The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

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Tag Archives: Aunt Jula

Friedrich Wilhelm Ferdinand Klopp (1879-1952) – Part IV

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Charged with Attempted Murder

Klopp Family Tree

Chart I – II

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.

WWI Pilot Ferdinand Klopp

WWI Pilot Ferdinand Klopp – Picture taken 1915

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.

Castle at Wolmirstedt - Photo Credit: holidaycheck.de

Castle at Wolmirstedt – Photo Credit: holidaycheck.de

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.

Lake Scharmützel ß Photo Credit: Alfred Held

Lake Scharmützel – Photo Credit: Alfred Held

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.

Juliane Klopp (1877 – 1960) Part 2 (Chart I – II)

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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.

Former "Hotel Seehof" Renovated, Today's Wellness Center

Former “Hotel Seehof” Completely Renovated and Today’s Wellness Center

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.

Scharmützel Lake in the 1920's

Scharmützel Lake in close Proximity to ‘Hotel Seehof’ in the 1920’s

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.

Juliana's Painting of the Baltic Sea

Juliana’s Painting of 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.

Garden Region near the Spree

Recent Photo of the Garden Region, where Aunt Jula had her Cottage

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.

Aunt Juliane (late 1950's)

Aunt Juliane (photo taken in the late 1950’s)

Juliane Klopp (1877 – 1960) Part 1

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The Viennese ‘Artist’ and Hotel Owner at Scharmützel Lake (Chart I – II)

Scharmützel Lake Southeast of Berlin - Photo Credit:mittelalterkleidung.science

Scharmützel See Southeast of Berlin – Credit:mittelalterkleidung.science

Condensed and translated from the Klopp Family History (Ein Brief an die Nachfahren der Familie Klopp) with kind permission by the author Eberhard Klopp

To see the Klopp Family Tree click here.

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.

The Carl Theatre where Artists and Performers met around 1900 - Photo Credit: aeiou.at

The Carl Theatre around 1900 – Photo Credit: aeiou.at

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.

The Town of Blankenburg near the Harz Mountains - Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

Town of Blankenburg (Harz Mountains) – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

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.

Berlin-Karlshorst (Old Postcard) - Photo Credit: akpool.de

Berlin-Karlshorst (Old Postcard) – Photo Credit: akpool.de

Continues next week …

To read about my visit to Aunt Jula in 1959 on a previous post, click here.

Chapter XIV of the P. and G. Klopp Story – Part 2

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koepenick 1

Berlin-Köpenick, Dahmeufer, Altstadt, Panorama – Photo Credit: Andreas Steinhoff

Visiting Relatives in East Berlin 1959

Chart I – II of the Klopp Family Tree

A few days after the sightseeing tour with Peter I went to see Aunt Alma in Berlin-Köpenick. In contrast to Aunt Meta’s tranquil life in Freiburg, the apartment in Köpenik was a beehive of activity of more than ten family members bustling about. The spacious living room could hardly accommodate the large family. On the one hand I felt like a guest of honor, being the youngest son of Alma’s youngest brother (my father). But I also had the impression that they all had come together to gawk at this rare specimen from West Germany. At age 77 Aunt Alma was still strong in spirit and body to run the household of her daughter Else and son-in-law Artur Thiess and their four daughters. Two were already married with children at the time of my visit.

Rathaus 1961 - Photo Credit: koepenick.net

City Hall (Rathaus) 1961 – Photo Credit: koepenick.net

Uncle Artur was actually my cousin. But I called him uncle, because he was almost forty years older than I. He was engineer. He had published a book on low frequency communication technology and was giving lectures at the Humboldt University as a specialist in the field of electronics. I took an instant liking to him, not because of my hobby akin to his academic work, but rather because of the fact that he was one cut above the rest of those adult family members, who had chauvinistically embraced the communist-socialist ideology. He impressed me with his sharp wit and disarming humor, with which he distanced himself from the political narrow-mindedness of his sons-in-law. Perhaps more importantly, he was for me a father figure radiating kindness and affection. No wonder I maintained contact by corresponding with him until his death in 1992. Apart from the one-sided political talk about the advantages of their peace-loving society versus the corrupt war-mongering system of western capitalism, to which I had nothing to add, confirm or oppose, it was a very enjoyable time spent in a family so wonderfully knit together. One thing of great interest to me was the stereoscopic viewer, in which Uncle Artur had inserted glass plates each containing two b/w images that he had taken with his special 3d camera. The quality of these images was absolutely stunning. For the first time in my life I got a glimpse of the land, where I was born. Artur had taken many pictures on his various visits to Father and Mother’s place at Gutfelde (Zlotniki). When I looked at them, it was like traveling back to a time, when my parents were happy and managed together the three large estates entrusted to them.

View of the Altstadt - Photo Credit: koepenick.net

View of the Altstadt – Photo Credit: koepenick.net

In the afternoon Aunt Alma took me to the cottage of her elder sister in the garden district of Berlin-Köpenick. Aunt Jula was born as the second child to Friedrich and Emma Klopp in 1877. She had lived a colorful life spending her teenage and early adult years in Vienna as student and artist. She struck it rich by marrying a wealthy mining director. Later on she became the proud owner and manager of a hotel, but lost it all again during the turbulent inflation years after WWI. In a deal that went bad she took out a mortgage on her property to help out her brother Hermann, a classical rags-to-riches story in reverse.

Schlossplatz - Photo Credit: koepenick.net

Castle Square (Schlossplatz) – Photo Credit: koepenick.net

This feisty old lady must have absorbed the whole gamut of communist ideology and firmly believed in it. For she presented her distorted views with so much passion that only unwavering conviction can deliver. In her strident tirades against capitalism she did not spare the West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, a Nazi in disguise in her strong opinion, who was planning to wage a revisionist war against her peace-loving republic.

Altköpenick Sparkasse (Credit Union) - Photo Credit: koepenick.net

Credit Union (Altköpenick Sparkasse)  – Photo Credit: koepenick.net

She served stale coffee and moldy cake that someone may have brought to her humble abode a few weeks earlier. Aunt Alma signaled to me not to eat it and drop it quietly under the table. To my great relief she soon announced to her sister that it was time for her to leave and prepare supper for her folks at home. I was a bit disappointed with the visit to Father’s eldest living sister. However, I did not feel personally attacked by my aunt. Being an apolitical teenager, I had already forgotten this unpleasant episode upon my return to West Berlin.

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