents a social and existential low point beyond all comparison.
The early death of the father at the young age of 40 and the passing of his mother at the age of 44 indicate that the change of the Klopp line from farming into the commercial and industrialized realm of business of a big city had exacted a high price in terms of health and vitality. At the death of his mother Peter Friedrich Klopp (10th generation) was 18 years old. Perhaps out of concerns for the health of her eldest son she may have made arrangements ahead of time for employment back to the country with one of the three mills at Jersleben near Wolmirstedt.
Emma Christiane Klopp (née Bauer)
1856 – 1941
The miller’s apprentice Peter Friedrich Klopp became acquainted with Emma Bauer, the daughter of the factory inspector Friedrich Wilhelm Bauer, born in Groß Ottersleben on March 3, 1818. Her father had moved to Jersleben, where he died on April 4, 1886. Emma at the time of his death was only 12 years old and was the fifth child out of her father’s marriage with Rebecca Sophie, who died in Wolmirstedt in 1898.
What brought Emma’s family originally from the Würzburg area to Jersleben, author Eberhard Klopp explains in his ‘Letter to the Descendants’ as follows:
Already blessed with four children Emma’s parents lived from at least 1855, most likely even sooner, in Rottendorf near Würzburg. In this village the wealthy Jewish Würzburg banker Joel Jakob von Hirsch managed an increasingly flourishing sugar factory. The socially conscious entrepreneur and owner of a large estate ‘wanted to provide a livelihood for lower class people, for he was kindhearted toward the poor people.’ Von Hirsch’s declared intention was to make the South German market independent of ‘the dominant North German sugar factories.’ To this end he hired specialists from Magdeburg, Cologne, Baden and Holland. An additional incentive was the voluntary health insurance fund established by the factory owner for the workers and their family members of his Rottendorf plant. This, at that time, was a rare, but socially groundbreaking undertaking.
Attracted by such favorable and promising working conditions, the Bauer family settled in Franconia probably until the shutting down of the Rottendorf plant. There in House No. 3 (Dürrhof}, property of the aforementioned banker Emma Bauer was born,
Unfortunately, due to a shortage of water it was no longer possible to process sugar beets. The production was shut down, which was a major cause for the Bauer family to relocate in the sugar beet region in the north near Magdeburg.
Emma’s Father, Friedrich Wilhelm Bauer
1818 – 1868
F. W. Bauer’s job description ‘factory inspector’ goes back to government regulations, which were based on laws pertaining to safety and protection at the workplace. Factory inspectors with the authority of the local police ensured the prevention of child labor, enforced the labor law regarding the maximum number of hours permitted for day and night shifts, and generally were there to protect the safety and health of the workers. In addition to these duties, they made sure that all workers were provided with proper ID cards and that logbooks be kept with their employment records.
In other words my great-grandfather F. W. Bauer in Jersleben now belonged to that special organization of state employees, who in the interest of factories took up control functions for the protection of the workers. The scope of his responsibilities as a commercial policeman may have included the supervision of mills, sugar and starch plants of the region around Jersleben and Wolmirstedt.
About three years after their move from Rottendorf F. W. Bauer died in Jersleben on April 20, 1868 at the age of only 50. His wife Sophie Bauer (née Wegener), a woman of exceptional beauty in the memory of her descendants, outlived her husband by thirty years and died in 1898 at the age of 76 in the Wolmirstedt house of her grandson Friedrich Klopp (1875-1946).
Miller Master Peter Friedrich Klopp
1852 – 1900
Miller’s apprentice Peter Friedrich Wilhelm Klopp and Emma Christiane (née Bauer) were married on September 27, 1874 in the village church at Jersleben. He was 22 and she was 18 years old. Their marriage of over 25 years was blessed by a phenomenal fecundity, coming close to the Austrian Empress Maria-Theresia. Sixteen children emerged from this union.
A few years after the wedding P. F. Klopp became qualified as master miller. Several attempts of running his own mill (e.g. the ‘Düppler Mill’ at the southeast end of Olvenstedt) as well as working in three different other mills in Jersleben failed. Around 1890 already blessed with seven children it appeared that he was finally able to secure a solid economical foundation. Together with his eldest son Friedrich (grandfather of author Eberhard Klopp), who had just finished his rope making apprenticeship, he acquired a house in Wolmirstedt. Peter concentrated on the production and sale of flour, while Friedrich operated the rope making plant. Housing for a very large family, storage facilities for grain, flour and feed, manufacturing shop etc., were all under the same roof.
Rivalries, quarrels, and petty disputes about who was in charge of it all did not create a climate conducive to a prosperous enterprise in the Magdeburger Straße (now Friedensstr.). When brother Ferdinand, also a trained rope maker joined them, Peter began to worry about losing his independence and looked for a way of dissociating himself from the troublesome business in Wolmirstedt.
Supported, perhaps even driven by his energetic wife, Peter F. Klopp returned with his family to Jersleben, where he established his own business of producing and selling flour. He seized on a golden opportunity of acquiring a long sought-after watermill. All indications are that he was not to see his final dream come to fruition. For documents show that widow Emma Klopp was the owner of the mill in 1901 one year after her husband’s death. The reader can find more about the tragic event in Chapter 4 of ‘The P. and G. Klopp Story’ on this blog.
Friedrich Klopp and the Demise of the Rope Making Business
On March 16, 1900 the eldest son Friedrich Klopp (1875 – 1946) married in Wolmirstedt the 20-year old seamstress Auguste Louise Weihe (1880 – 1924) from Zielitz. Two months after the wedding his father, Peter F. Klopp died.
The house at Magdeburg Street 16 (today Friedenstr.), which his father had acquired around 1890 did not fulfill the hopes for a prosperous middle class existence of the two family branches. It appears that Friedrich had already set up shop in this house in 1898 right after his military service. For his sister Meta Emma (1898 – 1984) was not born here, but in Jersleben. Already before the sale of the water-mill, Friedrich Klopp had built in 1902 an addition to the backside of the house.
The new construction contained two floors. The kitchen and the living room plus two small bedrooms were located on the ground floor. A hallway and a stairway led to the upper floor with two more bedrooms and two additional rooms. The largest room was only 15 sq m in size. The new addition had a height of 5.6 m and a slanting roof. Seven or eight people could be accommodated here. The outhouse stood in the yard at the fence close to the neighbor’s garden.
Friedrich had intended the addition to be used by his mother Emma and her children, while he reserved the much larger house at the front for his rope manufacturing plant and his own small family of three. Looking at this rather unfair living arrangement, we may see the root cause of the ensuing family feud. Being treated in such an undignified manner, Emma stayed at most 18 months with her eldest son in Wolmirstedt.
When Friedrich and his pregnant wife took over the house in 1900 at the latest, mother Emma’s plans and her very basis for a comfortable existence within the family were severely shattered. The acquisition of the water-mill turned out for her to be merely an emergency solution, which was for a while financially sustainable. For Emma worrisome years followed. While Ferdinand, one of Friedrich’s younger brothers, was in the United States more or less successfully exploring efficient flour production methods, widow Emma suddenly saw herself confronted with unexpected hostilities.
The Meddling of a Troublesome Mother-in-law
When Emma’s eldest son Friedrich married Auguste Weihe of Zielitz, he could not foresee how much trouble the new connection would bring to the entire Klopp family. The cause was not so much his young wife, whom he loved dearly, but rather his mother-in-law Luise Weihe, who had her own ideas about the way the couple should conduct their life and business. She insisted that her daughter should share with no one her new nest in Wolmirstedt. She was not exactly excited over Auguste’s choice of her son-in-law. So her daughter should at least be spared from Friedrich’s siblings and relatives. She viciously described as the ‘vagabond and fugitive children of Cain’ with reference to the Bible verse in Genesis 4, 14.
Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. King James Bible
With this remark Luise Weihe not only poisoned the climate of the newly established household, but also brought on the estrangement of Emma and her younger children with the family of her eldest son.
Emma’s grandfather Johann Christian Bauer (1792-183) was of Jewish ancestry. It would go beyond the set limits of this blog to report in detail the colorful and eventful life of Johann Bauer. However, it is important to note here that his parents had already converted to the Christian faith and that their 14-year old son had been confirmed in Sudenburg-St. Ambrosius and also got married as a protestant groom on October 29, 1843 in the same place.
At the turn of the 20th century antisemitism was already a malignant phenomenon and spread like an epidemic throughout Germany. So far Friedrich’s mother-in-law had only hinted at her antisemitic sentiments against the Klopp family. But now she went too far with her unconcealed, racially driven diatribes, which she shamelessly showered on Emma and the rest of the ‘children of Cain’. The result was that even the young wife, her very own daughter, could not take it any more. She was by nature and temperament a resolute and energetic woman. In the end she too distanced herself from all connections to her parental home in Zielitz.
Her father Friedrich Weihe (1854-1944) suffered a great deal from his wife’s convoluted thoughts and attacks against the Klopp clan. But he was unable or unwilling to do anything about it except to contemptuously break wind on each step of the staircase he climbed to withdraw himself from the incessant and repetitive tirades in the living room below. This was in a sense his running commentary on his wife’s annoying and irksome prattle, which seemed to have no end.
Adding Oil to the Fire
Out of the marriage between Friedrich Klopp and Marie-Louise Weihe came two sons and two daughters. The first child Frieda was born on June 7, 1900 in the Wolmirstedt house, also Liesbeth on June 5, 1907 and Hermann on September 16, 1908. But their eldest son was not born here, but in 1905 in Loitsche about 20 km north of Magdeburg, so to speak as a consequence of mother-in-law’s meddlesome behavior. Behind the interruption of the birth sequence in Wolmirstedt we may see Friedrich’s attempt to escape from the scene of a now poisoned family atmosphere.
Acting on his wife’s prompting Friedrich tried to establish a new economic base in another trade. A determining factor may also have been the return of his brother Ferdinand from the United States, who failed to realize his economic plans there. Suddenly his younger brother was making inheritance claims on business and property, which Friedrich obviously did not recognize as valid. Considering the additional fact the economic picture of the land was not exactly rosy, it is not hard to understand that the flour and feed business was slow and did not prosper in Wolmirstedt.
Unnerving were also the events, which their brother Hermann recalled 90 years later. Grandmother Louise Weihe of Zielitz without any commercial experience interfered in all matters pertaining to the purchase and sale of goods. To add insult to injury, she circulated all kinds of rumors about her son-in-law and family with harmful effects on the business. To make matters worse, her sister started also to pour oil on the fire.
One particular rumor was making the rounds among family members. The insidious claim was that Emma’s daughter Anna Auguste Louise (1885-1967) had an illegitimate child, whose father was supposed to have been the ‘Polish Jew Grasmück’. Actually the story was quite different, as will be explained in another post on my Aunt Anna at a later date. The nonsense, completely made up of thin air, broke the camel’s back.
All these events cast some light on the chasm-deep hateful feelings, which the mother-in-law from Zielitz dumped without any compunction on the Klopp family. On the other hand, the Emma Klopp side in turn did not hesitate to make Friedrich worry a lot about his inheritance, Insults and cantankerousness dominated from now on the scene of the warring parties.
The Widening Gulf within the Klopp Family
In 1903 or at the latest in early 1904 Emma Klopp had relocated in distant West Prussia. One is tempted to interpret the move as flight from unpleasant family relations regarding the ownership of the house in Wolmirstedt. Then in June 1905 her third son Ferdinand unexpectedly showed up in town. He had just returned from the United States. His brother Friedrich passed on the property to him presumably on the basis of unclear and unresolved inheritance issues. He retreated to the neighboring village of Loitsche. It appears, however, that within the year rope maker Ferdinand must have ceded ownership back to his disgruntled brother. He followed his mother Emma to West Prussia.
Under almost unbearable chaotic conditions Friedrich managed to bridge the short time gap in Loitsche through masonry work. It provided adequate income during the building boom period at that particular time. In the fall of 1905 the Friedrich Klopp family returned to the Wolmirstedt house. A few months before on July 15, 1905 his son Friedrich was born in Loitsche. It appears his father Friedrich had finally won the battle for the house and the rope making factory. In reality it was a Pyrrhic victory. Malice and viciousness from family members accompanied Friedrich’s private attempts to disentangle the often chaotic financial and inheritance problems that he was facing. Without any legally binding papers he had to put up with the never ending claims made on the property in Wolmirstedt. Thus, under such fruitless prospects he took over his father’s business. The cost of his return to the rope making business was high. It led to the irreparable break-up with nearly all his siblings and his mother Emma.
The Collapse of the Wolmirstedt Business Venture
Within five years the Klopp and Weihe families had added amongst and against each other so many wounds that only after a century one can look at them with a certain emotional detachment. They should not remain the last ones. Within the course of one generation, the two families had drifted apart and the deep gulf of enmity between them was steadily widening. In the Weihe family the daughter did no longer communicate with her mother, in the Klopp family mother, brothers, sisters no longer with Emma’s eldest son. In the Klopp/Weihe family – no longer worth being called a family – all members completely acted out their mutual dislikes emerging out of the most varied and unlikely causes.
In the Klopp house in Wolmirstedt Friedrich devoted all his energies to the business. For the boat people on the River Ohre he produces ropes and cords, which the rope manufacturing plant ‘Seilerei von Friedrich Klopp’ kept ready for his costumers. Furthermore, he acquired a piece of land with a workshop south of the Ohre bridge on the right side on the road to Elbeu. There Friedrich and his workers twisted hemp fiber into ropes, The length of the ‘rope course’ was 15 m. In front of the bridge ramp the last house on the left at the Magdeburg Str. was the inn ‘At the Anchor’ (Zum Anker). It served as the meeting place for the Ohre boaters and was strategically located only 40 m from Friedrich’s factory and residence. Diagonally across stood ‘Fatje’s Hotel’, which served as a kind of exchange agency for goods and services, where the Wolmirstedt business elite would do their trading transactions. At the business table would often sit among other dignitaries Carl Loß (1865 – 1937), owner of a nobleman’s estate and of the largest sugar and starch factory of the region. Through him Friedrich primarily sold his various rope products. Ropes and nets were very useful and much-needed during harvest time. In order to secure the safe transport of sugar beets on the horse-drawn wagons they found much use in the Loß’s agricultural enterprise.
In these years 1907 and 1908 two more children were born to the Friedrich Klopp family. Under slowly deteriorating economic conditions Friedrich managed to provide food and shelter for his growing family until 1912, when he gave up his business. The steady decline of shipping on the Ohre River reduced the profitability of his business. The taking down of the old wooden Hindenburg Bridge in 1908 and the long wait for the construction of the new stone bridge cut off Friedrich’s access to the market, further diminishing his already declining business. Add to these problems new attempts by his brother Ferdinand to seize house and business and we find the perfect recipe for financial ruin and disaster.
Midwife Marie-Louise Klopp (1880 – 1924)
In response to her mother’s endless disturbing attacks, Marie-Louise told her with an oath, “I am going to move with my family so far away that you cannot visit and bother me any more.” She resolutely converted this intention into reality. The former seamstress took up nurses’ training at the Wolmirstedt hospital to become a qualified midwife. Even against this career choice her mother voiced her opposition, although Marie-Louise after 12 years of marriage has been out of her parental home for such a long time. According to her mother’s distorted and overheated fantasies, Marie-Louise was entering a field that somehow was connected to the world of the ‘wise women’ and ‘witches’ of the Middle Ages. Indeed, according to her opinion, this was an evil consequence of her daughter marrying into the Jewish Klopp clan. From this point on, the few remaining family connections broke off all together.
Marie-Louise started her work as midwife in 1912 in Algenstedt, north of Gardelegen, where the family had acquired a house at the outskirts of the village. Friedrich found employment as mason or rather as laborer here and in the neighboring towns and villages. Marie-Louise, by having chosen the profession of midwifery, displayed in this male-dominated world a high degree of personal independence. Her work proved to be highly useful in the following years, especially during World War I. While her husband Friedrich was fighting in the war, she became the major bread earner of the family of four children. Fortunately Friedrich returned unharmed from the war. In 1921/22 he got together with his brother-in-law August Diesing (1875-1939) to prepare for a construction business. The plan was to acquire an older, unused school building close to Gommern by putting in a bid for that property. The devaluation of money and the collapse of the German economy put a quick end to their dream.
On the other hand, from 1912 and 1924, his wife Marie-Louise built up an excellent reputation for being a competent and reliable midwife in the towns, villages and farms north of Gardelegen. Unheard of at a time, when men dominated the work place, she was the one in the Klopp family, who put bread and butter on the table. Her son Friedrich together with his siblings Liesbeth and Hermann attended the tiny one-room school at Algenstedt. The eldest sister Frieda took care of the younger siblings and general household duties during the frequent absences of their mother.
They all remembered the tame crow ‘Jacob’, which rain or shine sat on the bike’s mudguard of Mother Klopp and traveled along. In-between it would disappear in the long treed boulevards and waited there for her return. Hours later it would travel back with her to Algenstedt. One day a neighbor shot the poor crow, because it had pulled the clothes pins off the wash line.
Night shifts, hardships, a weak physical constitution, last but not least, constantly recurring trouble with her mother brought about her premature death at the young age of 44. From the Zielitz family nobody showed up for the funeral of their ‘Jewish-affiliated’ daughter.
Friedrich’s Second Marriage with Auguste Berlin
Shortly before Auguste Louise Klopp’s early death the family of the mason Friedrich Klopp moved to Hemstedt, about 6 km south of Algenstedt. The commotion and upheaval surrounding the relocation to yet another residence were taxing Auguste’s energies to the very limits of what she could bear. She suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in Hemstedt on August 9, 1924. This came as a severe blow for the family, especially for her husband who had so far depended on her income.
At the local cemetery you can see still today (1990) the lebensbaum trees, which her then 16-year old son Hermann had planted at her grave site. At the most recent residence widower Friedrich Klopp continued to live for a while with his two youngest children Liesbeth (born 1907) and Hermann (born 1908).
On December 22, 1927 Friedrich married the well-to-do widow Auguste Berlin (née Müller) in Gardelegen. The marriage remained childless. Occupationally and privately, things from this point on were looking up. In 1928 the couple acquired in Gardelegen the house at Alte Heerstraße 14 (now Street of the Victims of Fascism). The recently remodeled and pleasant house is still standing today.
In the masonry line of business Friedrich Klopp quickly gained recognition for his workmanship and advanced to become an experienced construction project manager. In the 1930’s he maintained a financially sound and profitable enterprise. He built several residential houses not to mention a bakery complete with a sales outlet, which turned out to be the largest commercial bakery in town.
The loosening of the ties with the antisemitic Zielitz family of his late wife was like an inner liberation for Friedrich. But being at heart friendly and good-natured, he did not completely sever his contacts. Due to age and declining health he gave up his business in 1937. His son Hermann did not have what it takes to run his father’s construction enterprise.
The Last 5 Years of Friedrich’s Life (1941 -1946)
In the summer of 1941 Friedrich Klopp’s eldest son, Friedrich (1905 – 1988), the father of the author Eberhard Klopp, paid the only visit to his family in Gardelegen. During World War 2 family members exchanged a few postcards, which have been preserved and indicate that to a minimal extent some important information, such as deaths, was being passed around in spite of the prevailing family feud.
At one point Friedrich mentioned in his correspondence Emma Klopp, but did not know about her death in 1941, a clear indication that forty years after the deplorable events in Wolmirstedt his sister Anna von Waldenfels (1885 – 1967) had maintained her distance to her brother Friedrich.
The tragic death of his 9-year grandson Hermann badly shook him up. In the summer after the war Hermann and several of his friends had carelessly played with an anti-aircraft shell, which they had found lying around from old German army stocks. The shell went off with devastating effects. Hermann and several of his playmates were killed. (Chapter XIII of the P. and G. Klopp Story will also deal with the danger of playing with WWII ammunition, which still posed a threat to life and limb in the forests, where battles were fought near the end of war).
Grandfather Friedrich died in Gardelegen on November 3, 1946. In the cold and wintry postwar period his eldest son Friedrich succeeded in making the perilous trip from Naumburg to the funeral in Gardelegen. On his way he had to run the gauntlet of all kinds of armed guards of the Soviet Occupied Zone and also of the Russian military police. They were aggressively searching for former soldiers and ‘other fascists’, black market dealers and smugglers, people crossing the border and those fit to be deported into labor camps. All these men and perhaps women too were the preferred targets in the overcrowded, filthy and unheated trains of those days, Under such conditions in the former Soviet Zone Friedrich undertook the journey of almost two days in a life threatening experience. A special permit of the Leuna Works in Merseburg rescued Friedrich Klopp out of quite a few unpleasant situations. Two brothers and two sisters saw each other for the last time at their father’s grave site.
Here ends the story of Peter and Emma’s eldest child and my uncle Friedrich Klopp.
Juliane Klopp (1877-1960)
The Viennese ‘Artist’ and Hotel Owner at Scharmützel Lake (Chart I – II)
On June 15 I concluded the story of Friedrich Klopp, the eldest child of my grandparents Peter and Emma Klopp. Now it is time to turn our attention to my aunt Jula (Juliane). She was born on February 2, 1877 in Elbeu. Her father P.F.W. Klopp at the time was still a miller’s apprentice in the neighboring town of Jersfelde. As a young girl she went for her education to Vienna and spent her teenage years in the home of her aunt Luise Necker née Bauer. Due to her long stay the good-looking Klopp daughter was known as Miss Necker.She maintained close ties with the arts and theater circles centered around the “Carl Theater” in Vienna.
Around the turn of the century Jula Klopp became acquainted with Friedrich Steuer, son of a the mining magnate. The Steuers like Jula’s foster parent Max Necker had made a fortune by owning and profitably operating a coal mine in the Harz Mountains near Blankenburg.
A chance encounter during vacation time at that tourist center developed into a serious relationship. At the wedding of the 23 year old Jula with Fritz Steuer, called the Moose, there was talk about a dowry in the amount of 80,000 gold marks. The wedding took place at the upper class hotel “White Elk” in Dresden. Friedrich and Jula Steuer lived during the first years of their marriage in Berlin-Karlshorst.
To read about my visit to Aunt Jula in 1959 on a previous post, click here.
Young Artist and Hotel Owner Juliane Steuer (about 1900)
At the beach road at Scharmützel Lake leading up to Diensdorf Fritz Steuer and his wife Emma Juliane acquired in 1911 a brick manufacturing plant. It was located very close to today’s guesthouse “Café Glück Auf”. Around 1912/13 the couple built a villa there, which was connected to the machine shop of the brick factory. In the mid 1920’s Friedrich Steuer added yet another building, ‘Hotel Seehof”, which survived the GDR years as a vacation center by the name of “Franz-Kirsch-Heim”. In 2006 it was rescued from falling into disrepair, was completely modernized and turned into a 4-star hotel.
In 1923 Fritz employed the two Klopp brothers Ferdinand (1879-1952) and Hermann (1892-1937) in his Diensdorf work place. In response to inflation and decreasing demand for building materials the Steuers converted their villa into a hotel. They called it “Gasthof und Fremdenlogis Strandhotel” (Guesthouse and Beach Hotel ). It was here that Juliane’s sister Else Klopp (1895- 1934) got acquainted with her future husband, army defense officer Drusus Stier. The beach hotel was a favorite meeting place for officers of the garrison town of Fürstenwalde/Spree. Also brother Ernst Klopp, my father, came shortly before his wedding for a longer visit at his eldest sister.
When her brother Hermann Klopp ran into financial difficulties on his estate Breitenberg/Pomerania in the early 1930’s, Jula helped him out with obtaining a mortgage by providing the required security. When Hermann was unable to make the payments, Jula lost a huge sum of money that she was never able to retrieve in spite of the fact that she won several court battles with the creditors after Hermann’s death in 1937. The specter of bankruptcy was looming on the horizon. Eventually the couple lost the factory, the two hotels and was forced to move to Berlin, where with the remnant of their liquid assets they were able to run a small pub at Feldstrasse 2. The childless couple separated, but refrained from formal divorce. Friedrich Steuer died in Berlin in 1934, suffering from lip cancer.
The now 57-year old Jula acquired a house in Köpenick, Am Spielplatz 13. In 1938 she spent some time at my father’s place at the Ernst-Flos-Hof estate in Belgard. During her stay she created an oil painting depicting a beach scene at the Baltic Sea.
Jula survived as widow the Hitler years, World War II, and the early years of the German Democratic Republic almost up to the building of the Berlin Wall. To see an earlier post of my visit to Aunt Jula, click here.
After the war she gave up all her properties and retired in the picturesque garden section of Köpenick, where she lived in a modest cottage for the remaining years of her life getting by on a small pension, to which she was entitled from her late husband Friedrich Steuer, from whom she was never formally divorced. From this sad period there is a photo, which shows a friendly, kind, somewhat sad Klopp portrait of an old lady that had seen better days. On account of the photo session she dressed up with a pearl necklace and ermine fur. Completely impoverished she passed away on June 8, 1980 at the age of 83.
Friedrich Otto Karl Klopp (1878-1957)
Participant in the Boxer Rebellion (Chart I – II)
To see the Klopp family tree, click here.
Karl, the third child of Friedrich and Emma Klopp (my grandparents), was born in Jersleben on March 25, 1878. From 1884 to 1892 he attended the elementary school in Wolmirstedt and after that was apprentice and then journeyman at the number of dairies. Until 1898 he was employed in Ebersberg, Bavaria. From there he was drafted as a recruit on October 14, 1898 into the third company of the First Rifle battalion in Straubing. A year later he was promoted to the rank of Oberjäger (corporal).
From July 1900 he belonged to the allied armed forces whose task was to quell the so-called Boxer Rebellion in China. As this part of imperialistic history may not be known to many readers of my blog, until myself included, I digress from the narrative of Karl’s adventurous year in China with the following excerpt from wikipedia.org.
The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement was an anti-imperialist uprising which took place in China towards the end of the Qing dynasty between 1899 and 1901. It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yihetuan), known in English as the “Boxers”, and was motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and opposition to foreign imperialism and associated Christian missionary activity. The Great Powers intervened and defeated the Chinese forces.
The uprising took place against a background of severe drought and the disruption caused by the growth of foreign spheres of influence. After several months of growing violence against the foreign and Christian presence in Shabdong and the North China plain, in June 1900, Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Bejing with the slogan “Support Qing government and exterminate the foreigners.” Foreigners and Chinese Christians sought refuge in the Legation Quarter. In response to reports of an armed invasion to lift the siege, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi supported the Boxers and on June 21 declared war on the foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians and soldiers as well as Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were placed under siege by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers for 55 days.
Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favoring conciliation, led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu (Junglu), later claimed that he acted to protect the besieged foreigners. The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back, brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and captured Beijing on August 14, lifting the siege of the Legations. Uncontrolled plunder of the capital and the surrounding, along with the summary execution of those suspected of being Boxers.
The Boxer Protocol of September 7, 1901 provided for the execution of government officials who had supported the Boxers, provisions for foreign troops to be stationed in Beijing, and 450 million taels of silver—more than the government’s annual tax revenue—to be paid as indemnity over the course of the next thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved.
More details of these events in East Asia, the atrocities committed on both sides, the role Germany played in the Eight Nations’ Alliance (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Japan and USA) can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_Rebellion.
Military Service in China and Bavaria (Chart I – II)
To see the Klopp family tree, click here.
During the Boxer Rebellion Karl Klopp first belonged until June 1001 to the 4th East Asian Infantry Regiment ‘Count Montgelas’, then until the completion of the campaign in October 1901 he was part of 2nd Infantry Regiment.
On March 8, 1901 he participated in a mountain battle at the Thanscheng Pass. There he succeeded in the capture of four cannons, for which he received for the first time military recognition. Overall he was awarded during his service the Bavarian medal for bravery, the Prussian military medal, the Austrian First Class Medal for Bravery, the China Commemorative Coin and the Prince Regent Luitpold medal.
After his return from China he served until September 1903 again at his home battalion at Straubing. There on March 1, 1902 he was promoted to the rank of a sergeant. His subsequent assignment to the Infantry Regiment ‘Prince Ruprecht’ can be seen as a special privilege and preference in recognition of his exemplary role as a leader.
During that time he suffered an injury to his left knee and was transferred on October 5, 1903 to the reserve beginning his civilian life.
Karl’s Professional Development
(Klopp Family Tree – Chart I – II)
To see the Klopp family tree, click here.
After his active service of ‘4 years, 11 months and 27 days’ Karl Klopp returned to civilian life. He attended a training course of the agricultural department at Greifswald, Pomerania, and then became adminstrator and manager of dairies and export companies, also construction foreman of the machine assembly plant H.G. Schröder in Lübeck.
In 1905 he succeeded in getting a management position of the dairy in Hüttenkofen near Straubing, Bavaria. In 1907 Karl attended the dairy institute at Nortrup not far from Quakenbrück and obtained the certificate officially qualifying for a management position.
In the same year he married the teacher’s daughter Augusta (neé Hauer). Two daughters Luise (1907) and Auguste (1908) were born. In 1908 Karl bought the dairy of his former employer in Hüttenkofen and also became owner of a house at Radkofer Street 7 with a total assessed value of 29,000 marks. Karl Klopp, industrious and goal-oriented worked his way up into a respectable and wealthy Bavarian dairy owner.
Ferdinand Klopp (1879-1952)
A Somewhat Rocky Start
On November 22, 1879 the fourth child was born in the house on Hemmsack Street in Osterweddingen near Magdeburg. Anyway, these houses – some still existing today- are traditionally ascribed to the dwellings of mill leasers and workers since the 19th century. Already in 1881 Ferdinand moved with his parents back to Jerslebe3n, spent three years there at the Düppler Mill and in 1885 entered the Elementary School of Wolmirstedt, the birth place of my father Ernst. In the nearby town of Jersleben, Ferdinand’s father P.W.F. Klopp had found work as miller master.
In 1893 Ferdinand was sent to Hannoversch-Münden to attend a dairy apprenticeship program. When he returned to his father’s great disappointment after only one year of training, his father forced him to work with his eldest brother Friedrich as a rope maker’s apprentice in the Wolmirstedt house. He had probably shown little interest in his work in Hannoversch-Münden and further increased the image of a good-for-nothing worker under the whip of his elder brother and rope making master Friedrich. The disrespectfully treated Ferdinand was from then on called rather degradingly clown (“Klon”).
Turmoil in the Parental Home at Wolmirstedt
Around the turn of the century the rope maker’s apprentice Ferdinand Klopp turned 21 years of age. The family structure in the overcrowded house in Wolmirstedt threatened to fall apart. The business of rope making was just beginning to secure an income to feed the family. It was also quite foreseeable that the continuously expanding family would soon reach the breaking point.
Although the siblings Jula and Karl, the nineteen-year old Rosa, the eighteen-year old Alma, possibly also the fifteen-old Anna had most likely been placed elsewhere, the parents Emma and Peter Friedrich Klopp still had to care for the remaining five sons and three daughters. In addition, they had to cope with the newly-weds Friedrich, their eldest son, and Marie-Luise Klopp, who was expecting her first child. This all happened at the same time, as my grandmother Emma was expecting her 16th child, my father Ernst Klopp.
In this tense and often emotionally charged atmosphere lack of control and anger were heaped onto the ‘Late Bloomer’ Ferdinand. His father P.F. Klopp turned violent and beat him up on several occasions. The dummy, as Ferdinand was often branded never forgave this kind of humiliation. Father Klopp in the meantime was seeking comfort through beer and schnaps in ‘Fatjes Hotel’ or in the ‘Anchor’. One night in May 1900 his alcoholic excesses cost him his life, when on his way home he fell off his horse.
On a Special Mission to the United States of America
It cannot be stated with certainty whether Ferdinand’s father kicked his son out of the house or whether Mother Emma sent him on a special mission to the USA. In 1900 Ferdinand arrived there and spent almost five years in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago. Ferdinand’s job was to research the market for the usefulness of American varieties of flour and to arrange for their purchase and export to Wolmirstedt, Germany. The mission appears to coincide with the planned acquisition of the water mill at Zielitz. Widow Emma was perhaps calculating improved marketing chances for her business.
But Ferdinand was developing his own life plans. he became engaged to an American woman, which indicated that he may have had plans to stay in the US. But the engagement did not work out, primarily because his mother from the Old Country was pleading for his assistance. For the first time in his life ‘outcast’ Ferdinand was needed on the home front.
He now saw himself in the role of a “savior in times of need”, returned from the US and acted accordingly at the Wolmirstedt house in June, 1905. The relations with his eldest brother Friedrich worsened and soon reached the boiling point resulting in a state of constant enmity between the two brothers and their families. Incapable of carrying on with the rope making business in this poisoned atmosphere, Ferdinand reluctantly or rather craftily passed on the factory to his brother. He did this without being clear about the ownership question with regard to the inheritance of the property. He most likely left that critical question deliberately open in collusion with Emma. When Ferdinand followed his mother to Elsenau, West Prussia (now Poland), in 1905, the property and inheritance question was left precariously hanging in the air.
Charged with Attempted Murder
On a sultry summer evening pub owner Ferdinand Klopp, short-tempered and irascible at the best of times, was quaffing copious amounts of schnaps with his younger brother Wilhelm. As the drinking session was dragging on into the wee hours, the two had an argument over the financial status of the pub ‘Brown Elk’, which they owned and managed together. Wilhelm’s wife, whom mother-in-law Emma later described contemptuously as Satan’s wench, added oil to the fraternal dispute by heaping insults upon her brother-in-law Ferdinand.
With no weapon at hand in such an explosive situation one would expect the dispute to deteriorate into a brawl. However, Ferdinand did have an illegal weapon, an army pistol hidden away somewhere. In his fury he aimed at his brother and pulled the trigger. The shot penetrated Wilhelm’s shoulder and injured his wife, who was standing behind him.
After his arrest Ferdinand, while waiting for the court proceedings to start, spent several weeks as prisoner in the castle at Wolmirstedt. His sentence turned out to be rather mild. The judge dismissed the attempted murder charge. It was clear to him that the accused committed the crime under extremely volatile and emotional circumstances. After being released from prison, Ferdinand handed over the pub to his brother, departed almost like a fugitive and left his home turf around Wolmirstedt in a big hurry.
Ferdinand found refuge at his sister Jula‘s brick and mortar factory, whom I had already mentioned in a previous post. There he found employment and received a modest income. It appears that here in Diensdorf at the beautiful Lake Scharmützel Jula rescued her brothers Ferdinand and the still unmarried younger brother Hermann (1892-1957) from the devious comfort of drinking and carousing that people in trouble often seek as a form of escapism.
Mother Emma and Ferdinand
Klopp Family Tree
Chart I – II
In 1923 Ferdinand acquired the inn “At Recreation” (Zur Erholung) in Hainrode near Sangerhausen. Connected to and supporting operation of the inn was a small farm. Here mother Emma, often traveling from place to place, found a reliable stop-over and return station. She was very thankful to her son for support and encouragement. Ferdinand’s daughters had fond memories of the idyllic hours, when Grandma talked about the olden days and taught them how to dance.
Ferdinand sent the older daughters for their education to a boarding school in Magdeburg, while the youngest daughters Meta and Rosel to the Berlin Lette-House for their trade diploma. There Ferdinand’s sister Anna had already received her education around the turn of the century.
Ferdinand sold the inn in Hainrode in 1930 and acquired a private house in Bad Saarow-Pieskow at Lake Scharmützel. Perhaps in conjunction with his sister Jula’s auctioning off of her hotel, Ferdinand abandoned his property again in 1930. He moved with his wife Rosalie and his two daughters – the other 4 were already on their own – to St. Andreasberg in the Harz Mountains. There he managed for three years the “Hotel at the City Park” (Hotel zum Stadtpark). The property was destroyed in a bombing raid. Already in 1939 the family had moved to Nordhausen. The author of the Klopp Family Chronicles, my distant cousin Eberhard, reported that the daughters Meta and Rosel refused to answer questions as to how their father managed to pay for their upkeep and how he had spent the years during the Nazi era.
Ferdinand Withdraws from the Harsh Realities of Postwar Germany
Before the end of WWII, perhaps in 1944, Ferdinand purchased a larger house in Rhinow, Brandenburg, to secure it as a retirement home. The former hotel, which the now 65 year-old Ferdinand remodeled for private residential use, was located at Dorfstraße 58. Here the entire Ferdinand Klopp family experienced the end of war and a new beginning. The family at that time also included their daughters and sons-in-law, who had returned from the war and POW camps.
The invasion forces of the Red Army declared the building as a Soviet command post. Family documents and photos were permanently lost during the ‘liberation’. The Polish language skills of mother Rosalie, who had been speaking German for the past 50 years and is being described as kind-hearted, hospitable woman, kept her daughters out of harm’s way from the Soviet soldateska notorious for raping girls and women of all ages during and after the end of WWII.
When for property owners life became more and more unbearable in the GDR, embittered Ferdinand began to give away his furniture, farm animals and estates to the people in Rhinow. He transferred title of his house at Dorfstraße 58 to his daughter Margarete Rocke and her two children.
Given to cynicism, he withdrew from the harsh reality of life under the Communist regime and moved with his wife into a little cottage with a flower garden back into the village Strodehne near Rhinow. There he lived for another year, during which time he indulged in his angling passion at the River Havel. On July 17, 1952 his wife found him dead lying in her flower beds. At the age of 73 he had suffered a fatal heart attack.
- Victoria Luise
Anna Rosa Klopp
Introducing the Fifth Child of Friedrich and Emma Klopp
Klopp Family Tree Chart I – II
Rosa’s Marriage with August Diesing
On June 6, 1881 Rosa was born in Jersleben. Her father P.F.W. Klopp had just given up the mill at Osterweddingen due to an interim phase at his trade. In his home town Jersleben he recovered sufficiently to prepare the short-lived enterprise of the ‘Düppler’ mill at Olvenstedt. Since the family returned in 1885 via Magdeburg-Neustadt to Jersleben, Rosa was introduced to the school in 1887 either there or in Wolmirstedt.
She did not resettle with her mother Emma in Elsenau, West Prussia, but married in 1903 the carpenter and later construction master August Diesing (1875-1939) of Atzendorf near Staßfurt. At the time of the wedding he was employed at a local construction company.
Rosa and August had seven children: Werner, Elsbeth, Rosa, Alice, Erika, Willy, and Fritz. The eldest son, most likely born in 1903, wears a marine uniform on a photo from 1920.
Since 1905 at the latest, the family was residing in Gostyn, Posnan and participated in 1908 in the acquisition of a dairy business lease with brother-in-law Ferdinand Klopp (1879 – 1952, see previous posts). Daughter Rosa, known as Rosel, was born there in 1905. Also all subsequent children were born there, before the region became part of the re-established country of Poland.
In 1919 the Diesing family established themselves on a temporary basis at Lebus west of the River Oder. Carpenter Diesing also appeared to have acquired land and worked on it for a while in the agricultural domain.
Futile Rescue Mission for Brother Friedrich
Already in the middle of 1919 the Diesing family resettled in Gommern near Magdeburg. Mother Emma, having to abandon her place in West Prussia, which now belonged to Poland, found temporary shelter with the Diesing family. From here according to a postcard written from the inn “Gasthof zum Stern” Emma made contact with her son Ferdinand in Elbeu.
In 1921 Rosa made a last-ditch attempt to seek reconciliation between the family members most of them leaning towards the Emma Klopp faction and the few others of Emma’s eldest son Friedrich (see the Klopp Grandparents VIII for more details on the bitter family feud that lasted half a century). Friedrich had been written off and treated as an outcast by the rest of the family.
So August Diesing, acting on Rosa’s urgent plea, got together with his brother-in-law Friedrich Klopp. He acquired by auction an abandoned school building with the intention to open up a construction business. The plan seemed to be a promising one, since August with the expertise in masonry and carpentry was well qualified for the envisioned new venture. Friedrich, however, in view of his impoverished financial situation, could at best offer merely his good will and hands for this new type of business.
In a time, when August faced the fate of many others in Germany and struggled with financial problems and increasing unemployment, he gave up his noble plan to help out his wife’s eldest brother with employment and a modest income. Instead, he turned to the other financially more robust members of the Klopp family to support his business. This treachery according to an oracle pronounced by Friedrich’s mother-in-law in Zielitz could not be left unpunished. “Whoever gets involved with the Klopps should know exactly, what he is letting himself into.”
Two Tragic Deaths in one Year
Rosa Diesing née Klopp unexpectedly passed away in Elbeu on December 1, 1924 at the early age of 43 years. Her husband, about whom very little information had been brought to light by the author Eberhard Klopp, had received his just punishment according to her brother’s mother-in-law Louise Weihe. He departed from the place of his ‘misconduct’ and disappeared with the children from the radar screen of the Gardelegen-Zielitz Klopp/Weihe family circles. In the same year, Auguste Weihe, Friedrich’s wife passed away thus fulfilling the sombre and evil oracle that I have alluded to in the previous post. In a footnote the author of the Klopp Family Chronicles, Eberhard Klopp, mentioned however that the two women most likely died of too great a burden and exhaustion through their hard work in caring for their beloved children.
Her daughter Rosel (Rosa), born on September 6, 1905 in Gostyn/Poznan, married the estate manager of the farms now belonging to Poland, Hugo Meyer. In the 1920’s he found employment as electrician at the Grusen-Machine-Works in Magdeburg. Already before the war she and her husband belonged to the Christian Science sect. Their membership was frowned upon as being highly suspect by the Nazi regime and later after the war by the Communist authorities in East Germany (GDR). They had to endure many hardships on account of being spied upon and harassed by both the Nazi and Communist regimes. During the GDR times they camouflaged their meetings of their brothers and sisters in faith by calling them coffee parties (Kaffee-Kränzchen). After Germany’s reunification in 1989 the congregation was allowed to use the church hall of the Evangelical Church at Magdeburg-Lemsdorf. From now on they also could openly receive religious literature and audio cassettes from the West.
The youngest Diesing daughter Erika was married to a dentist, who after long-lasting use morphine died of a nerve disease. In her second marriage she lived with an official of the town of Kirn/Nahe. Erika was still alive in 1990. Since the three sons Werner, Willy and Fritz died in action during WWII, the male family line of the Diesing family has thus become extinct.
Alma, the Sixth Child of Friedrich and Emma Klopp
Foreword by Peter Klopp
Aunt Alma is the only person in the Klopp family, with whom I maintained a correspondence until her death in 1975. As a young man I paid two visits to Berlin-Köpenick, where she resided, the first before and the second after the building of the Berlin Wall. Her son-in-law Arthur Thieß, whom I called Uncle because of the huge age difference, continued the correspondence. Until his passing we exchanged letters, documents and photos providing an invaluable source of data on my early childhood environment at Gutfelde (Zlotniki) near Dietfurt (today’s Znin in Poland).
Alma was born as the sixth child in the ‘Düppler’ mill of Olvenstedt near Magdeburg on December 6, 1882. At the age of 22 she got married in Berlin on January 14, 1905 to the farmer’s son Otto Scholz. He had his roots in Sosnitza-Steinksheim (today Polish Sosnica at the Lutynia river) about 10 km southwest of Pleszew, where he was born on November 27, 1880.
Otto Scholz was employed as coachman by lamp manufacturer Wessel, who at that time the entire 25 ha peninsula Schwanenwerder/Havel (known as Sandwerder until 1902). Here the children Otto (1906), Else (1907), Charlotte (1908), and Willi (1910) were born. Otto Scholz participated in the battles of WWI and returned safe and sound from the war to his hometown. In the starvation year of 1917 their daughter Charlotte was sent to a children’s care facility in East Prussia, where she died after coming down with dysentery. Since Otto was noticed for the adroit handling of horses during the war years by an army veterinarian, he found employment in 1918 at the Berlin Veterinarian Institute (later taken over by the Humboldt University). During the production of serum Otto Scholz contracted blood poisoning and anthrax, of which he died on February 13, 1919.
Alma and her Family
Alma. widow at 37, did not marry again. During WWII she lived in the Friedrichstraße in Berlin close to Strausberg Square. There, already 63 years of age, she lost her home during a bombing raid in 1943. From that time on she lived with her daughter Else and her son-in-law Artur Thieß.
Her two sons Otto and Willi did not return from the war. Willi died in action on Christmas Eve 1943 in Finland, while Otto was reported missing in East Prussia at the beginning of January 1945. He probably perished with thousands of refugees and injured soldiers, when the hospital vessel “Wilhelm Gustloff” sank in the icy Baltic Sea, after being torpedoed by a Soviet submarine on January 30, 1945.
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has the following to say and I quote, “The MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a German military transport ship which was sunk on 30 January 1945 by Soviet submarine S-13 in the Baltic Sea while evacuating German civilians, Nazi officials and military personnel from Gdvnia (Gotenhafen) as the Red Army advanced. By one estimate, 9,400 people died, which makes it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.” Lucky were those who survived the war, because they had been refused to board the already overcrowded ship.
Active and Mentally Alert to the End
At the end of World War II Else was the only surviving child of the Scholz family. Else had married the engineer Artur Thieß. He is the one I called Uncle Artur, even though he was my cousin by marriage. He was born in Rastenburg, East Prussia,in 1905. For twenty years he had been active in the technical division of the German Post Office. After the war he was teaching at the institute of engineering within the East German postal system. There his talents found recognition and he quickly advanced to the position of lecturer at the department of engineering and electronics specializing in low-frequency applications in Berlin-Lichtenberg. In 1952 he published a book on low-frequency transmissions. He also frequently served as guest lecturer at the famous Humboldt University. [Knowing my interest in the field of electronics, he now and then sent me textbooks on transistor theory and practice.It was apparently permitted to mail books from the German Democratic Republic to the West, but not in the opposite direction.]
The surviving children of the Thieß marriage were all female: Ingrid, Gerlinde, Antje (see photo below) and Silvia. They were all known to me through my two visits in 1959 and 1962.
In the tender loving care of her daughter Else and son-in-law Artur Thieß, Aunt Alma passed away on September 10, 1975 at the age of 93. Mentally alert until the very end she reached the oldest age of the entire Friedrich and Emma Klopp family.
August Otto Wilhelm Klopp (1884-1886)
The Short Life of Emma’s Seventh Child
After the mill business in Olvenstedt turned out to be a complete disaster in 1883 at the very latest, P.F.W. Klopp and his wife Emma moved with their six children to Magdeburg- Neustadt. The people they dealt with, work prospects and accommodation remain a gap still to be filled in the family research. The fact is that Emma’s ninety-one year old grandfather Johann Christian Bauer of Jewish ancestry passed away on December 16, 1883 in Magdeburg-Sudenburg. What amount of inheritance he bequeathed to the Emma Klopp family can no longer be ascertained, but must have been considerable. For it secured the next six years of living expenses in Jersleben and must have formed the basis for the acquisition of a house and property in Wolmirstedt further down the road.
While enjoying the unexpected financial blessing, Emma was also thankfully looking forward to her seventh pregnancy. In August 1884 she bore in Magdeburg-Neustadt her fourth son (seventh child) August Otto Wilhelm. Although Emma was briefly hospitalized in and around this time, the possibility of a hospital birth in those days must be excluded. Besides Emma Klopp was of a robust physical constitution and always gave birth at home without any complications.
Remark: Every once in a while I need to remind my readers, who praise me for the research on the Klopp family, that the author of this amazing story of our ancestry is not I but Eberhard Klopp, a distant cousin of mine. After an intensive research over a period of many years in the 90’s he published the results in Germany under the title “Ein Brief an die Nachfahren der Familie Klopp aus Altendorf/Brome und Wolmirstedt“. Since many of the descendants have spread all over the North American continent and most of them no longer speak German, I endeavored to translate the relevant parts of his book into English.
A Photo Gallery of Znin,
where I was born
Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org except for picture of the hospital
Chart I – III
Znin is a modern town in an area with a rich history going back to Roman times. The visitor will find more information on this beautiful town and its many cultural and touristic attractions on Wikipedia and many other sites. I will limit today’s presentation to just the pictures to give a sense of where I come from. You can read more in Chapter 5 of the P. and G. Klopp story to be posted soon. If anyone of the Polish visitors of our blog knows the town well and would be so kind to tell if the old hospital building still exists, I would be extremely grateful.
Mother Recites Wedding Poem
Chart I – II
by Peter Klopp
My apologies to our relatives and friends in North America, who do not know the German language! This video done entirely in German is based on an audio tape that Mother (Mutter Köhm) had sent to us in the month of May 1966 to congratulate us in typical Kegler tradition with a poem, which she had composed herself for the occasion of our wedding.
Birth Story of our Daughter Azure Ophira Klopp
Submitted by her Parents Richard Klopp and Youki Cropas
Chart I – IV & V
Azure: Blue sky, infinity.
Ophira: Mythical place of gold and richness
Born Saturday September 12th, 2009 approximately 3:17 am, on the half moon
Nearly 40 hours of labor
6 and a half pounds, 52 cm
This is the birth story of our daughter Azure Ophira Klopp, born Saturday Sept. 12th, 2009, as told by her mother, Youki Elizabeth Kate Cropas, and her father Richard Walter Paul Klopp. This birth story was been re-written for the wonderful family tree project that Peter Klopp has been working so hard on, a legacy that will be left to the Klopp family. The significance of Azure is blue sky and infinity, while Ophira is a mythical place of richness and treasures. Her parents Richard and Youki both loved the colors deep blue & gold, symbolic of the deep sea & sky in Tofino where they committed to each other. It was important for them that their first child together be graced with poetic imagery and meaning. It was the morning of a late summer day on September 10th when Richard and Youki met for coffee with a student in the Mile End, the Social Club. Manjula had just started architecture school in Halifax where Youki had completed her Master’s of architecture and she wanted to share some of her experiences there. As the three of them chatted pleasantly on the terrace, Youki started feeling some small cramps and suspected that her labor had started. She kept the news to herself however and only announced it to Richard when they started walking home once they were alone again. It was an hour walk and though Richard insisted on taking a cab, it was a beautiful sunny day and Youki preferred the walk. It was Youki’s first pregnancy so she didn’t expect Azure to come too quickly. That night, she was up all night with contractions that were 10 minutes apart. Richard made her a big bowl of rice at 4 in the morning with nutritional yeast so that she could have lasting energy towards the end of the labor when she wouldn’t be able to eat much. The next morning on September 11th Richard and Youki called their midwife Maggie to cancel their weekly appointment and to let her know that Azure was on her way. Maggie came by at 4 pm that afternoon when the contractions were 5 minutes apart, but Youki was only 1 1/2 cm dilated. This was not very much she admitted but a good sign that everything was doing its job. Maggie has been particularly stressed in the last few months that Azure may be born prematurely since her head was very low throughout the entire pregnancy. She mentioned at that point that due to this reason the latent labor would probably be long, but that the active labor would likely be a lot quicker. She went home after doing the routine checkup and told Richard and Youki to call her when they felt that things were progressing.
Throughout the previous year Youki had joked several times about how funny it would be if the baby were born on Richard’s birthday, September 12th, though the due date was the 18th. Her own mother and sister had had all of their births 1-2 weeks earlier than their expected due dates, so Youki had this in the back of her mind. They thought it would be really interesting if Azure were born on 999 (September 9th, 2009), which had just passed. If anything however, Richard and Youki were especially hoping that the baby would not come on ”9/11” (Sept. 11), the day that the New York World Trade Center plane crashes took place in 2001 and which the world so vividly remembered. Anecdotes aside however, it was looking like Azure would make her way into the world on September 11th. Anyway to continue on with the story, Maggie the 60 year old British midwife had just left around 5 pm and Richard and Youki figured that they may as well try to carry on as normal as possible to help the labor progress. They decided to walk over to Malhi-Sweets, a famous Indian restaurant on Jarry Street to get some samosas for diner. They actually just wanted to go for a nice long walk and since Malhi-Sweets was across a very large park that the family spent a lot of time playing and picnicking in Little Italy, it seemed like the perfect thing to do. It took them three hours to make the walk over and back. In the previous months they had practiced hypno-birthing with a famous hypnotherapist from Belgium, Jean-Claude Zekris, who had brought hypno-birthing to Montreal. So they were stopping with every 5-minute contraction to relax, trying to apply the relaxation techniques they had learned from Jean-Claude. Meanwhile Youki’s good friend Liane McCrea had come over with her daughter Ëloise to babysit Richard’s son Mateo who was 10 years old at the time. It was planned that Mateo would sleep at her place and come back right after the baby was born. They all ate samosas together and enjoyed good laughs, especially when Ëloise would ask Youki, “Why are you closing your eyes?”, which was each time she had a contraction. She was about 3 years old at the time.
By 11 pm that evening, Youki’s contractions were two minutes apart and getting very intense. Liane had gone home after supper with the kids and Richard called the midwife to let her know it was time for her to come. She arrived with her intern, set up everything she needed for the birth and stayed for a few hours. She checked Youki and unfortunately she had hardly dilated since 4 pm that afternoon, she was only at 2 cm. Youki tried to stay optimistic and smile but she was extremely discouraged. She had felt like the labor had progressed so much but here the midwife was telling her that it hadn’t despite the fact that she was in a lot of pain and things were getting really intense. She was expected to dilate another 8 cm to give birth. In Youki’s head the math told her she’d be in labor for another 2 1/2 days, which felt grueling and impossible! The midwife asked her how this made her feel. And though she was hoping to be further along, Youki said she had no choice but to keep going. She told herself though that if the baby was not born by the next morning she would have to go to the hospital. She didn’t even know if she could keep going that long. Maggie insisted that Youki was not in active labor because she was too relaxed. She mentioned before leaving that if she was really in active labor she wouldn’t be looking at the midwives in the eyes and talking to them, especially smiling and laughing between contractions. When a woman is in active labor she becomes “wild” she said. So she suggested Youki take a bath and try to relax to ease the pain of the contractions, then take some Tylenol and go to bed for the night try to get some sleep between contractions. This seemed so surreal and impossible for Youki! There was absolutely no chance in the world she could lie down and try to ‘sleep’ between contractions, she already felt like she was in active labor.
There was a choice to make at that point. Maggie was willing to stay, but midwives can only work a certain maximum number of hours before requiring a replacement, so if they wanted her to be there for the delivery, she would have to go home to sleep for a few hours. Youki and Richard were torn between their instincts, telling them that the birth was imminent, and the rational advice of their midwife, based on decades of experience. Both Richard and Youki really liked Maggie and wanted her to be present to assist them in bringing Azure into the world. And so Maggie and her student left around 3:00 am and told them to call in a few hours once things were progressing. She looked at Youki before leaving and told that given this was her first baby, the birth could be much longer. Once they left, Youki tried to relax as much as she could in a hot bath. After checking in with Youki, Richard went back to bed to try to rest a little. They were both quite desperate and exhausted, although they dared not burden the other with their worries.
Youki was about to give birth in a few minutes but didn’t know it; with everything the midwife had told her, she really believed that she would be in excruciating pain for another 12 hours. And on top of that they didn’t even have Tylenol in the house since they didn’t know that Youki was allowed to take it. It was 3 o’clock in the morning, where could they find Tylenol at this time? With Youki desperate, she even considered calling Jean-Claude the hypnotist at this point but he was currently in Europe for training, as Richard gently reminded her. Richard called Youki’s brother Francis instead who lives on the other side of town. He had told them to call anytime if they needed help. He sprung immediately into action. Unfortunately, he had no Tylenol, but said that he would find a pharmacy and drive over as quickly as he could.
As soon as Richard got off the phone the contractions suddenly became unbearable and Youki got out of the mini-sized bath very quickly to walk around. She had a couple contractions and suddenly rushed back to the washroom where her water broke. Since this was Youki’s first birth however and since she was getting a little delirious from the fatigue and pain, she forgot that she had waters to ‘break’. She actually thought that she had hemorrhaged. She felt her body going completely out of control as she had another contraction. She made a very strange sound and Richard came running into the bathroom asking what was going on, looking worried. Confused, Richard looked down and suddenly his eye grew very large as he saw the baby’s head crowning. Youki’s first reaction was to go back into the bathtub (the mini bathtub!) … but Richard redirected her half-carrying, half-hopping towards the living room. There was a moment of extreme panic when suddenly they both realized that they were going to be alone to deliver the baby. Looking into each other’s eyes there was also an awakened confidence that they would achieve this together, the way people had been since the beginning of time. With a sudden burst of adrenaline they committed themselves to this final step under the living room skylight. Everything was going into slow motion.
Unexpectedly with the next contraction Azure’s head came out. Quickly with Azure newborn head in one hand, and the phone in the other, Richard called the midwife to let her know the baby was being born. Maggie had just gone to bed and said that she was on her way right back. She gave some reassuring advice and told them to call 911 so that someone could get there as soon as possible. Richard only managed to call 911 after the Azure was born however, since she came out with the next two contractions. The cord was quite long and it was wrapped around her neck three times. Very carefully, Richard and Youki unwound her slippery warm body from the cord and he laid her on her mother’s chest. “Is she OK?” Youki kept asking Richard. As if understanding, Azure gave out a tiny cry to let her parents know that she was alive and began breathing on her own as she lay on her mother’s chest. Her parents massaged her back to stimulate her breathing while talking to her, but mostly trying to reassure themselves, that everything would be ok. They were both in shock and in an incredible state of physical relief, which enveloped them like a dream. The room was so still. It was the middle of the night and all we could hear was breathing.
Suddenly a crew of five firemen came thumping up the long staircase and burst into the apartment. In single file, they came straight into the living room, making a semicircle around Richard and Youki, who were still in the exact position as when the baby was born with expressions of bliss and being lost in another dimension. What a scene: the bloodied towels, bowls, and clothes; a baby on her mother’s naked body with the umbilical cord still attached; and the father crouched over them, with a gaze that was unbroken by the sudden commotion. They stopped in their tracks and when they saw that mom and baby were not in danger, they stepped back into more relaxed poses and beamed proud smiles to be part of such a precious moment. The offered congratulations and joked that they couldn’t really do much to help, but that paramedics were on the way and probably more suitable for the job. In the rush of trying to find the receiving blankets that the midwives had put away, newborn Azure was covered with the closest available material to keep warm, a cloth diaper. The ambulance arrived and two female paramedics came running up and entered the room. Richard and Youki told them their midwife would arrive shortly, which she did. She later admitted that it was only because she burned through every red light in the city!
Maggie came running up the stairs with her clothes on backwards and completely flustered. One glance at Youki and the baby in good health, and she authoritatively waved everyone home. There was a brief, tense moment as the paramedics hesitated, staring somewhat suspiciously at the midwife. Whew!! Richard and Youki were relieved that neither the firemen, nor the paramedics had asked them to neither move nor go to the hospital. They were very respectful in not disturbing their calm and peaceful home. They were actually quite touched and had big smiles on their faces. One of them was actually teary, not the normal, everyday kind of emergency call.
Once everyone left, the midwife ask if Youki might not be more comfortable on the couch, instead of somewhat awkward birthing position on the floor – which granted, was infinitely more comfortable than the labor, so Youki had hardly noticed. The midwife then gently assisted with the rest of the process, including the cutting of the umbilical cord, which she offered to Richard. Not long after, the student midwife came back, followed by Francis a few minutes later. He had heard the new baby sounds, as he came slowly and quietly up the stairs, Tylenol and a bag of food in hand, ready to have coffee with Richard (he had thought Youki was going to be in labor all night!). He was so bewildered that Azure was already born; he sat down quietly in a corner and just basked in the moment.
Azure lay on Youki’s chest for two hours, warm and untouched, to bond with her parents while the midwives quietly took care of everything else. It felt like the ideal way to gently bring a baby into the world. They proceeded to weigh her, checked her were physical health, made sure everything was fine and left in the morning at am after they assured everyone was in good spirits and healthy. Richard and Youki were still high from their experience which felt so surreal & powerful, and somehow connected to the primal collective memory of humanity. It was like they had lived a sacred ritual in the space of their our own intimacy and they were left very empowered by it. The best part in all of this is that they wouldn’t have wanted it to happen any other way. They felt that in a hospital the staff would not have been so patient to let them go on with such a long labor and that they would have been pressured to give into interventions, perhaps even a c-section. As for Maggie the midwife, she was just beside herself. She had never had anything like this happen to her before in her over 40 years of experience.
Though Maggie wasn’t present when Azure decided to come into the world, Richard and Youki were thrilled to have had her be part of their journey with them. It turns out that Azure has something in common with her grandfather Peter Klopp, who was also born on one of his parents’ birthday, his mother Erika Klopp. Richard delivered his daughter Azure Ophira on his own birthday, an insurmountable gifted treasure from the sky that will forever be cherished.
What delight to have had you with us last August! You won our hearts with your wonderful smiles. Your bright eyes brought joy and happiness during our family reunion at Taite Creek Campsite. I remember when I observed you play with just few objects, while you were standing at the cooler. In your vivid imagination you turned the most common things like spoons, a tube of toothpaste, wooden sticks into drum sticks, which you used to create powerful rhythmic sound, while the rest of the family were down at the beach. Best of all, Opa admired your intelligence that you demonstrated to me and the whole family, when you quickly pointed to the little fox on your highchair, every time I asked, “Show me the fox!”
As time goes by, I hope to receive more stories and photos from Richard and Youki. This little story with a picture will go right away onto our family tree page. Azure will be on the next post.
Azure Klopp (Chart I – V)
Our family reunion in the summer of 2014 was a great success. For the first time in a long time we had the entire Klopp family united. The fine August weather allowed us to spend some time together at Taite Creek campground. Even though it was very hectic at times, we all enjoyed being together and experienced the magic of belonging together as a family.
Azure fitted right in. Her great-grandmother on Opa’s side would have been rejoicing, if she had seen Azure taking part in all the games, especially the card games. She would have learned French just to play the game I played with Azure in the gazebo not far from the beach. The game required quite a bit of memory skills, which Azure had and I didn’t have enough of. The eager tone in her voice is still occasionally stirring in my mind and brings up precious memories of summer, “T’as grandpère?” When I answered, “Oui”, she would take the card with glee and added it to her ever-increasing collection of completed sets. Needless to say, she won all the games against Opa.
The grown-ups often played the highly competitive bocce game. Of course, Azure wanted to be part of it. However, lacking the ability to handle the heavy steel balls, she was only allowed to throw the little wooden jack for the players. She soon realized that she wasn’t really participating, and she got quickly bored. So I came to the rescue and offered to play with her a real bocce game with much lighter plastic balls. Soon her disappointment about being left out was forgotten, and we two had as much fun as the players higher up on the playing field. Merci, Azure, pour avoir parlé français avec moi!
Mateo Klopp (Chart I – V)
Mateo is the great-great-grandson of Peter and Emma Klopp. He is attending high school in Montreal and speaks fluently French and English. He wants to become a computer programmer. His two half-sister Azure and Eméline have already received one post each on this blog. He sent me his latest picture. He promised to contribute a short story about some important event in his life at a later date.
Mateo Klopp (Chart I – V)
Mateo, our 15-year-old grandson, arrived with his family from Montreal at the end of July in 2014 and spent two weeks mostly camping at Taite Creek Camp Site on our beautiful Arrow Lake.
He has grown into an amicable young man. Of course, grandparents notice changes much more, especially when they don’t see their grandchildren very often. Mateo impressed us with his kind, caring and loving manner, with which he interacted with all family members, in particular with his two little half-sisters Azure and Eméline.
Great-grandmother Erika Klopp would have been delighted to see Mateo’s passion for card and board games. All he needs to learn to play now is the Kegler-Klopp favorite card game ‘Doppelkopf’! In my mind I already see the approving nods from his ancestors of Pomerania, Gutfelde and Watzenborn, if he were to take up this traditional family past time.
On a warm, sunny day his uncles Robert, Tony, Michael and Stefan, his aunts or aunts-to-be Angie and Lisa, a camping buddy from the next site, and two dogs set out with Mateo on an exploratory expedition in boats and canoes to find the elusive hot springs 10 km downriver at Octopus Creek. After hours of rowing and paddling they arrived at the mouth of the creek, where a scene of total devastation presented itself to their astonished eyes. Heavy spring rains and melt waters in previous years had completely destroyed this remote campground. Trees torn down by the flood were piled up in an almost impenetrable jumble of logs and debris.
Despite the obstacles the adventurers decided to climb up in search of the hot springs by following the creek upstream. But after a few hours of strenuous scrambling over and under fallen trees, which were straddling precariously over the canyon walls, they gave up. Caution had prevailed in the face of danger and potential disaster. Although Mateo felt very tired being the youngest in the group, he was happy and cheerful, when they returned at our camp site.
Right now he is back in Montreal studying hard to get good grades in Math, Science and Computer Programming. It seems he has found a concrete goal for his future career in life. He will most likely follow in the footsteps of his godfather Stefan. Biene and I are very proud of you, Mateo!
Family Reunion Summer 2014 in Videos
Even though I have fully embraced computer and digital technology, I have two problems with both. It has to do with their miniature size. On the cameras I find it often difficult to use the tiny buttons with which to control the settings. On the small SD cards fit thousands of images. If you happen to misplace the card or worse you accidentally erase the files, the loss of these visual treasures could cause a lot of pain. This almost happened to me, when my precious video files from last summer went missing and I had almost given up of ever finding the SD card again. As it turned out, I had put it in a “safe” place, a special card holder not much larger than a Canadian dollar coin. Recently I rummaged through my camera bag. Guess what, I found the card. The result is the video report of our family reunion 2014.
Introducing the Family on the Plank
Having Fun on the Paddle Boards
Squirt Gun Battles in the Lake
Taking it Easy on Floating Toys and Rubber Boats
Fun at the Beach
Playing Games and Singing with our Grandchildren at the Campsite
Eméline, the Superstar at Taite Creek Camp Site
Busy Mealtime or the Challenge of Feeding 14 Hungry Family Members
My Grandfather and Our Family (Chart I – V,VI)
Contributed by Johanna Pasdeloup
Even though Karl, my grandfather, is turning 86 this year, he still enjoys playing ball with his great-grandchildren Alice and Maxim. On our family photo little Maxim does not care about sitting still. He has better things to do and reaches out for Alice’s cheek.
Today I would like to introduce to you Eberhard Klopp. You will be having difficulties locating him on Chart I, because he just isn’t there. Perhaps you have wondered about the fruitfulness of Peter and Emma Klopp as demonstrated by their sixteen children, who except for my father appear to have had no descendants.The reason for that is simple. There was not enough space on the page to list all the children of my uncles and aunts. To show the precise relationship to my cousin Eberhard I made a supplementary chart that shows that he is the grandson of my father’s eldest brother Friedrich, who was already 25 years old, when my father was born.
When Eberhard retired from his career as communications officer of the German NATO Forces, he began an extensive research on the Klopp family. After years of traveling from relative to relative, interviewing people, searching church and municipal records, and documenting innumerable pieces of information, he produced a scholarly work that is truly outstanding in its scope, depth and accuracy. In 1997 he published the book using the lengthy title ‘A Letter to the Descendants of the Klopp Family from Altendorf/Brome and Wolmirstedt’. It has become the source par excellence for my own family research, which I wish to share on upcoming posts in the near future.
Eberhard and his wife Dorette gave me per email their kind permission to use the book and translate into English those passages that will help with its fascinating stories enrich our family tree project.
Dear Eberhard, I would like to use this post to express my sense of appreciation and gratitude for letting me share your book with all participants, who are scattered far and wide over Europe and North America, yet who feel through their sense of family a common bond that unites them in spite of their distances between them.
Birthday Trip to the Hot Springs
by Peter Klopp (Chart I – III)
Yesterday I found my mailbox flooded with Happy Birthday messages. Also on Facebook there was a long line of congratulatory notes. So the news is out. I can no longer hide the fact. It was my birthday. It is impossible for me to respond individually to all these heart-warming greetings from all over the world (Germany, France, Mexico, USA and Canada). So I will post a small photo gallery that will show what Biene (Gertrud) and I were doing on my special day. Since we hadn’t been to the Nakusp Hot Springs for such a long time and I had quite a few attacks of rheumatism as of late, my little wish was to go and soak my aching bones in the mineral rich pool. This turned out to be just what the doctor ordered and we both returned home having relished a truly relaxing afternoon. Thanks to you all for your good wishes on my 73rd!
Easter Outing at Taite Creek Campground
Peter and Gertrud Klopp (Chart I – III)
A Photo Session at the Fauquier Golf Course
And a Brief Visit to the Icelandic Horses
by Peter and Gertrud Klopp (Chart I – III)
A Walk through our Yard – Early Spring
When our family moved to Fauquier in 1976, the only house available was a two-bedroom bungalow with an ugly lean-to serving as storage area. It looked more like a summer cottage than a house having only a total living area of about 100 sq m. The yard is huge by comparison with a length of 100 m and a width of about 30 m. The back half of the lot was completely undeveloped. Wild Russian poplars and the odd cottonwood covered the mostly swampy land.
It was obvious that the house would not be large enough to accommodate our family of seven at the time of our move from Alberta. My father-in-law had to have his own bedroom during his visit in Canada. The four boys took the other bedroom and slept in bunk beds. Biene and I slept in the tiny living room on a couch that we converted into a bed for the night. In the spring of the following year we added a double wide mobile home to the house with a breezeway connecting the two units. From one moment to the next we had two bathrooms, two living rooms, and even two separate kitchens. Year after year, as our limited financial resources would permit, we made improvements to house and property, which included a sundeck, a sun room with pantry, a new roof over both houses, and a large garden. I planted two apple trees, two pear trees and several plum trees after clearing the land. But the best and most precious thing for Biene was to have her dream fulfilled. She finally has her own studio, which our son Robert built for her in 2009. This is the place, where she can be away from the distractions caused by phone, computer, TV and the constant reminder of things that need to be done. Here in the quiet surrounding of her studio she lets her creativity inspire her to paint or draw animals, flowers and portraits. Biene will one day showcase on her own blog bieneklopp.com some of her work by setting up a virtual gallery.
Now let us begin our early spring walk through this beautiful place on the hill overlooking the Arrow Lake.
Two Weeks Later – What a Difference!
The cherry tree behind the shed is beginning to show off its white flowery dress, while the plowed garden plot in the background is still waiting to be planted. Frost is still a menace at the beginning of May.
Only sharp eyes will detect the rich colors of the tulips. But the plum tree, which produces the biggest, roundest, and juiciest fruits in the fall, clearly marks the difference of two weeks with its blossoms.
Four Weeks Later
What the pictures show below is the contrast between April 12 and May 12 in our yard. The next comparison will happen in a month, when we will be approaching the beginning of summer here in Fauquier, British Columbia.
On the very last picture you can see the blossoms of the Grafenstein apple trees, which we will harvest in September. They produce the biggest and sweetest apples in the Kootenays. The only drawback is that they don’t keep too long. If all goes well with the weather this year, we will have a bumper crop.
Inside Biene’s Studio
Last week we took a walk through our yard, which ended with a view on Biene’s cabin and studio. Today we take a look inside. The pictures with their titles are self-explanatory. Some day Biene will present her pictures and rock paintings individually at her blog bieneklopp.com.
Growing Hops in our Garden
Stefan, our youngest son, has many great hobbies, traveling, photography, active hockey, playing board games, cooking and baking, designing websites, maintaining his own blog ‘This Timeless Moment’ at kloppmagic.ca, hanging out with friends, just to name a few. Three years ago he started making his own craft beer at his little home in Vancouver.
When I heard about it for the first time, I had no idea that I would have any involvement in his latest passion. One day over the phone he announced that I would soon receive a parcel from a hops nursery in BC. It would contain hops rhizomes for me to plant in our garden. My attitude has always been this. When accepting a new task, do it right or don’t do it all. The idea of Stefan brewing beer with the hops I would be growing appealed to me, especially since I am a fan of good beer. In my mind I was already sampling his tasty, refreshing brew. So I accepted the challenge of growing a new plant in our garden. I won’t go into the details, as one can easily read up on the topic on-line.
To find out which variety of hops plants would do best in our climate and soil, Stefan had ordered eight different kinds: Mt. Hood, Willamet, Fuggle, Chinook, Golding, Centennial, Cascades, and Sterling. The reader, who has knowledge of the Pacific Northwest, may recognize some of the names as bearing resemblance to geographical places in Oregon. That is no coincidence, as Oregon State boasts of having the most and best breweries in the States.
The hops plant is quite modest in terms of maintenance and care. Also it grows in most types of soil, but needs a trellis system of poles and strings allowing it to grow 6 to 7 m high. It grows at an incredible speed. You can literally watch it grow some 30 cm in a single day. Later in the fall, you can marvel at the dense green canopy overhead with thousands of cones hanging from the side shoots of the hops plants.
Picking and plucking off the cones is time-consuming and quite tedious. They also need to be dried and then put in plastic bags, where they will stay fresh in the freezer. But the pleasure of drinking the finest beer that Stefan brews is well worth the effort.
New Life for the Fauquier Webcam Operation
Contributed by Stefan Klopp
Last night I relaunched the fauquiercam.com webcam after just over a year of downtime. The previous computer we used was noisy, and the direction of the camera wasn’t that exciting. Today I migrated all the software running on the old noisy computer to a new micro computer called a Raspberry Pi (you can find more information on Raspberry Pi here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/help/what-is-a-raspberry-pi/). Also with the help of a couple of Wi-Fi range extenders we were able to move the whole operation from the front of the house to the cabin in the backyard. I hope this new view will be a little more exciting, especially when we build timelapses to watch the garden grow. We may even get to see the occasional bit of wildlife and I don’t mean Peter or Gertrud!
Richard, Azure, Emeline and Stefan Klopp’s Visit in Fauquier
Today I drove over the Monashee Pass to Vernon to pick up our son Richard and our little granddaughters. They were exhausted from traveling such a long distance. After spending the afternoon at the Aspengrove Riding School at our daughter-in-law’s ranch and a snack at our son Michael’s place we were heading east to our home in Fauquier. The little girls were overtired and fell asleep soon after we started our trip. So Richard and I were able to exchange the latest family news, while I was driving.
The day started out with a bacon and eggs breakfast that my granddaughters had specifically requested that I would prepare for them. Biene had to go off to work at eight, while we continued eating our breakfast in stages. Then I had an excellent learning session with Azure, who became my student and teacher in French. While Richard took Azure and Emeline to the lake, I cleaned up. Biene had prepared a large pot of vegetable soup, which I heated up for lunch. When Biene returned from work at three o’clock, I had a big pot of coffee ready, while Biene served her home-made chocolate ice cream. Emeline enjoyed hers very much, as it is clearly written all over her face on some of the pictures below.
Today our youngest son Stefan took Richard, Azure and Emeline to the Nakusp Hot Springs. When they came back, they had some practice on Stefan’s Slackline. There is a video that will show how they were handling the challenge each in his or her own way.
Click on the link below.
Practice for Richard, Azure and Emeline on the Slackline.
In spite of threatening rain clouds, we journeyed to Taite Creek Camp Site to spend the afternoon at the beautiful Arrow Lake. Richard and Azure went swimming in the ice-cold waters and received a lot of cheers for their daring plunge. Later we warmed up at the campfire and the children had fun singing, dancing and listening to Opa’s melodies he played on the harmonica. It is all recorded on the one-minute video below.
Last Day of their Visit at the Grandparents
Today was a rainy day and was ideal to do some indoor activities. I was very eager to make a video recording of Azure practicing her violin. Also, I always wanted to read to Azure from the French children’s book ‘Le Petit Nicolas’. We were fortunate this morning that we found Azure completely cooperative. I admit though that I made use of a little bribery by offering a piece of chocolate as a reward. When she was done with the performance she was so proud of her success that she almost forgot to collect her prize. In the afternoon there was a little break in the weather and we went down to the beach to give the kids a chance to catch some fresh air and play in the sand.
The time went so fast. Tomorrow morning Richard and his sweet little daughters are heading back to Kelowna to catch the plane back to Montreal. We are a little sad, but there will always be a next, God willing.
The Visit (May 2015)
Richard and Our Granddaughters Azure and Emeline
and their Uncle Stefan
(See Klopp Family Tree, Chart I – III, IV & V)
Three Days at Taite Creek
Biene took the school bus to Nakusp on Thursday, where the students attended a number of cultural sessions presented by the aboriginal people of the region. Our Ford Escape was therefore available for me to pull our trailer to the local campground at Taite Creek. I was lucky. Our favorite camp site was still vacant. It offers the most beautiful view onto the lake and is located right above the bocce field, which our son Tony had once built for us many years ago.
By setting up the trailer and having all supplies ready for a three-days stay, we had almost gained an additional day of camping. Right after Biene returned from Nakusp, we headed out to the lake. After a delicious chicken dinner I made a campfire. I played the harmonica and was amazed to discover how many of the folk songs and scout melodies I still remembered, while I was playing one tune after another. Later on at the crackling sound of the campfire, we started our outdoor crib competition. Soft popular classical music, a glass or two of red wine for Biene and a bottle of Pale Ale added a romantic touch to the relaxing evening atmosphere.
On the following days, which were mostly sunny and warm, Mother Nature provided for body and soul peace and tranquility at the lakeshore and in the nearby woods. In the shade of a pine tree, Biene immersed herself in the fascinating book ‘Suite Française’, while I took walks to the Taite Creek bridge, strolled along the rocky lakeshore, or ventured into the deep forest. Of course, my camera accompanied me on all my excursions capturing images of flowers, some so small that they would escape notice for most people walking by.
Early in the morning, well before the blazing sun could turn our gaming pleasure into pain, we played a round of bocce. Biene and I are very competitive by nature and often fiercely argue over whose ball is closer to the jack and score the point. However, at the end, we would congratulate each other for having played such an ‘amiable’ game.
On the night before Father’s Day, we sat once more at the campfire. I opened a bottle of Henkell Dry. While we were chatting and sipping champagne, we listened to our favorite music of the 60’s. At the rhythmic beat of a particularly lively hit from our teenage years Biene spontaneously started to dance. When the rain came later on, we looked at the event as a blessing from above for the tinder dry forests all around us. Cheerfully we withdrew into the shelter of our cozy trailer and listened to the music of the raindrops on the trailer roof, while drifting off to sleep.
Azure’s Hard Work Paying off (See also May 30th Post)
Enjoyable Visit with our Son Anthony and his Partner Lisa in Victoria
On the last weekend in June Gertrud (Biene) and I traveled to Victoria, the picturesque capital of BC on Vancouver Island. Tony and his lovely partner Lisa had invited us to come for a visit. When on the way we stopped for lunch in Kelowna, the thermometer at the Orchard Shopping Mall showed a scorching 40 degree temperature. Gertrud and I were looking forward to spending a few days at the coast, where a cool breeze from the ocean would bring a welcome relief from the unbearable heat wave we had been experiencing for the last couple of days.
The 90 minute ferry ride turned out to be sheer delight in the refreshing wind and under a cloudless sky. Having taken an earlier ferry, we had some extra time to explore Sidney, the most northern town on the Saanich peninsula close to the ferry terminal. There we went on a leisurely promenade on a trail very close to the beach.
Around supper time we arrived at Burdick Avenue, where Tony and Lisa had recently bought a house.Great was our joy to see them again for the first at their new place.
The first thing Tony and Lisa did was to show us their home. They gave us the grand tour starting at the spacious basement complete with two bedrooms, storage room, work room, bathroom, then going upstairs to the wonderful living room with its original parquet floor and its large windows to let lots of light come in, the modern kitchen with a view onto the deck and the backyard. Upstairs under a slanted roof was their cozy bedroom. Gertrud and I instantly fell in love with the house and jokingly mentioned that we were going to stay there for good. The house, built in the 1930’s, impressed us with its fine blend of good solid construction and tastefully decorated interior.
From the huge deck behind the kitchen we had a first look at their beautiful garden with an abundance of flowers, shrubs, raised beds for vegetables and strawberries. We also admired the large arbor completely covered with grape vines, which were promising to provide a bumper crop later in the fall. Here one could retreat and under its dense foliage find relief from the hot afternoon sun.
Tony and Lisa were excellent hosts and did their best to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. It was sheer delight to see them harmoniously work together. They amazed us with the fantastic meals they lovingly prepared for us.
One morning Tony took us to one of the many beaches, where we whiled away several hours collecting pebbles in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors. A particular challenge was to find tiny pieces of glass from broken bottles that the incessant pounding of the sea on the sandy beach has ground them into smooth slivers. After Tony showed us how to find and identify them, the hunt for these little treasures was on.
A definite highlight of our visit was a trip to the Victoria harbor, where Tony went shopping for our evening meal at the local fish market. Wild Pacific salmon and halibut are so fresh – so I am told – that only a few hours before they land in the customer’s shopping bag they were still roaming in the nearby ocean waters. In the meantime Gertrud and I took in the colorful sight of this busy tourist attraction at the water’s edge. Some brightly painted homes here were actually boats that were permanently moored at a huge ramp-like structure, which looked more like a street with a board walk.
Early in the morning, when everyone else was still sleeping, I sneaked out of the house and strolled down to the beach. In the cool air it took me less than five minute.s to reach the ocean..There my friends, the seagulls, greeted me with their raucous cries.Canada geese seemed to have made Victoria their permanent home. On another morning I was lucky to encounter a blue heron, which was feeding at low tide on the barnacles clinging to a concrete wave breaker. Accustomed to human beings it allowed me to come close enough for a great picture of this majestic bird.
As always when you are enjoying the presence of good company, friends and family, time is slipping by way too fast. In our case it wasn’t just the relaxing walks along the numerous beaches of Victoria, the trip to the harbor, the ferry ride past sceneries of colorful floating houses, marinas and the Legislative Assembly on the way to the inner harbor.
It was indeed nice to feel like honored guests. But the best part of it all was to be included in Tony and Lisa’s daily routine. I was especially happy to help Tony with the painting of a table and do the digging in Lisa’s flower bed to prepare the soil for the new flowers she had bought. Getting to know Lisa’s sister Sarah and her lovely family was also a highlight during our four-day stay. I instantly connected with her husband Mingo. His charm, sense of humor and rapport with his children impressed me very much.
Soon it was time to say good-bye. Tony and Lisa’s heart-warming hospitality, their fantastic gourmet meals, the pleasant conversations, all these things and much more will stay in our memories for a long time to come. On the way home we had to make an unexpected detour and change our travel route. The Coquihalla Highway was closed because of a raging grass fire. So we took the Trans Canada Highway instead, a longer, but more scenic route. In the late evening light we traveled on the winding road alongside the awesome Fraser River past Hell’s Gate all the way up to Cache Creek, where we stayed overnight before heading home.
Camping at Taite Creek
One week after we had returned from Victoria I pulled our little trailer the 10 km distance to our favorite campground at Taite Creek. Over the years word about this oasis at the Arrow Lake had spread all over the land. Outdoor enthusiasts from BC and even from the neighboring province of Alberta were flocking to this little paradise in the sun.
Gertrud and I were lucky to have found a vacant site in the middle of the summer. When we started camping, campfire bans were in effect due to the unusually hot and dry weather. What is camping without that romantic ritual of sitting around the campfire in the cool evening air, sipping a glass of wine, and having a good and relaxing time with your neighbors and friends? But Gertrud and I have learned to be content with what we have and not pine for the things we lack. In other words we made do with the given circumstances, enjoyed our daily swims in the refreshing lake, took canoe rides, went on photo excursions, spent some time with our camping friends, and played crib before retiring into our cozy trailer for the night.
Every other day quite early in the morning I drove home to look after our yard and garden and to get fresh food supplies for our camping needs. On one of those trips I got very lucky. A buck was standing on the side of the road. I immediately stopped the car hoping to capture his majestic image on my digital camera. Alas, the camera was stored away somewhere in the back of the vehicle. I opened the door very quietly and stepped out on the road. The buck did not move. I walked to the back and opened the tail gate. The buck still did not move. I quickly grabbed my camera and aimed it at the buck, who was still standing at the same spot and then as if he wanted to pose for the picture turned his beautiful antlers in my direction. Then to my utter amazement he allowed me to approach him, while I was taking one picture after another. At 20 m he decided that I was a bit too close for comfort and trotted leisurely off into the forest. This encounter with one of the finest specimens in the animal kingdom made my day and I proudly shared his image on Flickr with the rest of the world.
On a Mountain High and then the Accident
On my Yamaha scooter I made several exploratory trips on the nearby forestry roads. The one that grabbed my attention was the Power Line Road so named because it provides access of the BC Hydro crews to the transmission line that carries 500,000 V electricity across the border to the highest bidder in the United States. It is a steep and winding road leading to a ridge from which one can view the Valkyr Range. I heard that the hydro tower on that route has at 2000m the highest altitude in the entire province of BC.
My aim was to ride my scooter to a viewpoint, from which I could look down onto the lake and see the mountains to the south. When I checked later on a map with contour lines, I found out that I had climbed a total of 1000 m to reach my destination.
The magnificent scenery can hardly be put into words, and the photos on my post can offer only a glimpse of the beauty that I experienced with all five senses, the amazing colors of the valley and the Arrow Lake below, the rustling of dry grasses in the wind, the scent of the wild flowers, the cool mountain air gently stroking my face, and the bitter-sweet taste of wild black currants growing on the sun bathed slopes.
One can imagine how excited I was coming down from the Valkyr range frequently stopping to take pictures, happily whistling and, yes, even singing a few German scout songs that unexpectedly popped into my head, until quite suddenly at the very bottom of the road two giant trailers blocked the access to the campground.
Anxious to tell Gertrud about my adventure I attempted to maneuver my scooter past these two monstrous recreational vehicles. Everyone knows that when you are riding on two wheels and bring your speed down to zero, you lose your balance. So to make a long story short, I fell off onto the rocky ground with the foot guard of the scooter falling on my right leg. Without really knowing at first I had broken my fibula bone slightly above the ankle.
The consequences were altogether unpleasant to say the least: Gertrud’s anger with my stupidity of going into the mountains without wearing more protective clothing, the physical pain I suffered, my frustration over being severely curtailed to a life of inactivity for more than six weeks, and a lot of regret. Fortunately, my spirits were rising in step with the gradual easing of the pain in my right ankle.
While I had to spend many hours on the couch with a so-called aircast on my right foot, the thought occurred to me that the accident may have prevented something much worse. Perhaps I would have become too bold, taken greater risks with my scooter on the following days, and driven even farther away from help on some remote mountain road. Then there were these devastating forest fires in the Southern Okanagan with smoke so dense that air quality alert were being issued at the time we had planned for our vacation at Hedley. So while I was languishing on the couch, I had at least the time to reflect, ponder, meditate and pray. And in itself that was a good thing.
How I Met Lisa
Contributed by Anthony Klopp
Klopp Family Tree – Chart I – IV
I have never been more thankful to go out for a round of beers after golf than that night. I had just finished, what I am sure was the best round of golf I have ever played and was feeling pretty happy about breaking 80. When my golf buddies asked me to go to the local watering hole, I thought, “I deserve a celebratory pint”. While waiting for the finishing touches of my Guinness to be poured, I saw her. I had seen her once or twice before but had never done anything about it. Considering how well I played that day I thought perhaps luck was on my side.
It was after high school when I moved to Victoria to attend the university. My first few years were like many others I am sure, floundering around with little focus. I somehow narrowed my field and wound up with a bachelor of science in economics. I had managed to put my self through school with some interesting jobs along the way (I will save those stories for another time). After university, I actually found a job in my field, which allowed me to stay in Victoria. Enough about that, let’s get back to the love story.
So there I was a 40 year old successful business man with a blossoming golf game enjoying my pint when she sat down next to me. It turned out she had just finished her shift and my buddy Guy (a regular at the pub) asked her to join us. There she was sitting on the stool next to me making idol chitchat. It didn’t take long to learn she was as sweet as she looked. She was working as a server at the pub and the Empress Hotel while attending university for nursing. It was clear she loved her family, her friends and enjoyed a good laugh. For those of you who don’t know me, I am usually a little shy at first but with her it was easy. We talked all night. It was a bit of cliché how many things we had in common. Good food, wine, traveling and the outdoors. But alas the night ended and we went our separate ways. I remember thinking to myself she was amazing but for some reason I didn’t get her number.
It was about a week later and things were back to normal, me moving numbers around on a spreadsheet with breaks to practice my golf swing until I received a note from my friend Guy with her number. It was probably a few days later when I contacted her and we were going on a date.
We dated for a while seeing each other a few times a week. I would make Tuesday night dinners. Something new and delicious each week to keep her intrigued, not to mention it was so nice to cook for someone other than myself. It went on for a while like that, seeing each other a few times a week. Since things were going so well we decided to try our blossoming relationship on the road and headed to the Oregon coast. The coast was stunning and we enjoyed our time together. Campfires on the beach and counting stars were the perfect setting for a new love. It was not long after, when I could no longer say I was living the bachelor life.
Fast-forward to this year we decided to buy a house together in the beautiful Oak Bay area. It is a charming 1931 house with heaps of charm. There is an established garden with grapes, strawberries and new blooms every week. We have been very lucky to have about half of the Klopp clan come to stay and we are hoping the rest will come this year. We are lucky to have Lisa’s family so near because we are able to have family dinners including this past Christmas dinner. It was really great this Christmas because I received the ultimate gift, I proposed to Lisa and she accepted.
I hope you enjoyed this little story of how I met the love of my life. The Klopp family is lucky to have such a wonderful addition.
by Johanna Pasdeloup
Klopp Family Tree
Chart I – V & VI
For one semester I wanted to go to Paris and had booked a flight for August 29, 2006. unfortunately, I arrived at the airport on August 30. I missed my plane and booking a another flight would have been incredibly expensive. So I decided to take the bus instead. On the day in the evening I boarded the bus and arrived in Paris on the Saturday of September 2. For the first little while I was supposed to stay with a friend of my friend’s father, who lived in the northern suburb of Paris.
Having been sitting in the bus all through the night I was pretty tired. Nevertheless we drove all the way to the southern part of Paris, where there was an impossible disco. There was also Régis, because an acquaintance of his wanted to go there too. He too thinks that the disco is impossible.
Well, there we met for the first time. I spoke very poor French, but we made arrangements for a date to meet the very next day at 3 p.m. “au pied de la Concorde” without exchanging our telephone numbers. And indeed we both showed up the very next day. Régis showed me Paris and since then we have been a couple for almost ten years and have two wonderful children.
Making Room for the New House
It all started with a threat, a very serious threat indeed. I still remember the day, when our son Michael dropped in for a quick visit and announced with an authoritative voice, “One day, as soon as I am rich enough to do it, I will come with a giant bulldozer, push your old house into the lake, and have a new one built for you.”
Of course, at that time, we took his announcement as one of his typical jokes, which revealed in one way or another his hidden criticism of our dilapidated dwelling.
In spite of the modern appearance on the outside, our house had many problems. Too late I had realized that we needed eaves troughs. The water running off the roof penetrated the poorly vented crawling space. The floor joists began to rot. Hard to believe but true, mushrooms grew in great profusion out of the rotting wood and dispersed their harmful spores into our living space. Then roof specialists came into town and offered to the gullible residents of Fauquier Professional services. They replaced our cedar-shingled roof with a convenient metal cover. The only problem was that the ‘specialists’ failed to put tar paper under the tin, the annoying consequence of which was that ice was building up under the cold metal and would melt during the milder days causing water to drip right through the ceiling. To prevent any further damage I placed a fan into the attic and let run all winter to draw out the warm humid air. I could go on and on to describe how the house began to lean, such that following the laws of gravity marbles, even pencils and pens would be rolling off the table, or worse how over the past forty years pests both large and small established permanent residence in and under the house, mice, ants including the much feared carpenter ants, pack rats, raccoons, even skunks, just to name a few of our uninvited visitors.
Let us return to Michael, who earlier this year turned his ‘threat’ into reality. Of course, he refrained from dumping our home sweet home into the Arrow Lake. Instead, we needed to dismantle the house – actually two homes, the original building and a double wide mobile home attached the former. To dispose of the doublewide in an environmentally friendly way turned out to be easy. I simply sold it on Facebook and had the new owner agree to remove it at his own expense.
The buyer’s helper did a fantastic job of salvaging the tin, the rafters and practically the entire roof over the mobile home. So I approached and offered him all parts of the old house, windows, kitchen counter, water tank, toilet, and even the ancient purple bathtub in exchange for removing and recycling the entire roof with all its timber and insulation. He even took off the vinyl siding most of it undamaged from the walls and will use the material for the house he is planning to build in the near future.
What a way to recycle and to reuse stuff that would have otherwise landed in a landfill!
To be continued …