Janzen, Johannes (1896-1945)

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Johannes Janzen (1896-1945) Source: The Aerodrome Website

Johannes "Hans" Janzen: military pilot; born in Fronza near Marienwerder on 21 May 1896 to Johannes and Martha (Block) Janzen. Pastor H. G. Mannhardt baptized him in the Danzig Mennonite Church on Palm Sunday, 9 April 1911. He died in fall 1945 as a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union.

In World War I Janzen served with distinction as a flying ace in the German Air Force with 13 recorded kills. He served in the cavalry before becoming a fighter pilot in 1916 with two different squadrons (Jagdstaffeln) that were part of Baron Manfred von Richthofen’s fighter wing (Jagdgeschwader). In March 1918 he was promoted to squadron leader, one of five in the group. Mechanical failure brought his plane down behind Allied lines on 9 June 1918. In September he was still listed in Mennonitische Blätter as missing and presumed dead but he was fact alive and a prisoner in France. He was released in December and thus his name was not included on the honor plaques listing those killed in the war that were hung in the Danzig Mennonite Church building in 1919. A named model of his Fokker Triplane with his personal color scheme is available from a number of American and German websites.

Early in 1920 he returned to the peacetime German Air Force until it was dissolved in the middle of that year. There are no records to indicate that he continued any affiliation with Mennonites after World War I.

His biography vividly demonstrates the fact that many German Mennonites in World War I were no longer interested in the noncombatant positions that were available to them and deliberately chose to serve in combat.


Bodenschatz, Karl. Hunting with Richthofen: The Bodenschatz Diaries. Translated by Jan Hayzlett. London: Grub Street, 1996.

Danziger Mennonitengemeinde Kirchenbuch.

"Johannes Janzen." The Aerodrome. Web. 5 July 2011. http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/germany/janzen.php.

Mannhardt, H. G. "Die Danziger Gemeinde an ihre Männer im Felde." Mennonitische Blätter 65, no. 9 (Sept. 1918): 66-68.

"A Summary of the Research About Johann Janzen, Royal Prussian Jagdstaffel Jasta 6." Blackwaters Productions. Web. 5 July 2011. http://www.blackwaters.ch/fc/janzen/janzen.htm.

Additional Information

This article is based on the original English essay that was written for the Mennonitisches Lexikon (MennLex) and has been made available to GAMEO with permission. The German version of this article is available at http://www.mennlex.de/doku.php?id=art:janzen_johannes.

Author(s) Mark Jantzen
Date Published July 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Jantzen, Mark. "Janzen, Johannes (1896-1945)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2011. Web. 23 Apr 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Janzen,_Johannes_(1896-1945)&oldid=95509.

APA style

Jantzen, Mark. (July 2011). Janzen, Johannes (1896-1945). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 April 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Janzen,_Johannes_(1896-1945)&oldid=95509.

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