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Jantzen, Hermann (1866–1959)

Proper Title

Hermann Jantzen fonds

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

3 cm of textual material

Biographical Sketch

Hermann Jantzen was born on May 28, 1866 in the village of Hahnsau in the Am Trakt Settlement in the Samara region. His parents were well-to-do landowners in this settlement. As a twelve year old boy (in 1882 he would have been 16?), he moved with his parents to Turkestan, led by Claas Epp, a brother-in-law to his father. While employed by an Emir of Chiva he mastered the Usbek language and became well versed in the Islamic religion. Later through E.H. Broadkent of England he was called to be a missionary to the Islamic people of central Asia. He accepted this call and made a number of trips into Turkestan, before the 1917 Russian Revolution disrupted his life. In 1923 he emigrated from Russia to Germany, and eventually settled in Holland. The last 10 years of his life he lived near Hilversum, where he died in 1959 at the age of 93 (see "Recent Acquisitions: Papers of Missionary Hermann Jantzen," Mennonite Historian 16/2 [June 1990]:7).

Custodial History

In February, 1972, Mrs. H.F. Klassen donated Jantzen’s letter about Turkestan, written for the Mennonitische Rundschau. Another part of the Hermann Jantzen fonds was donated by Mrs. C. Klassen in June, 1981. A further addition to this fonds was acquired in 1990.

Scope and Content

The Hermann Jantzen fonds consists of a 34-page letter by Hermann Jantzen (Holland) and his experiences in Turkestan related to his mission, as well as correspondence with Ernst Kuhlmann of Omaha, Nebraska during 1949–1951, and an autobiography written by Jantzen at the age of 85, in 1951.


  • Volume 976.
  • Described by Alf Redekopp in 1997, updated by Conrad Stoesz April 15, 2002.
  • Accession number is 1981-53.
  • Finding aid: Small collections J, files 5 and 6.
  • No restrictions.

File List

Volume 976

  1. Letter to “Meine lieben Mennonitischen Leser,” Hermann Jantzen writing about the churches in Turkestan, Central Asia for the Mennonitische Rundschau. 2 copies. – 25 November 1947.
  2. Obituary taken from Mennonitische Rundschau 1 June 1960. Notes for the Mennonite Historian, June 1990 edition.
    • Jantzen’s manuscript of his autobiography. – 1951.
    • Correspondence with Ernst Kuhlmann of Omaha, Nebraska. – 1949–1951. “Mennonites in Turkestan: A 1923 Portrait” by Hermann Jantzen, translated by John B. Toews, in Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Summer 1996, p. 1–8.
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