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Klassen, Elisabeth (1869–1955)

Proper Title

Elizabeth Klassen fonds

Dates of Creation

[ca. 1998]

Physical Description

1 folder of textual records

Biographical Sketch

Elisabeth Hamm (1869–1955) was born in Halbstadt, South Russia, to Hermann and Eva (Goertzen) Hamm. She married Johann Jakob Klassen (1860–1932) in 1893. The couple had eight children. Seven of their children married. All seven, along with their families, were sent to Kazakhstan. Elisabeth and her daughter, Susa (1902–1992), remained at home in the Mennonite villages of Waldheim and later Gnadenfeld, Molotschna.

At some point, Elisabeth's daughter-in-law, Katya (Epp) Klassen (1913–1994), widow of her son David, joined them along with her three sons. In 1943, they left Gnadenfeld on the Great Trek to Germany. By 1946, they had arrived in Roverstein in the Netherlands. Elisabeth, Susa, and Katya with her boys immigrated to British Columbia, where Elisabeth died in 1955.

The above biographical sketch was written by Laureen Harder-Gissing, https://uwaterloo.ca/mennonite-archives-ontario/personal-collections/elisabeth-klassen

Custodial History

The custodial history of this item is unclear. It was donated to CMBS Winnipeg by Evangeline Matthies Neuschwander of Goshen, Indiana, on April 9, 1998. Gerhard Reimer is the translator of Klassen's account.

Scope and Content

This collection contains one item. It is an English translation of Elisabeth Klassen’s story written in Roverstein, Holland, in 1946. It is about her experience of fleeing Russia during the Second World War, living in Germany, and then making her way to Holland. Also included is a two-page account of how Evangeline Matthies, as an MCC worker in Holland, met her great-aunt, Elisabeth Klassen.


  • Volume 995.
  • Described by Conrad Stoesz November 1, 1999; updated by Jon Isaak, September 2023.
  • Accession nos. 1998–021.

File List

Volume 995

  1. Elizabeth Klassen, “My Experiences and My Flight from Russia,” Roverstein, Netherlands, 1946, translated [ca. 1998].
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