Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

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audience at the Walter Klassen Book launch enjoying the interview.

Walter Klaassen's Translated Book Launch

At 2:30 pm. on Sunday, March 9, about 80 interested people sat in the Fellowship Hall at Bethany Manor to hear about professor Walter Klaassen's translated book, just published. It is a fresh translation of Klaassen's grandfather's German book, published in 1873.

Guests drove in from outlying towns, and a number showed up who have not attended other MHSS book launches. Walter may have been remembered well, for his presentation just a year ago on Pilgram Marpeck.

Martin Klaassen's book published 1873

Martin Klaassen (1820-1881), wrote, "Geschichte der wehrlosen taufgesinnten Gemeinden von den Zeiten der Apostel bis auf die Gegenwart." It was published in Prussia in 1873 in German. Martin Klaassen was born in Prussia but moved to Russia where he became an accomplished teacher who wrote his own curricula.

the old 1873 book beside the newly published translation of 2014

Dr. Walter Klaassen lives in Saskatoon, and has translated his great-grandfather's book into English. This book is now called, " A History of the Defenceless Anabaptists from the time of the Apostles to the Present."

Victor Wiebe explaining the Klaassen books

Victor Wiebe explained the history of the old book, and it's binding, and then the process of publishing Walter Klassen's translation of his great-grandfather's book. This was sponsored by the Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS), something it does ocassionally for very special books.

Jake Buhler introducing Vern Ratzlaff and Walter Klaassen

Jake Buhler, president of the MHSS introduced Pastor Vern Ratzlaff and Walter Klassen, and explained that Vern would interview Walter to help the audience understand the content and value of both the original book and the new translated book.

Vern Ratzlaff interviewing Walter Klaassen
about his translation work

Vern asked poignant, discerning questions. Walter replied earnestly and thoroughly. He also read a profound section from the book that revealed a very solid theology with a flair for literature.

Walter Klassen's wife Ruth was noted as an integral part of the preparation of this new translation/publication.

Susan Braun and Donna Schulz took photos, the latter also covering this event for the Canadian Mennonite publication.

the smorg of faspa sweets afterward

After the interview, everyone was invited to visit the faspa tables for sweets, and to the book table to purchase the new book. Quite a number were sold, and copies can still be ordered through the MHSS website book order form.

For the benefit of those who would like to know more of Martin Klaassen, the theologian great-grandfather, Dr. Klaassen has been asked to write an article for the Saskatchewan Mennonite Historian about his ancestor. You may watch for it there.

An External Review

A Review has been discovered by Valerie G. Rempel, of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, of the above book; Walter Klaassen's translation into English of his great-grandfather's treatise, now called, "A History of the Defenceless Anabaptists from the time of the Apostles to the Present." A scan of this review may be read in THIS PDF DOCUMENT. It provides a well-balanced scholarly perspective.

[last updated - Nov/25/2021]
Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

Room 900 - 110 La Ronge Road,
Saskatoon, SK, S7K 7H8
Archive Hours: Monday: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Wednesday: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. & by appointment on Wed. evening.