Chapter 20 of the P. and G. Klopp Story – Part IV

Biene’s Moroccan Pen Pal

One Saturday morning, not long before the short weekend leave, the corporal nervously entered our room and told us that the captain himself would be checking out hallway, room and closets. “Don’t disappoint me,” he demanded half pleadingly, half threateningly. We were eager to oblige being interested only in one thing, the pass that allowed us to go home. So we scrubbed and polished the wooden floor, mopped the tiles of the hallway especially well. For weeks I had specialized in cleaning the windows. I discovered that the toilet paper available in large quantities worked best to give the glass that desirable sparkling look. Of course, the closet had to be immaculate. Over one speck of dust a grumpy sergeant could deny your weekend pass or at the very least cause a delay of several hours.

Biene, Papa Panknin, and Twin Brother Walter

Biene, Papa Panknin, and Twin Brother Walter

The captain, however, not only represented the kind and benevolent father figure to us, but also had recently become the proud father of twins, the event that among us soldiers earned him the title Scatter Gun (Streubüchse). He now entered the room. We stood at attention next to our closet. It was clear from the way the captain approached the first soldier that he was more interested in passing on a few words of wisdom than in the inspection of our open closets. So when it was my turn, I was quite relaxed. He must have gone through our personnel files, for he said, “Klopp, I see that you are a high school graduate. What are your plans for the future?” Without waiting for an answer, he continued, “When you are young, you must have a dream. Without a dream you are nothing but a hollow entity. Understand me right; I am not talking about a fuzzy dream about getting rich and famous. What I mean is the dream of becoming a valuable member of society and a contributor to the common good.” With about these words the officer, turned philosopher, spoke to me. Now he reminded me that he had not answered his question.

“I love electronics and would like to become a high frequency engineer,” I stated emphatically.

As if ignoring my reply, the captain went back to the importance of having a dream. “A dream is nothing but an idle pipe dream, if you cannot find the means to realize it. You must have a plan backed up by a number of concrete steps. You must always keep your goal no matter how distant before you inner eyes, so you don’t miss your target.”

Then he came to the point, “So you want to become a high frequency engineer. That’s your dream. Well, here is a plan for you to consider. The Bundeswehr (German army) will send you to a postsecondary technical institute all expenses paid. In return, you commit yourself for ten years of service or if you wish, you can opt for a permanent career as officer and instructor. Think about it and let me know when you are ready to talk.” With these words he moved on to the next soldier, who had a picture of a naked woman taped to the inside of his closet door. The captain took one look and to our surprise did not reveal the slightest trace of anger, when he addressed him with a soft voice, “Say, young man, how would you feel to see a photo of your sister in the nude on somebody else’s closet door?” and with that remark he moved on to the next soldier. Needless to say we all got our weekend pass including the one with the pornographic picture. In a general assembly of the company our leader once spoke about his dream to read and understand Immanuel Kant’s ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ before his retirement. To be sure, it was a far loftier goal than mine of becoming an electronic engineer. The book that he was referring to is to the understanding of philosophy what Einstein’s theory of relativity is to the understanding of physics.

Falckenstein Barracks still in Use Today - Photo Credit: wikipedia .org

Falckenstein Barracks still in Use Today – Photo Credit: wikipedia .org

In the meantime Biene’s letters kept coming with the regularity of a clock and brought the sunshine of her empathy for the hardships of a soldier into my heart. We agreed to write one another in such a way as if we had known each other for a long time, to treat each other with honesty so that in the absence of face-to-face encounters no false impressions developed in our minds. Even secretiveness would be a form of dishonesty I noted in one of my letters. Being sincere was the necessary ingredient for the development of a true friendship leading so I was hoping to something more permanent. All Biene and I had for now were the letters, in which we expressed our feelings in the discussions of poetry, movies we had seen, or simply the daily obstacles that fate would throw into our path.

Up to this moment I had also maintained a loose correspondence with my dance partner Margret, who was working as a nurse’s aid in the Wesel hospital with the goal of becoming a registered nurse. The letters we wrote read more like newspaper reports and contained for the most part our criticism of the rotten world around us that we could not change. In short they were devoid of any feelings expressed or implied. In response to the dilemma that could only grow worse over time, I decided to write her a short note explaining to her in keeping with our sober writing style matter-of-factly as to why I did not wish to carry on with our correspondence. She acknowledged receipt of my message in a final postcard. I was relieved that she took my note with a sober mind and in the end did not get emotional about it.

Morocco's Beautiful Coastal City - Photo Credit:

Morocco’s Beautiful Coastal City – Photo Credit:

In the meantime Biene was raving about the sunshine, warmth, beauty of a rocky coastline in a distant land in North Africa. I attributed the sudden and unexpected passion for Morocco to the extended periods of rain and depressing overcast skies we had experienced of late. But later she wrote about her grave concern for her pen pal. He had suddenly become ill and wanted her to come and visit him presumably in the hope for a miraculous recovery. The news came like a cold shower and considerably dampened my spirits. I realized that while I had read perhaps too much between the lines, Biene might have read too little. But who was I to assume that just because I had broken off the correspondence with Margret, Biene should do the same with her pen pals? So I did the right thing and expressed my sympathy with the fatally ill young man of Morocco. ‘Thousands of people’, I wrote, ‘die every day and it does not affect us. But if a friend or close relative passes away it is as if our world is falling apart. The bridges we so lovingly and carefully built to reach across suddenly collapse and only memories remain at the end.’

Final Photo of the entire Company - Who can find Peter?

Final Photo of the entire Company – Who can find Peter?

In the meantime my basic training was coming to an end and I was getting ready for the transfer to the Falckenstein barracks. There was a lengthy pause in the flow of mail. Biene’s high school class went on a field trip to Paris, which was intended to be a short immersion into French culture. Upon her return she sent me a long letter describing her exciting adventure with her class in France, but did not mention her Moroccan friend any more. I carefully avoided the topic. Instead, knowing that Biene was taking Latin classes at high school I boldly sent her a signal in Latin: Amor qui non agitur moritur, which means ‘Love that is not active dies.’


A Walk Through Wolmirstedt, Where Ernst Klopp Was Born (Written in German)

Bericht über Wolmirstedt und die Klopp’s

von Dieter Barge – Chart II a – IV

Also Chart I – I & II

Als ich in Peter’s Bericht über die Klopp’s das Bild der Seilerei Friedrich Klopp in Wolmirstedt gesehen habe, interessierte mich sehr, wo das wohl war.
Edda und ich lebten doch selbst von 1980 bis 1990 dort.
Ich hatte ein Buch von Otto Zeitke und habe mir noch 2 weitere Bücher antiquarisch besorgt, diese hat Otto Zeitke gemeinsam mit Erhard Jahn geschrieben. Die Beiden haben sich als Heimatforscher sehr verdient gemacht, Otto Zeitke ist 1924 geboren und versteht es gut, die Berichte der älteren Leute interessant wiederzugeben. Erhard Jahn ist um einiges jünger und hat in Wolmirstedt ein Ingenieurbüro für Architektur.

Im ersten Buch “Das alte Wolmirstedt” fand ich dann vermeintlich die Seilerei Klopp !
Um sicherzugehen, habe ich bei Erhard Jahn angerufen, habe ihn nach Klopp’s gefragt und da kam sofort die Frage zur Seilerei Klopp zurück. Ich habe ihm einiges erzählt und ihn gebeten, mal das Bild in einer Mail zu betrachten und meine Vermutung zu bestätigen.
Das hat er auch getan und mir bestätigt, daß das Gebäude links neben der Druckerei Grenzau die alte Seilerei Klopp ist. Beide Gebäude befinden sich in der Friedensstraße, das ist der neue Name für den nördlichen Teil der ehemaligen Magdeburger Straße Er kannte auch das Bild von der Seilerei schon. Daneben ein aktuelles Bild von Herrn Jahn mit dem ehemaligen Seilereigebäude in der Mitte.

Ich stelle hier ein Google-Earth-Bild mit der Friedensstraße ein:

7 Bild Google-Earth

Herr Jahn hat mir auch erlaubt, Bilder aus den Büchern im Blog zu benutzen und erzählte, dass Anfang der 90-er Jahre ein etwa 60-jähriger Klopp bei ihm in Wolmirstedt war, nach Durchsicht seiner Aufzeichnungen fand er heraus, dass dies Eberhard Klopp war, also der Klopp, der das Buch:

“Ein Brief an die Nachfahren der Familie Klopp aus Altendorf/Brome und Wolmirstedt”
Teil 1   400 Lebensläufe zwischen 1590 und 1990
1997 Verlag Trier

geschrieben hat. Herr Jahn stand mit Eberhard Klopp an der Hindenburg- bzw. Magdeburger Brücke und dieser hat mit der Hand auf die Stelle gezeigt, wo von 1900-1912 die “Seilerbahn” der Klopp’s war. Inzwischen weiß ich, daß Eberhard der Großcousin von Peter Klopp ist.

Aus den 3 Büchern habe ich einen kleinen Abriß zur Geschichte von Wolmirstedt gemacht:

Das kleine Städtchen Wolmirstedt, 14 km nördlich von Magdeburg gelegen, wurde erstmals 1009 urkundlich erwähnt.
Wahrscheinlich während der Völkerwanderung bildete sich eine geschlossene Siedlung, die “Walmerstidi” genannt wurde, diese befand sich am Zusammenfluss von Ohre und Elbe und bildete unter “Karl dem Großen” einen östlichen Grenzort des großen Frankenreiches.
Am Ende des 13.Jahrhunderts änderte die Elbe ihren Lauf in Richtung Osten, heute mündet die Ohre bei Rogätz in die Elbe.
Im 30-jährigen Krieg wurde Wolmirstedt 1642 völlig zerstört, 1642 fand eine öffentliche Hexenverbrennung statt!
Einen Aufschwung gab es für den Ort nach der Besetzung 1807 durch die Truppen von Napoleon. Die Leibeigenschaft wurde abgeschafft, es gab mehr Freiheiten für Handel und Gewerbe und weniger Privilegien für den Adel!
1890 hatte Wolmirstedt 3868 Einwohner, nicht mitgezählt wurden die 50 Beschäftigten auf dem Junkerhof.
Die Magdeburger Straße, dort wo sich die Seilerei Friedrich Klopp befand, wurde 1365 noch als “Steinweg” benannt, sie war eine wichtige Durchgangsstraße von Magdeburg nach Norden. Die Passage über die Magdeburger Brücke der Ohre muss “sehr riskant” gewesen sein. Ein Fuhrwerk benötigte damals einen ganzen Tag, um nach Magdeburg und zurückzukommen.
1667 wurde die Torakzise (Wegezoll) eingeführt, das “Magdeburger Tor” wurde errichtet, 1812 wurde die Torakzise abgeschafft.
In der Straße siedelten sich Kaufleute, Handwerker, Fabrikanten, Handwerksmeister, ein Apotheker, ein Schmied und ein Kantor an. Die Straße war “420 Schritte” lang und endete am alten Rathaus, einem Renaissance-Bau.
1925 lebten 170 Familien in der Straße.
Die “Magdeburger Brücke” hieß zeitweise “Hindenburgbrücke”.
Markante Gebäude waren das Polizeiamt, die Buchdruckerei Grenzau, die den “Allgemeinen Anzeiger” herausgab (daneben die Seilerei Klopp), “Schau’s Hotel”, die Gaststätte “Schwarzer Adler” (1971 abgerissen), die Alte Schmiede, das Fachwerkhaus des Schlossermeisters Jänicke, die “Wildemanns Gaststätte und Pension”.
Einer von Wolmirstedt’s Originalen war der Wirt des “Schwarzen Adler’s, Kurt Güssefeld.
Der heute über 90 Jahre alte Otto Zeitke ist ein toller Erzähler vom alten Wolmirstedt und seinen Bewohnern, da gibt es viele interessante Dinge zu lesen:

-Er berichtet, dass der Wirt einmal plötzlich sagte “Das kann’s doch nicht geben, wie der Schinder die Braunen hetzt”, dann lief er zum Fenster, sah auf die Straße, , schüttelte den Kopf und brummte unverständliche Flüche gegen den
-Auf dem Hof des Rathauses gab es den Karzer, das Gefängnis. Die Frau vom Polizisten Meier betreute und versorgte die Knastbrüder, der Volksmund sagte zu den Insassen, sie sind im “Cafe Meier”.

Ich habe mit Otto Zeitke lange nett telefoniert, er wirkt noch sehr jugendlich und berichtete mir, dass er die Kanuten in Wolmirstedt organisierte, er ist auch der Meinung, dass die Seilerbahn der Klopp’s am Ufer der Ohre gelegen haben muss.

Am 11.3.2015 war ich mit Edda in Wolmirstedt, wir haben die Friedensstraße von der Ohrebrücke bis zum alten Rathaus abgewandert und Fotos gemacht.

Ich stelle nun einige der Bilder neben den alten Aufnahmen aus den genannten Büchern ein. Den Anfang macht das Bild von Eberhard Klopp, das mir Herr Jahn freundlicherweise auch geschickt hat. Ich habe rot eingezeichnet, wo sich vermutlich die Seilbahn Klopp befand.

Vom ehemaligen Magdeburger Tor ging es dann aufwärts nach Wolmirstedt hinein.

Der nächste Abschnitt beginnt mit der Ecke “Schwarzen Adler”, führt am Haus der Seilerei Klopp und dem Polizeigebäude vorbei bis zum ehemaligen “Schau’s Hotel”.

Nun geht es im nördlichen Teil der Straße bis zum alten Rathaus.

Zum Schluß noch 4 sehr schöne alte Fotos aus dem alten Wolmirstedt.

The Klopp Grandparents V

Miller Master Peter Friedrich Klopp

1852 – 1900

Adapted from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle

Miller’s apprentice Peter Friedrich Wilhelm Klopp and Emma Christiane (née Bauer) were married on September 27, 1874 in the village church at Jersleben. He was 22 and she was 18 years old. Their marriage of over 25 years was blessed by a phenomenal fecundity, coming close to the Austrian Empress Maria-Theresia. Sixteen children emerged from this union.

Windmill at Osterweddingen, Peter F. Klopp once worked

Windmill at Osterweddingen, where Peter F. Klopp once worked – Photo Credit:

A few years after the wedding P. F. Klopp became qualified as master miller. Several attempts of running his own mill (e.g. the ‘Düppler Mill’ at the southeast end of Olvenstedt) as well as working in three different other mills in Jersleben failed. Around 1890 already blessed with seven children it appeared that he was finally able to secure a solid economical foundation. Together with his eldest son Friedrich (grandfather of author Eberhard Klopp), who had just finished his rope making apprenticeship, he acquired a house in Wolmirstedt. Peter concentrated on the production and sale of flour, while Friedrich operated the rope making plant. Housing for a very large family, storage facilities for grain, flour and feed, manufacturing shop etc., were all under the same roof.

Rivalries, quarrels, and petty disputes about who was in charge of it all did not create a climate conducive to a prosperous enterprise in the Magdeburger Straße (now Friedensstr.). When brother Ferdinand, also a trained rope maker joined them, Peter began to worry about losing his independence and looked for  a way of dissociating  himself from the troublesome business in Wolmirstedt.

Supported, perhaps even driven by his energetic wife, Peter F. Klopp returned with his family to Jersleben, where he established his own business of producing and selling flour. He seized on a golden opportunity of acquiring a long sought-after watermill. All indications  are that he was not to see his final dream  come to fruition. For documents show that widow Emma Klopp  was the owner of the mill in 1901 one year after her husband’s death. The reader can find more about the tragic event in Chapter 4 of ‘The P. and G. Klopp Story’ on this blog.


The Klopp Grandparents Part II

Peter Friedrich Klopp (1852-1900) – Chart I -I

Adapted from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle

The Magdeburg period of our family line was ill-fated right from the beginning. In spite of hopeful attempts it remained  in its vocational prospects at a relatively low level. The family of the former Prussian soldier and, later on, of the ‘carting entrepreneur’ Heinrich Friedrich Klopp of Jübar painfully experienced the low-bourgeois and proletarian social conditions in the city of Magdeburg of the 19th century, which the GDR historians had later so dramatically, but accurately described in their annals. Already before 1860, the most dire poverty of all family related epochs controlled the history of our Klopp family line. Since the catastrophes of the Seven Years’ War this particular time frame represents a social and existential low point beyond all comparison.

The early death of the father at the young age of 40 and the passing of his mother at the age of 44 indicate that the change of the Klopp line from farming into the commercial and industrialized realm of business of a big city had exacted a high price  in terms of health and vitality. At the death of his mother Peter Friedrich Klopp (10th generation) was 18 years old. Perhaps out of concerns for the health of her eldest son she may have made arrangements ahead of time for employment back to the country with one of the three mills at Jersleben near Wolmirstedt.


Photo credit: Bergfels Flickr

Photo credit: Bergfels Flickr

2007 Wolmirstedt Schäfergruppe von Werner Bruning

The Klopp Grandparents Part I

Peter Friedrich Klopp (1852-1900) – Chart I -I

Adapted from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle

It was my goal to restrict the family research to our grandparents. Yet, to get a well-rounded picture of Peter Friedrich Klopp and to enhance our understanding of his colorful personality, I need to go back to his parents, Heinrich Friedrich and Charlotte Wilhelmine (neé Hoppe) Klopp. They got married in the St. Catherine Church on July 6, 1851 in Magdeburg, where they lived until Heinrich’s early death in 1861, most likely brought on by consumption, the most common cause of death in those days.


In the few years, which Heinrich had after the wedding, he was barely able to eek out a living for his growing family. For a short while he managed to run an independent business as hauler and carrier of goods, mail and people. With horse and buggy he provided a service to the people of Magdeburg very much akin to a modern taxi service. During this time three children were born, the first born being my grandfather Peter Friedrich Klopp. The location where he worked and lived with his family was the former shopping street ‘Breiter Weg’ (Broadway), known as the popular social center complete with pubs, inns, breweries, stores, various governmental establishments and offices, for which Heinrich could provide a service in the fledgling transportation business, enough at least to feed his family. Alas, he passed away too soon, and widowed Charlotte had to endure many hardships raising her children and working as seamstress and washerwoman. On October 27, 1862 she gave birth to the illegitimate son Franz Karl August, whose father remained unknown. In 1864 she married Ferdinand Pielert, who, having been born in 1836, was ten years younger and worked as deckhand on one of the boats plying the waters of the Elbe River. Due to the transitory nature of his work the two rarely saw each other. When he finally settled down with a permanent address in Magdeburg, Charlotte had already died on October 28, 1870.

Magdeburg on the Elbe River

Magdeburg on the Elbe River – Photo Credit:

Little Peter Friedrich Klopp (born on January 23, 1852) was barely nine years old when his father died. As the eldest he experienced how his mother after the loss of the bread earner plunged into deeper misery and abject poverty. Since his stepfather Pielert was rarely at home with no permanent address in Magdeburg, the responsibility for her son’s education and trade lay entirely upon the shoulders of the single mother. The circumstances, under which Peter Friedrich Klopp found his way to the mills at Jersleben, could probably be guessed from his mother’s connections with relatives and acquaintances in her hometown Wolmirstedt, a short distance north of Magdeburg.


Auerbach Mill near Wolmirstedt – Photo credit: