Stoep Stories No 2

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Friday, 2nd May 2014

Published by the Graaff-Reinet Heritage Society 

From Dorothy Parkes

In 1940, Douglas Parkes was farming at Klipfontein. He had a German-born farm manager, Ralph Kleudgin who was quartered at the mountain farm, Kondoa. He was told by the police in Graaff-Reinet that they suspected Kleudgin of broadcasting information from the farm. Notwithstanding the reluctance of family and friends to believe the police story, since Kleudgin was an excellent worker and a very useful man, the police persisted. Despite a number of searches of the farm the police were unsuccessful in obtaining evidence of the broadcasting.

Eventually a decision was made to arrest and intern Kleudgin and after coaxing the police car up the steep, very rough track, the Sergeant arrested Kleudgin and carried him off to the local jail.

He was in due course, moved to the intern camp at Andalusia, near Kimberley.

In the meantime, Douglas Parkes had enlisted in the DMR (Die Middelandse Regiment) and during a spell of duty guarding internees, met his erstwhile farm manager “behind the wire”.

Kleudgin was released in November 1944 and was refused when he returned to the district and asked for his old job back. Meantime Parkes had himself become a prisoner and spent some bitter uncomfortable years in camps in Italy.

The evidence against Kleudgin eventually came to light; the decaying cottage at Kondoa was demolished and in the process, the sudden collapse of the chimney revealed the “Made in Germany” broadcasting set which had eluded so many searches!