The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

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Tag Archives: Baroness Anna von Waldenfels

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part VII

15

The Second Marriage of

Georg von Waldenfels

At Lagowitz two children were born, Hans-Jürgen in 1929 and Carola von Waldenfels in 1932. When the children turned seven and four respectively, the marriage between Georg and Millie had already been in a crisis for quite some time. Officially the two separated on February 22, 1936.

In 1937 Fritz Georg von Waldenfels, quite bored with the monotony and bourgeois atmosphere of Panwitz-lagowitz living, got acquainted with his future wife in the ‘House Vaterland’ (House Fatherland), the greatest cabaret and dance palace of the Reich’s capital of Berlin, Ilse Jannink (born on May 9, 1914 in Epe near Granau, Westphalia). She was the daughter of the Dutch textile manufacturer Jan Frederik Jannink (1874 – 1943). Her father had founded the company in Enschede, Holland around the turn of the century. The son transferred the firm shortly before the beginning of WW1 to Epe and carried on the business under the company name ‘Germania’. In Epe he could avail himself of a personell match larger than in Holland. The cotton industry under his management employed in the 1920’s and 30’s almost 600 workers. South of Epe stood the stately family manor, the birthplace of Ilse Jannink.

Even at the age of 82 years (in 1996), Ilse looked very much like the singing superstar Lale Anderson, a celebrity of the early Nazi entertainment scene. Georg von Waldenfels married in July 1938 the tall 24 year old manufacturer’s daughter, who fitted well into the image of the blond girl ideal of its era. In stature she must have towered over her husband by an entire head length. A catholic wedding took place in Berlin, the wedding ceremonies in the St. Hedwig Cathedral and the banquet in the luxury ‘Hotel Adlon’.

Georg and his wife Ilse carried on with the management of the castle estate Lagowitz, supported by an administrator, an assistant and a secretary. They kept about 100 cows, a sheep farm, cultivated mostly sugar beets and maintained an orchard. In 1939 387 inhabitants lived in that village.

It remained an unwritten law in the new family von Waldenfels, never again to talk about the cast-away first wife. Millie von Waldenfels left Lagowitz with her two children in 1934/35, and, although pushed out, had no doubt received a royal compensation. She lost her family possession and the glorious showpiece Castle Lagowitz. One for the Klopp family exceptional and usurpation-style seizures catapulted the Klopp-von-Waldenfels branch into a ready made nest.

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part VI

15

My Aunt’s Triumphant Coup

With the marriage of her son Fritz Georg with Emilie von Sobieski (after her adoption she had become a von Zychlinski ), the heiress of Panwitz and Castle Lagowitz, Anna had climbed the highest possible rung on the social ladder of the Klopp family. Through an almost incredible stroke of luck and clever manipulation, grandmother Emma, daughter Anna and her offspring had married into an actual castle. From now on they were considered even among distant envious family circles as people ‘in the big chips’. The news about Anna’s grandiose coup made all the jealous gossiping about her Jewish ancestry and her good-for-nothing son freeze. All they could say in a both dubious and admiring tone was, “The grandmother, Anna and her son are now castle owners somewhere in West Prussia”.

With the acquisition of Lagowitz the von Waldenfels estate expanded to an impressive 1000 ha piece of property. Lagowitz (Lagowice) is by way of a dirt road a mere 3 km distance away from Panwitz. At the eastern village entrance stood the stately manor inside a park. The country castle was built sometime between 1850 and 1860 in the typical Windsor-Gothic style with its stylistically typical little towers and turrets. In 1995 the author of the Klopp family history, Eberhard Klopp, a distant cousin of mine, found nothing but a few remnants of the ruins of a once magnificent building.

Supposedly the Red Army had set it on fire in 1945. The Polish villagers reported the blowing up of the remaining ruins in 1947, when most of them had just arrived from East Poland to settle in this now Polish territory. Even though there was much information available about the still existing wooden church (built around 1550) in Lagowitz, the author could not find anything on the inherited castle of Emil von Zychlinski (1852-1922). At the castle entrance was supposed to have been a nepomuk-column . Today there is on a base a statue of Virgin Mary. Behind it there are the former state farm buildings, stables and granaries, which were after 50 years in run-down and dilapidated conditions. Opposite to the former castle entrance and the statue, two ‘socialist’ buildings are located, in which live the approximate 30 families of the personell of the communication centre of the Polish army (1995).

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part IV

5

The Panwitz Estate

In 1927 Anna and Ludwig von Waldenfels acquired the estate Panwitz (today Polish Panowice). It was located 15 km southeast of Meseritz, East Brandenburg (today Polish Miedzyrzcecz). Originally it was a knight’s estate of about 300 ha, half of it was land under cultivation and pasture, the other half was forest. The building had been in the sober and down-to-earth style constructed following the trend dominant around the time of World War I.  The two-storey manor with its pseudo-classical columnated entrance and its three-storey high addition of a tower is located in a park in the centre of the village. At the south and east it was partly surrounded by a wall.

In the mid 1920’s the German government has set up a special office at Meseritz to deal with the resettlement of those farmers, who had been dispossessed and expelled from their land  in West Prussia and the Posen territory. To provide them support for their livelihood new settlements were established, in which Panwitz was included. By granting credits for the exchange of real estates to the former land owners the German government was able to push through the acquisition of large tracts of land to help the dispossessed farmers from the former eastern provinces. Through this fortunate turn of events, Ludwig von Waldenfels took possession of the new estate in Panwitz. Ludwig and Anna appeared to have profited the most under the new settlement provisions of the agro-political government programme. In the written records it was mentioned that in 1930 the village of Panwitz under the mayor W. Ihnow was still in the re-settlement phase. By 1939 the village had 32 households of 147 German inhabitants.

Ludwig von Waldenfels and his ‘Baroness’ Anna, as she was from now on very pleased to be called, were by 1930 well established here. Many relatives began to drop in for a visit. Among them were captain and company commander Gerhard Kegler (my uncle), who was stationed at Züllichau in 1934 and brother-in-law Ernst Klopp (my father). Anna’s sister Meta spent in some years entire months at the Panwitz estate. ‘Castle Panwitz’ had turned out to be a beloved family centre for the entire family. For the development of this feeling the arrival of Anna’s mother Emma (my grand-mother) had greatly contributed. She spent the remaining 14 years of her life at Panwitz. Here in the living- and diningroom at the warm fireplace she devoted herself to her dreams. Of unbroken and enterprising spirit even until her very old age, she used to encourage her visiting children and grandchildren with statement like this, “Come and let us make plans”. In the tower chambers of the manor she had her own private apartment.

In 1996, Eberhard Klopp (a cousin of mine), the author of the Klopp family chronicles, noticed that the wooden floors and staircase to Emma’s tower had become totally rotten and had collapsed.

Baroness Anna von Waldenfels (née Klopp) – Part III

10

The Long Arduous Road to the Panwitz Estate

While World War I was still raging and devastating Europe, Anna’s husband Ludwig von Waldenfels was reactivated into the military service on July 27th 1918 and served as supervising officer at a penal camp at Oberhaus near Dachau until demilitarization in May 1919. Now already 43 years old with a modest pension Ludwig had to worry about his family’s future. After his high school graduation in Munich he had taken a three-semester training course at the forestry college at Aschaffenburg between 1894 and 1896. Therefore, he had some basic agricultural knowledge. On the northern edge of Passau the couple acquired the estate Kastenreuth. On the hilly terrain the work in the fields was not very cost effective and the harvests appeared to have been quite meagre.  Already by 1922 Anna and Ludwig sold the property to the physician and researcher Professor Dr. Wilhelm Kattwinkel.

In the same year they acquired the estate Neuhof (today Polish Garbek) in the county of Schlochau. It was located right at the border of the newly formed ‘Corridor’ between the remaining part of German West Prussia and the new state of Poland. According to my cousin Eberhard Klopp’s research my Uncle Hermann (1892-1937) had passed on the 200ha property to his brother-in-law Ludwig. As a result of the Versailles Treaty the Polish border was moved within a few metres of the estate boundary. It ran about 300 metres east of the village street alongside a pond still existing today. In a 100 m direct line of sight was the Polish hamlet Zychce (German Sichts). In 1921 the West Prussian rural bank founded ten settlers’ places in Neuhof. Baron von Waldenfels and his wife Anna acquired the remaining parcel with the even today well-preserved estate building on the left side of the village street.

In the village of Neuhof of some 200 inhabitants Ludwig von Waldenfels worked the 810ha farming property and served at the same time as mayor until 1927. “The inhabitants originated mostly from the stolen parts of West Prussia and partly from Münsterland (Münsterland is a mostly flat, agricultural region in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany).  Only 14 people were speaking Polish.” When the family von Waldenfels left Neuhof in 1927, their property was also parcelled into seven more settlements.

It is definitely unimaginable that the couple von Waldenfels accustomed to the big city life style of Metz and Berlin would feel at home in the solitude of a remote little border village. In the year of their departure in 1927 brother Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964 my father) found employment and stay during the summer harvest. Mostly likely he participated in the preparations for the move out of the second agricultural venture. In the remote bush, heather, and meadow landscape with a few deciduous woods the family von Waldenfels managed to last barely five years.

Now brother-in-law Herman Klopp jumped into action as helper in a new government initiative. Having been the administrator of the copper mill near Meseritz, East Brandenburg (today Polish Miedzyrzcezc) he was familiar with all locally pertinent facts. He made a concrete proposal to the couple von Waldenfels, which turned out to be a stroke of luck.

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