Fonds PP - David D. Klassen fonds

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David D. Klassen fonds


  • 1838-1985, predominantly 1950-1985 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

2.05 m of textual records
2 compact disks

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

David Klassen (1902-1985) was born in Halbstadt, Manitoba as the second child of David (1876-1965) and Anna Klassen (1880-1943). He attended the private school in the area and transferred to the public school in 1914 to complete grade four in the English language. He was married Susan Heinrichs (1902-), daughter of William and Maria Heinrichs on February 5, 1920. Fifteen children were born to this marriage.

David D. Klassen was ordained as a minister of the Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba in 1930 and served in Halbstadt from 1930-1938 and in Homewood, Manitoba from 1938-1964. In 1961 he was ordained as an elder (bishop) in the Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba. He served the church and the wider Mennonite community through various speaking engagements in Canada and in Mexico and on the Southern Manitoba radio station C.F.A.M. He wrote for church papers and was keenly interested in issues of peace, baptism, war, prophecy, and the charismatic movement. He served on the boards of the Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI) in Gretna, Manitoba, Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) in Winnipeg and the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (CMC) Home Mission Board.

David D. Klassen and his wife retired to the Boyne Towers apartments in Carman, Manitoba where he died on September 4, 1985.

Archival history

Most of the material in this collection was transferred to the Mennonite Heritage Centre by David D. Klassen in 1977 and 1984 and 1985. His daughter Kathy Martens also brought materials between 1984-1986 and in 1994 and 2004. Other documents were collected by David and Trudy Schellenberg of Winkler for the Christian Heritage Library. Klassen's son, John, donated a compact disk of an interwiew with Mr. and Mrs. Klassen in 1979. The Low German recordings were deposited by Conrad Stoesz.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

D.D. Klassen
Katherine (Klassen) Martens

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This fonds consists of correspondence, especially letters of condolences and congratulations (ca. 1950-1973); topical files, especially on pacifism, eschatology and the charismatic movement; sermons, poems and songs; religious tracts and pamphlets. Of special interest are some historical documents collected and passed on through the family. One of these files contains documents about the Elder Heinrich Wiens of Gnadenheim, Molotschna who was deported back to West Prussia in 1847. There is also a file of handwritten sermon notes by Heinrich H. Ewert (1855-1934) of Gretna, Manitoba. Klassen was a long serving minister and was deeply involved in the church issues of the day including growth of the church, private Mennonite education, Waisenamt etc. The interview with Mr. and Mrs. Klassen by his son touches on some of these and other issues. The interview with Ken peacock of the National Archives of Canada is regarding Low german nursery rhymes.

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Finding aids

Inventory file list (Volumes 651, 2113-4, 3207-3234, 4742, 4786, 5241-2) Digital media # 32.

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Related units of description

MHC Audio cassettes #93, 141, 172, 173, 658, 659.
Katherine Martens Collection
David D. Klassen sermons in Christian Heritage Library Collection

Related descriptions

Notes area


Accession Numbers 77-01, 86-21, 94-017, 97-150, 03-003, 04-038, 05-095.

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Described by Jake Peters in "Resources for Canadian Mennonite studies: an inventory guide to archival holdings at the Mennonite Heritage Centre" (1988: 122). Updated by Sharon Brown, December 2002; by Conrad Stoesz November 18, 2005; September 17, 2007; February 10, 2010; May 3, 2013.




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