Classification scheme: 
Hist.Mss.1.358 (s.c.)

Title: Elisabeth (Hamm) Klassen fonds

Dates of creation: 1946, 1998

Physical description: 1 cm 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 (b.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 Katya's three sons. In 1943 they left Gnadenfeld on the Great Trek to Germany. By 1946 they had arrived in Roverestein in the Netherlands. Elisabeth, Susa, and Katya with her boys immigrated to British Columbia, where Elisabeth died in 1955.

Custodial history: Donated to the Archives in 2023 by Marlene Epp

Scope and content: An account by Elisabeth Klassen of the Great Trek of 1943 from Soviet Ukraine to Germany and, by 1946, to Roverestein, an estate in the Netherlands used by Mennonite Central Committee. Includes an introduction by Evangeline Matthies Neuschwander, Elisabeth Klassen's grandniece, who met her by chance at Roverestein while assisting refugees. The introduction was written in 1998. This manuscript of Klassen's account is a translation by Gerhard Reimer, edited by Leonard Gross.

Notes: Original archival description created 2023 by Laureen Harder-Gissing


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