The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community


Rocking the Rocky Mountains!



My driving tour from Vancouver to the Rocky Mountains was really amazing. I had the opportunity to visit different places, and one of the towns that I stopped by was called Banff. This place is so beautiful, surrounded by beautiful mountains.


This town offers endless things to do, alive with adventure, and wonderful vistas in every direction. I decided to go cycling and enjoy the stunning views.

The town of Banff is located within the Banff National Park. Once “Siding 29” on the Canadian Pacific Railway, the town of Banff was intended to be a tourist town from its very inception.


I was cycling by the Vermilion Lakes, a stunning place to go and visit. Northwest of the town, this trio of tranquil lakes is a great place for wildlife-spotting: elk, beavers, bald eagles and ospreys can often be seen around the lakeshore, especially at dawn and dusk. A paved driveway –…

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Venice: Come Hell or Acqua Alta (Part Two)


This is a great story accompanied by some amazing photos on the city of Venice. I decided to reblog it, because in our own family we had similar experiences. In a situation, by which we normally would be shocked, we break out in fits of laughter instead. Eventually even the victim begins to see the funny side of it. Enjoy!

Travels and Tomes: One Expat's Amblings and Ramblings

Alternately entitled:  Making a Splash in Venice

To recap from Part One:  “First, the water came up to meet us. . .

. . . and then we went down to meet the water.  Or, at least, my husband did.”


Before we traveled to Venice, we did a little research.  We knew enough to ask about the acqua alta, to ask if we should pack high boots.  Not to worry, we were told by our hotelier, this is not likely to be a problem while you are here.  And, truly, there was no problem with the acqua alta– it came, it saw, it retreated quickly without particularly hampering our plans or wetting our socks.  Our hotelier did not steer us wrong.  He wasn’t counting, however, on my particular family’s foibles.

And that is a long and perplexing list of foibles. . . so before explaining our second…

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USA Wanderings: Being Introduced to New York


This is the city that Gertrud’s twin brother liked so much. It was love at first sight.


I had my first full day in New York yesterday. We did a few things, but not a lot, today is the day that we will be doing a lot as I catch up with a few other WordPress Bloggers. It is going to be a great day, but first I should tell you about yesterday.


So far New York, or Manhattan, has been great. I haven’t been at all disappointed. It was as I imagined it and more. I loved the streets and the architecture is fantastic. I had to make sure I didn’t just look up all the time.


I got to go on the subway, which was really fun. I know a train is a train, but they are all different really. The stations were just like I’ve seen in movies and television shows. It was hot down there though, and I did have trouble with my…

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Günther Kegler, Chief of the Kegler-Clan (Part IV)


Günther Kegler Struggling Through the Postwar Era

From June 1946 to April 1975

Charts II a & b – II

In June 1946 former Lieutenant-Colonel Günther Kegler had the humiliating experience of two long years of unemployment, which in all likelihood was forced upon him by the new Soviet rulers of East Germany. On rare occasions he was able to hire himself out privately as a common laborer or as a helper in all kinds of pest control in and around Erfurt. During this time, as reported in Chapter 6 in the P. and G. Klopp Story, his nephews Karl and Adolf and later his niece Eka (Lavana) quite unexpectedly arrived at his doorstep. The Klopp children had no idea of the whereabouts of their parents. It was a miracle that the entire Ernst Klopp family was reunited in 1948 in the small village Rohrdorf in Southern Germany.

Erfurt Cathedral and Severi Church - Photo Credit:

Erfurt Cathedral and Severi Church – Photo Credit:

Finally in March 1947 Günther Kegler found employment at his son-in-law’s beverage plant in Erfurt and in 1950 within the same company became its bookkeeper. Thus, he could make use of his skills in accounting, which he had practiced between the two World Wars. On April 28, 1955 he fled with his wife Lucie to West Germany leaving behind all his furniture and other bulky belongings. Fortunately, he found immediate employment at the newly established beverage company that was owned by his son-in-law A. Lotz, who also had fled from East Germany. In 1956 his status as a refugee from the GDR was officially recognized. In the same year he was able to retire with a pension that at last provided a comfortable standard of living for the rest of his life.

The Rental House in Watzenborn-Steinberg (now Pohlheim)

The Rental House in Watzenborn-Steinberg (now Pohlheim)

However, his plan was not to live out the remaining years in meaningless idleness. On the contrary, he helped many people with advice on legal issues, accounting problems, and above all he gave assistance in their struggle with the notoriously slow  bureaucracy of the West German government offices. In 1962 he invited his sisters Marie and Erika to join him and share a beautiful rental house in Pohlheim (former Watzenborn-Steinberg). That’s where his wife Lucie after a lengthy illness passed away in 1968. My uncle spent the next decade with his second wife Elfriede in their seniors’ apartment in Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe. I will write about Elfriede in another post.


New Year’s Eve Party 1963 – Helga Kegler, Uncle Günther, and Eka (Lavana)

I remember Uncle Günther as a dear friend, who was also a fun loving individual. He enjoyed a good beer and passionately played the German card game ‘Doppelkopf’. In our correspondence we exchanged all kinds of humorous tales, while I was a soldier in the West German Armed Forces. He held the family together in a spirit of giving and outstanding hospitality. He truly deserved the prestigious title ‘Chief of the Kegler-Clan. Long after I emigrated to Canada, he sent me in keeping with his admirable Prussian sense of duty documents, which he had carefully arranged by date and importance. With the help of these papers I was able to draw some forty years later a small pension for my military service in Germany. Every month I buy two cases of beer with that money. And when I drink the refreshing brew, I often think of my dear old uncle in Germany.

Winter Losing Its Grip on Fauquier, BC


More Pictures of this kind are on Flickr.

Needles – a Town that is no More Part I


The ferry at Fauquier is generally known as the Needles ferry. One may wonder why this is so. Before the valley was flooded for the BC Hydro project in 1967 there was Needles, a prosperous little town on the other side of the lake. Mrs. Annette Devlin describes the early beginning in a report with pictures, which with her kind permission I have taken from her own personal archive.

Minto at Needles Photo Credit:Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.

Minto at Needles  – Photo Credit:Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.

Why did many old timers always speak of Needles as “The Needles”? This was due to the long sand points that reached out into the lake. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there was a rapidly growing district surrounding the town site of ‘Needles’. Amongst the early settlers of Needles were Mr. & Mrs. Robert Shiell and brothers, Jim and George Shiell who arrived in 1900. They first lived in some of the early day miner’s buildings at the Monashee mines. In 1903 there were only four names on the voter’s list.


The settlers at that time working in the district had over 1500 acres of highly approved land cleared, cultivated and planted to orchards. Within a year’s time Needles became a large fruit-distributing centre. In one season there were over 3000 boxes, crates and trays of all kinds of the highest quality fruit sent to prairie markets. One of the most valuable additions to the town was the large packing house, which was completed in 1913. A government wharf was also built at that time. The first schoolhouse was built in 1908 and the first teacher was Mr. Freeman. The first post office was at Mr. J. Bang’s place in the Inonoaklin Valley (then Fire Valley) and was moved to the Shiell’s home in 1902.

Needles General Store after a Flood

Needles General Store after a Flood

In 1908 a general store was built by Mr. A.W.Lift. A hotel was built by Mr. G. Craft and was completed in 1923. Mail service was daily by C.P.R. boat.

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