Back on Track

To all my friends and followers I am sending out my apologies for resuming later than promised my blogging activities. As I am relaxing in the sunshine of a glorious late summer day at our favourite Taite Creek campground on our beautiful Arrow Lake, I am typing up the major themes of the Klopp Family blog for the coming fall and winter.


Keeping Company with Blue Herons

Before I delve into that I wish to express my sincere regret front having had the time to read and appreciate our posts during the last couple of weeks. The summer months – normally already very busy with travels, visiting family and friends, and activities away from the computer – turned out to be extremely strenuous and stressful this summer, although the events also brought a lot of joy into our hearts. After our family reunion on Galiano Island, our son Richard, our grandson Mateo, and the two granddaughters Azure and Emeline spent their vacation with us in July and August. Unfortunately, this was also the time of preparation for the removal of our old house to be replaced by a new modular home, which our son Michael ordered for us to be built on the site of the demolished house.


Early Morning Magic at Taite Creek Campground – Photo Credit: Gertrud Klopp

So you know now why I am writing this introductory post at the campsite. For my wife and I are practically homeless for the next couple of weeks and have to make do in our small travel trailer.

For the fall and winter season, I will focus on the following themes:

The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story (continued)

Revamping and Improving the Family Trees

Fauquier – Nature’s Beauty in the West Kootenays (continued)

Fauquier – Its History (continued)

Aunt Anna – Baroness of Von Waldenfels

Local Enterprises and Cottage Industries

Contributions by Family Members in German

Family Review of Summer 2016

Without home access to the Internet I will publish at the beginning just one or two posts per week. I am looking forward to read again all your posts and am really excited to find out what is going on in your part of the world.

Our 49th Wedding Anniversary

55db1208f2b79aedfc6765855e5fc308As a math teacher I have always been  fascinated by numbers. Today, May 21st, on our anniversary, I see a special meaning hidden in the number of years Gertrud and I have been married.

7² = 49

For forty-nine years Gertrud (Biene) and I have been traveling through life’s pathways, some smooth, some rocky, but mostly straight with God’s help and guidance, who blessed us two with a wonderful family that over the years grew to seven members. We have been married seven times seven years.


The number seven is one of the most significant in the Bible. Scholars say it denotes completeness or perfection. After creating the world God rested on the seventh day and the seven-day week has been adopted by all human civilizations. The word “created” is used seven times in the Book Of Genesis in reference to the making of the world. Seven also symbolizes the unity of the four corners of Earth with the Holy Trinity. The number seven occurs more than 700 times throughout the Bible and 54 time in the Book Of Revelation, which refers to seven churches, seven angels, seven seals, seven trumpets and seven stars. Israel captured the city of Jericho after marching around it seven times, Solomon took seven years to build his temple, Job had seven sons and the great flood came seven days after Noah went into his ark. In the story of Joseph in Egypt there were seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. The list is almost endless. In all cultures the number seven has special meaning and is viewed as a lucky number.

I am happy that I  found and married such a loving wife and caring mother of our five ‘boys’, Robert, Richard, Anthony, Michael and Stefan.

Ferdinand’s Return from America and Challenges to Friedrich’s Inheritance

The Widening Gulf within the Klopp Family

Chart I – II

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.

To be continued …

The Klopp Grandparents VII

The Meddling of a Troublesome  Mother-in-law

Chart I – I & II

Adapted from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle

Zielitz Church

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 them 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.

To be continued …

Günther Kegler, Chief of the Kegler-Clan (Part III), Charts II a & b – II

Günther Kegler at the Brink of a Mental Breakdown

The Boys and the Old Men – Cannon Fodder

January to May 1945

On September 19, 1944 Günther Kegler became leader of the military registration offices at Sangerhausen and Querfurt, Thuringia, about an hour’s drive northeast of Gotha, Biene’s place of birth.

As he could clearly see the imminent collapse of his beloved country on the horizon, he did everything in his power to save what was in his mind the only resource left after Germany’s defeat. To spare young boys from the draft was foremost on his mind. After January 1945 even the diehards of the regime could see the writing on the wall. But instead of preparing for a quick surrender, which would have saved tens of thousands of lives, they obstinately clung to the glimmer of hope for final victory. Goebbels’ relentless propaganda machine fueled a patriotic fervor, especially among boys. Men capable of carrying a rifle or an antitank weapon were to be conscripted.

Goebbels congratulates a young recruit - Photo Credit:

Goebbels congratulates a young recruit – Photo Credit:

The leader of the NS district Querfurt started to meddle in Lieutenant-Colonel Kegler’s realm of authority and insisted that 16-year old boys be included in the draft procedures. They were to fill the gaps of the dwindling forces of the war machine. Against this directive Günther Kegler put up as much resistance as was in his power. But the constant pressure and harassment from above wore him out. Then he heard about Himmler’s horrific order of his court martialed brother General-Lieutenant Gerhard Kegler being demoted to a private and slated to be executed after the final victory.  (His amazing story will be published at a future post.) Günther Kegler broke down under the burden of these fateful events and was admitted to a sanatorium at Erfurt on April 1, 1945. He stayed until May 31, 1945 and recovered sufficiently to allow him to return to his family at Nonnenrain Street, Erfurt.

Erfurt, Thuringia - Photo Credit:

Erfurt, Thuringia – Photo Credit:

Unfortunately, his ordeal was far from over. By prior arrangement between the US and the Soviet Union, the American occupation forces withdrew from Thuringia and handed over the administration of the province to the Russians. Arrests, interrogations mostly conducted at night, closing of savings accounts and all sorts of other chicanery followed in quick succession. As my uncle stated in his family chronicle,  it was the fate of countless other German officers in the Soviet Occupation Zone.

To be continued …

Operation ‘Kleiner Bär” 1940 (in German)

Die Lebenslinien von Bruno Kegler und Rolf Barge treffen sich 1940 im Schwarzwald – Part II

 Von Dieter Barge (Chart II a – II & IV)

Die Division wurde am 31.5.1940 bei gutem Wetter in Marsch gesetzt, die Fahrt ging von Burg über Magdeburg, Halle , Naumburg nach Erfurt, das gegen Abend erreicht wurde.
Von Erfurt ging es über die Rhön nach Frankfurt-Süd, von dort über die Bergstraße nach Heidelberg, das Neckartal hinauf bis Stuttgart. In Stuttgart (1.6.1940 abends) erfolgte die Ausladung und der Abmarsch über Freudenstadt nach Zell. Die endgültige Unterbringung der Einheit von Bruno erfolgte in Schuttertal.

Endgültige Unterbringung

Endgültige Unterbringung

Nach Tutschfelden kam die 3.Kompanie des IR 386 und die 2.Batterie des AR 216, nach Bleichheim die 3.Kompanie des IR 386, nach Schweighausen der Reg.stab des IR 386 mit Nachrichten-, Reiter- und Pionierzug. Der Regimentskommandeur des IR 386 war Oberst Manitius.

Laut Forum der Wehrmacht (FdW) hatte damals ein Infanterie-Regiment hatte ca. 3000 Mann, ein Bataillon ca. 860 Mann, eine Infanterie-Division über 10.000 Mann.
Die Unterbringung erfolgte bei den Einwohnern der Orte, in Schulen, anderen öffentlichen Gebäuden, oder es wurde biwakiert.
Eine Übersicht über den Oberrhein gibt das folgende Bild:

Übersicht Oberrhein

Übersicht Oberrhein

Der Angriff

Hier der Bucheinband zu dem bereits genannten Buches von Josef Göhri:

Breisgauer KTB Göhri

Breisgauer KTB Göhri

Josef Göhri schreibt, dass die deutschen Angriffstruppen in Bleichheim in wenigen Tagen enge Freundschaft mit der Bevölkerung geschlossen hatten, aber die vollbehangenen Kirschbäume bald wie leergefegt waren. Die Dorfbewohner schauten mit einem lachenden und einem weinenden Auge zu, “wir Buben hatten das Nachsehen”.
Am 10.Juni wurde die Division in den Angriffsraum vorgezogen, die Führungsstaffel der Division rückte nach Wagenstadt, einem Stadtteil von Herbolzheim, vor, der Rest des Stabes wurde nach Ettenheim verlegt.

Befehl Angriffsraum 10.6.1940

Befehl Angriffsraum 10.6.1940

Aus den beiden folgenden Dokumenten geht hervor, dass die schwere Artillerieabteilung 806 meines Vaters der 218.ID zugeordnet wurde, sie von der 218. ID verpflegt wurden und die Munition für den Angriff in Weisweil erhielt. Die 806 rückte am 14.Juni aus Oberachern nach Kappel vor.

Die beiden folgenden Bilder zeigen eine motorisierte Artillerie-Einheit bei Bleichheim, es handelt sich dabei um eine Batterie 15cm s F.H.18 (schwere Feldhaubitzen), diese Einheit kam wie Rolf auch aus dem Artillerie-Regiment 65 in Mühlhausen.

Die 218. ID gehörte ebenso wie die 221. ID und 239.ID zum XXVII. AK (Armeekorps)von General Alfred Wäger,
nördlich davon stand das XXV.AK von General Ritter von Prager mit der 555.ID und der 557.ID, südlich davon XXXIII. AK von General Brandt mit der 554.ID und der 556.ID.

Den deutschen Truppen in diesem Gebiet standen die V. und VIII. Armee Frankreichs gegenüber.

Im Vorgriff wurde die Bevölkerung in den Gemeinden zwischen Rhein und den geschützten Lagen im Schwarzwald evakuiert.

Im Rücken der französischen Armeen an der Maginotlinie war bereits die Panzergruppe Guderian unterwegs, um diese einzukesseln, am 9. Juni 1940 hatte die zweite Phase des Westfeldzuges mit der Durchbruchsschlacht durch die französische Aisne-Front begonnen. Am 12. und 13. Juni schloss sich der Kampf um Châlons s.M. und den Rhein-Marne-Kanal sowie bis zum 17. Juni die Verfolgungskämpfe über den Rhein-Marne-Kanal bis zur Schweizer Grenze bei Pontarlier an.

Am 15.6.1940 begann der deutsche Angriff auf die französische Maginotlinie um 10 Uhr mit schwerem Artilleriefeuer aus 300 Kanonen insbesondere gegen die feindlichen Bunker, um den Rheinübergang der deutschen Truppen vorzubereiten. Daran waren auch die Geschütze des Westwalls und das Eisenbahngeschütz “Kurzer Bruno” beteiligt.
Den Tätigkeit eines vorgeschobenen Beobachters (VB), die mein Vater bei der 806 hatte, wird durch das folgende Bild vom Bundesarchiv veranschaulicht.

Russland, Artillerie-Beobachtung

Russland, Artillerie-Beobachtung

Nach dem Artilleriefeuer begann der Sturm der Einheiten über den Rhein, der geplante Einsatz von Stukas konnte wegen des schlechten Wetters nicht erfolgen. Der Rhein führte Hochwasser, Flußbreite ca. 210m, Wassertiefe 5-6 m, Strömung 3-4 m/sec, ca. 40 sec dauerte die Fahrt mit einem Sturmboot.
Ich habe die Übersetzstreifen der 218.ID einmal in der Übersicht dargestellt, vom IR 386 waren 2 Bataillone eingesetzt, Bruno war also nicht dabei. Eine Vorstellung über den Rheinübergang vermitteln die folgenden 3 Bilder von Josef Göhri, ein Bild des Bildarchivs zeigt ein Sturmboot im Einsatz.

Das IR 386 startete aus dem Raum westlich von Wyhl und sollte sich in Richtung Mackenheim vorkämpfen. Es wurden 500 Mann mit 60 MG in 6 Etappen übergesetzt. Die Fahrt über den Rhein war sehr verlustreich, vom Regiment wurden 33 Mann vermisst. Im Verlaufe des Tages wird ein kleiner Brückenkopf bis zu 500 m Tiefe gebildet.
Wenige Tage später erfuhren die Bewohner von Bleichheim von einem zurückgekehrten Unteroffizier, dass viele Soldaten in ihren Booten ums Leben kamen, “der Rhein war vom Blut rotgefärbt”!
Am 15.Juni begann durch das Pionierbataillon 685 (der 239. ID unterstellt) der Aufbau einer Pontonbrücke über den Rhein bei Sasbach, nahe den Überresten der Limburg.
Am 16.Juni hat das IR 386 Marckolsheim erreicht, es gab Unterstützung durch Stukas.

Göhri Stuka

Göhri Stuka

Zerstörte Bunker aus dem Buch von J.Göhri:

Am Abend überquerten die Truppen den Rhine-Rhone-Kanal und eliminieren weitere französische Bunker.
Am 17. Juni wird Marckolsheim eingenommen, am 17.Juni 8 Uhr ist die Pontonbrücke fertig und schwere Waffen können übergesetzt werden. Am Abend des 17.Juni wird Colmar besetzt.

Bruno war in eine große Vorausabteilung, gebildet aus den IR 386 und 397, eingeteilt, diese Abteilung sollte eigentlich am 15.Juni übersetzen und die Spitze der ID 218 bilden, das hat nicht wie geplant geklappt. Ich berichte im 3. und letzten Teil meines Beitrages detailliert über einen Bericht, den ich in den Unterlagen der 218. ID darüber gefunden habe.

Die Einheit meines Vaters wurde, wie aus Unterlagen des XXV. Armeekorps hervorgeht, in der Nacht vom 16. zum 17.Juni der 557. ID zugeführt und unterstellt, am 18.Juni überquerte sie in der Dringlichkeitsstufe an 10.Stelle die Pontonbrücke Sasbach.
Diese 557. ID/ XXV. AK agierte im Raum Rhinau im Bereich der V. französischen Armee.
Von der Rheinüberquerung 4 Bilder meines Vaters:

Von der Operation “Kleiner Bär” gibt es einiges im Axis-History-Forum und bei Feldgrau zu lesen.

Es geht bald weiter.