Klaassen, Martin (1820-1881)

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Martin Klaassen: teacher in the village of Köppental, Trakt Mennonite Settlement, Russia. Martin was b. 27 April 1820 in Schönsee, Prussia, the second of eight children of Jacob Klaassen (15 March 1793 - 17 May 1879) and Helena (Hamm) Klaassen (26 April 1793 - 23 May 1870). Martin married Maria Hamm (21 October 1829, Orloff, Prussia - 12 March 1904, USA) on 6 October 1855. Maria was the daughter of Michael Hamm (25 April 1790 - 25 November 1862) and Helena (Klaassen) Hamm (7 June 1798 - 11 February 1866). Martin and Maria had seven children, with three living to adulthood: Michael, Jacob, and Helena. Martin d. 24 November 1881 in Serabulak, Turkestan.

Martin and his parents immigrated to the Trakt Mennonite Settlement in the 1850s from Prussia, with Martin settling in Hahnsau. Martin and his family followed Claas Epp to Central Asia in 1880, where Martin died the following year. His widow Maria immigrated to the USA in 1884 with their surviving children, settling first in Beartrice, Nebraska before moving to Oklahoma in 1894.

Martin is best known for his book, Geschichte der wehrlosen taufgesinnten Gemeinden von den Zeiten der Apostel bis auf die Gegenwart (Danzig, 1873), written when exemption from military service was at issue in Russia. His purpose was to follow nonresistance as a Christian principle through the history of the church, and by giving a connected historical account of nonresistant brotherhoods who remained true to the Gospel of Jesus, to encourage the Mennonites of his day to hold fast to the principle. He divided the history of these brotherhoods into three periods: The first period began early in the third century, when the first "Anabaptists" opposed the secularized church, and extended to Peter Waldus; the second period extends to Menno Simons, and the third to 1873. He did not believe, however, that these various groups belonged together. Their stamp of connectedness was derived from their adherence to the Word of God. This book was written with warm devotion and was not without its effect.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 5.00 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2006.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 504.

Martin Klaassen diaries in Michael Klaassen fonds, Mennonite Heritage Centre archives (Winnipeg, MB)

Author(s) Horst Quiring
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published February 2007

Cite This Article

MLA style

Quiring, Horst and Richard D. Thiessen. "Klaassen, Martin (1820-1881)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2007. Web. 19 Mar 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Klaassen,_Martin_(1820-1881)&oldid=145573.

APA style

Quiring, Horst and Richard D. Thiessen. (February 2007). Klaassen, Martin (1820-1881). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 March 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Klaassen,_Martin_(1820-1881)&oldid=145573.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 189. All rights reserved.

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