Fighter Pilot and Hereditary Estate Farmer
Friedrich and Emma’s eleventh child, Hermann was the first one to be born in the recently acquired house on 30 August 1892. In 1903 the eleven-year-old boy moved with his mother Emma and his six younger siblings to the farmstead at the village of Elsenau near Schönsee (now Polish: Kowalewo Pomorski) in West Prussia. Hermann completed an agricultural apprenticeship in that area and found before 1916 an administrative post of the Prussian state property Wtelno near Gogolinke, county of Bromberg (now Polish: Witelno near Gogolinek, about 20 km northwest of Bydgoszcz). The agricultural area of the domain was 385 ha.
In 1916 Hermann became a soldier and participated in World War I. He enlisted at the newly established air force unit just as his brother Ferdinand, who had served from 1915 on at the airstrip Großenhain. In August 1917, according to an army postcard, he became a fighter pilot trained at the “Flieger-Ersatz-Abteilung I”.
From March 21 to November 10, 1918, the day of the unit’s closure, Hermann Klopp belonged as a lieutenant and fighter pilot to the Airforce Unit I, which was headed by Manfred von Richthofen (1892 – 1918). Hermann was on active duty when his leader was fatally shot down on 21 April 1918 between Bray and Corbie (France).
Since the end of March 1918 the headquarters of the famous unit JG I was moved forward to the airport Léchelle as part of the German March offensive. After Richthofen’s death, First Lieutenant Reinhard became Herman’s new leader. On 6 July 1918 Captain Hermann Göring (1893 – 1946) was installed as the last commanding officer of the Imperial Airforce.
Under Göring’s leadership, the distinguished and audacious unit suffered heavy losses in the summer and fall of 1918. During the course of these air battles, during which Lieutenant Hermann Klopp flew the fighter plane Fokker D VII, his flying machine was shot down in the vicinity of Léchelle/Cappy. Seriously wounded he was transported to the nearest field hospital. It was found that he received a non-operable lung shot, from which he suffered for the rest of his life.
To be continued …
Amazing Fertility in the Face of Death
The euphoria during the following two and a half years was almost without limits, even though P.F.W.Klopp’s milling business was on the decline. Around the time of Christmas 1884, most likely while they were still living in Magdeburg, Friedrich Klopp went about having another child. Anna, born on September 29, 1885, was the eighth child in the ever-growing Klopp family. Friedrich took his clan and moved back to Jersleben, where he found accommodation and presumably gainful employment with one of the three mill owners of his apprenticeship years. There he devoted his energies to the creation of yet another offspring and succeeded at the beginning of March 1886 in getting his wife expecting again.
Weekly Market in Today’s Magdeburg – Photo credit: magdeburg.de
At the beginning of the same month on March 5, 1886 the sickly August Otto Wilhelm passed away at the age of one year and seven months. This early childhood death points to the poor standards of hygiene in the mill environment at Jersfeld of this era and highlights the tribute, which the family had to pay at their return to their home turf. The loss was bearable and soon forgotten.
Midland Canal near Jerleben – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org
During the weeks of Emma’s mourning 33-year-old husband Friedrich provided plenty of physical comfort and warmth, the result of which excluded any fear of extinction of the male lineage in the Klopp family. Exactly nine months later on December 8, 1886, Wilhelm, the fifth son and by now the ninth child, made his entrance into the family. August Otto Wilhelm is the only Klopp child to be buried in the cemetery of the Jersleben church yard.
The Short Life of Emma’s Seventh Child
After the mill business in Olvenstedt turned out to be a complete disaster in 1893 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.
Bahnhof Magdeburg Neustadt – Foto: geolocation.ws
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.
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.
Sangerhausen in the Harz Mountains – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org
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.
Turmoil in the Parental Home at Wolmirstedt
Klopp Family Tree
Chart I – II
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.
St. Joseph Church in Wolmirstedt – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org
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.
Adding Oil to the Fire
Friedrich Klopp and His Mother-in-law (Chart I – I & II)
Translated and Adapted from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle
Crest of Loitsche – Photo Credit: Wikipedi.org
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.
Today’s Loitsche – Photo Credit: tokiohotel.myblog.de
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.
To be continued …