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.
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 – 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
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 – 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.
Dear reader, if you wish to refresh your memory on my uncle Friedrich Klopp (1875 – 1946), the oldest child of Peter and Emma Klopp, go to the Klopp Family page and click on the Klopp tree. There you will find all the previous posts on Friedrich in chronological order.
Friedrich’s Second Marriage with Auguste Berlin
Translated and Adapted from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle
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.
Church at Hemstedt – Photo Credit: margherita.alaio.it.rand.stad.com
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).
Gardelegen – Photo Credit: gardelegen.de
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.
Old Fortress at Gardelegen – Photo Credit: koblenzer-bildungsverein.de
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.
To be continued …