Ernst was the sixteenth and last child of Friedrich and Emma Klopp. Within the short timespan from March till June 1900, four fateful events occurred in Wolmirstedt. In March the eldest son Friedrich (1875 – 1946) married Marie-Luise (née Weihe, 1880 – 1924), who was six months pregnant. At the end of May, Peter Friedrich Klopp (1852 – 1900) passed away. He was good-looking, handsome, slightly obese, and a giant of a man. He was generally of a cheerful disposition and was not disinclined to an occasional drink in the genial company of like-minded buddies every once in a while.
In the middle of May not long before my father’s birth, he was riding home from a hunting party. It appears that he often left direction and speed to the discretion of his well-trained horse. Maybe on this chilly night, he had had just one drink too many. Falling asleep on horseback is never a good idea, especially when you are in that cozy state of inebriation. Inevitably, he slipped off the saddle, and the horse trod home without him. Early next morning travellers found him lying half-conscious on the roadside. He was sober by now but suffered from a severe case of hypothermia. Soon after, he acquired a kidney infection, from which he was unable to recover. He died on the 26th of June 1900 at the age of 48.
At the beginning of June, the first child of the eldest son was born. Her name was Frieda (1900 – 1979). Finally, on June 28, 1900, the fatherless Ernst was born. Thus, Frieda and her uncle Ernst were of the same age. The two have never met again in later years.
These intersecting both joyful and painful events happened during those four months in the crowded conditions of the house in Wolmirstedt. The expulsion of the Klopp son Ferdinand (1879 – 1952) and his departure to the United States also occurred during the first half of 1900. All this wore down the family’s physical and psychological ability to cope. The acquisition of the mill Wehrmühle near Zieglitz by the forty-year-old widow appears almost like a desperate attempt to gain her freedom and independence from all these troubles at home.
It was painful for me to discover that the son of Anna von Waldenfels was an SS officer. However, what made this particular case even more shocking was that Georg von Waldenfels’ heart and soul was filled with an insatiable lust for power, glory and possessions, which even went beyond the allowable within the regime he was serving. In other words, he was an opportunist of the worst kind and would have been ‘successful’ in any other political system. He skillfully exploited every opportunity for his personal gain. For example, he attempted to acquire an estate worth millions of dollars in today’s real estate market, a large piece of property complete with a mansion, even a factory and many outbuildings that been confiscated by the state from a Jewish couple.
In spite of this blemish in our family history, I decided to publish it. What made my decision a bit easier was the fact that I had no personal connection with the son of my aunt Anna von Waldenfels. In all biographical endeavours one needs a certain emotional distance in order to preserve objectivity. Furthermore, so far my task had been to translate merely the relevant passages from my cousin’s book published in German with the somewhat long-winded title: “A Letter to the Descendants of the Klopp Family from Altenburg/Brome and Wolmirstedt.”
When I now turn my attention to the biography of Friedrich Ernst Klopp, it is important to be aware of the fact that emotional distance in describing objectively my father’s life is no longer possible. On the one hand, I continue to rely on Eberhard Klopp’s family chronicle for invaluable information. On the other hand, there are my very own experiences with and personal impressions of my father that needed to be told in order to add some deeply felt love, understanding and respect for my father to an overly sober and matter-of-fact kind report by my cousin. To distinguish my insertions from the translation, I am going to use the italic font style whenever I feel the need to throw additional light on my father’s fascinating life story or fill some of the gaps left in the Klopp family chronicle.
The twelfth child, born in Wolmirstedt on 4 August 1894, did not reach adulthood just as the seventh and tenth child. Although Selma had been mentioned in family circles, nobody could recall any details about her final resting place. The date and place of death could not be found in the official records of the town of Wolmirstedt, Jersleben or Elsenau. However, a photo of her exists (not in my possession), which was made in 1903 or 1904 by the photo store owned by Paul Lorenz. It shows her when she was about nine or ten years old. Her face, no longer childlike, already displays features of early adolescence. In all likelihood, she suffered from a lung disease just as her sister Else born a year later, who will be the topic of the next post. In 1903 or 1904 she moved with her mother Emma to Elsenau in West Prussia, and there she must have passed away a little later having suffered from tuberculosis.
Introducing the Fifth Child of Friedrich and Emma Klopp
Klopp Family Tree Chart I – II
Rosa’s Marriage with August Diesing
On June 6, 1881 Rosa was born in Jersleben. Her father P.F.W. Klopp had just given up the mill at Osterweddingen due to an interim phase at his trade. In his home town Jersleben he recovered sufficiently to prepare the short-lived enterprise of the ‘Düppler’ mill at Olvenstedt. Since the family returned in 1885 via Magdeburg-Neustadt to Jersleben, Rosa was introduced to the school in 1887 either there or in Wolmirstedt.
She did not resettle with her mother Emma in Elsenau, West Prussia, but married in 1903 the carpenter and later construction master August Diesing (1875-1939) of Atzendorf near Staßfurt. At the time of the wedding he was employed at a local construction company.
Rosa and August had seven children: Werner, Elsbeth, Rosa, Alice, Erika, Willy, and Fritz. The eldest son, most likely born in 1903, wears a marine uniform on a photo from 1920.
Since 1905 at the latest, the family was residing in Gostyn, Posnan and participated in 1908 in the acquisition of a dairy business lease with brother-in-law Ferdinand Klopp (1879 – 1952, see previous posts). Daughter Rosa, known as Rosel, was born there in 1905. Also all subsequent children were born there, before the region became part of the re-established country of Poland.
In 1919 the Diesing family established themselves on a temporary basis at Lebus west of the River Oder. Carpenter Diesing also appeared to have acquired land and worked on it for a while in the agricultural domain.
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.
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.
On November 22, 1879 the fourth child was born in the house on Hemmsack Street in Osterweddingen near Magdeburg. Anyway, these houses – some still existing today- are traditionally ascribed to the dwellings of mill leasers and workers since the 19th century. Already in 1881 Ferdinand moved with his parents back to Jerslebe3n, spent three years there at the Düppler Mill and in 1885 entered the Elementary School of Wolmirstedt, the birth place of my father Ernst. In the nearby town of Jersleben, Ferdinand’s father P.W.F. Klopp had found work as miller master.
In 1893 Ferdinand was sent to Hannoversch-Münden to attend a dairy apprenticeship program. When he returned to his father’s great disappointment after only one year of training, his father forced him to work with his eldest brother Friedrich as a rope maker’s apprentice in the Wolmirstedt house. He had probably shown little interest in his work in Hannoversch-Münden and further increased the image of a good-for-nothing worker under the whip of his elder brother and rope making master Friedrich. The disrespectfully treated Ferdinand was from then on called rather degradingly clown (“Klon”).