Pawns on the World Stage

By Alfred Opp

Glueckstal Colonies Research Association, Redondo Beach, California, 2007, 169 pages, softcover.


Wedding 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!

Simon 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 World Stage

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