Pawns on the World Stage
By Alfred Opp
Glueckstal Colonies Research Association, Redondo
Beach, California, 2007, 169 pages, softcover.
of Andreas Opp. Born 1902 and Anna hulda Zacher,
born 1907, Teplitz, Bessarabia, September 1929.
The Glückstal Colonies Research Association
is pleased to announce the publication of an autobiographical
memoir, Pawns on the World Stage. Written by Alfred
Opp of Canada, it details the path of the Opp family
of Teplitz, Bessarabia, through war-torn Europe in
the 1940's to a new life in Canada. Alfred Opp was
born into a loving family in Teplitz, Bessarabia -
a community that held to the family values and traditions
of the Schwabian Germans. For the first ten years
of his life he experienced an idyllic setting, living
out the social customs of his village, being doted
upon by his grandparents and learning the wisdom passed
down from his ancestors. This came to a halt in July
1940 when the Russian army rolled into town and the
Iron Curtain descended. Then Berlin offered a way
of escape and the entire village willingly headed
back to the land of their ancestors. Resettled in
war-torn Poland amid unfriendly neighbors, their new
life was not what they had dreamed. In 1945 the Russian
Army was once again upon them and they fled to Germany
-- East Germany. Alfred Opp was too young to be conscripted
into the army, but old enough to remember the horrors
and terrors of life in war-torn Europe. How do people
survive when they are reduced to only the clothes
on their backs, fleeing for their lives!
Zacher and crew as wagon makers, Teplitz.
The quest for freedom and a decent life had led the
Opp ancestors to South Russia, and now the same quest
propelled Alfred Opp and his family forward. At last
they arrived in the western sector of Germany, not
far from where their ancestors had departed 160 years
before. Eventually Alfred emigrated to Canada where
he started new once again with no money and no English.
Newly hired at a business that would soon go bankrupt,
he was then offered sole proprietorship of that business
on a handshake. Thirty-three years later he had built
one of the largest auto seat-cover manufacturing companies
in the field. Along the way he met and married his
soul-mate and they raised their family.
Alfred Opp traces his ancestry back to the Urban
Opp who came to South Russia in 1807. Urbanus Opp
was born in Rockenhausen, Rheinland/Pfälz in
1775 and was one of the early Glückstal settlers,
arriving after a stay in Hungary. The family was settled
in Glückstal houselot #88 [Glückstal Revision
Lists of 1816, 1818 and 1858] when the village was
established in 1809. Urban's son Heinrich Opp moved
on to Teplitz, Bessarabia in 1837.
Working with Alfred Opp, Connie Dahlke has prepared
his manuscript for publication and the Glückstal
Colonies Research Association is pleased to present
this story of Alfred Opp's life.
Pawns on the
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to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael