© Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Last updated March 27, 2007)

  • Bergen, Esther (Klaassen), 1921-2005

    Retrieval numbers: Volume 2211 and 3718

    Title: Esther (Klaassen) Bergen fonds
    Dates: 1936-1980
    Extent: 7 cm of textual material
    Repository: Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives

    Historical note

    Esther Katherine (Cathryn) Klaassen was born in Morden, Manitoba, on June 18, 1921, to Michael and Katherine (Dalke) Klaassen. Michael was the minister of Herold Mennonite Church, and his father, Martin Klaassen, was a church leader in Russia before him. Despite financial barriers, Esther attended high school at Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, Manitoba, and later also attended the Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg, studying the Bible, music and German. She married Menno Bergen in 1952, and together they spent 13 years serving in Mexico under the Commission for Overseas Missions of the General Conference Mennonite Church. They also served the church and its organizations in Gretna, Taber, Alberta, and Herbert, Saskatchewan. They retired to Winnipeg in 1984, where they attended Bethel Mennonite Church. Throughout her life, Esther was heavily involved in music, both as a teacher, and as a translator of hymn texts. She translated from German, English and Spanish for hymnbooks, Mennonite World Conference songbooks and the Gospel Light Hour. She also led church activities and translated Sunday School Materials. In her later years, she organized her family's genealogical records. Esther died on March 1, 2005 in Winnipeg.

    Scope and content note

    This fonds contains a variety of writings and translation work by Esther Bergen. There are several collections of poetry, written in English and German on religious themes and for various events (1936 to 1980). There are several files of her translation work, with sheet music, translated lyrics and Sunday School material, in German, English and Spanish. Including are correspondence related to her translation work. Finally, one file contains Esther's writing about family history as well as some memorabilia.

    Index terms


  • Bergen, Esther (Klaassen), 1921-2005

    Adjunct descriptive data

    Finding aids

    Inventory file list available

    Related material in this repository

    Michael Klaassen Collection



    English (about 60%) and German (about 40%)


    Description completed by Joanne Moyer in January 2007.

    Restrictions on access

    None to access

    Inventory File List

    Volume 2211
    1. Family history including: photocopies of photographs, an illustrated story about Russian Mennonites emigrating to central Asia, and a blessing from Helen Klaassen to her son when went to Russia; an advertisement of Michael Klaassen’s public auction; and “Peace Stories” written by Esther Bergen about her family’s history.
    2. English poetry from 1936 to 1976, photocopies of handwritten originals.
    3. German poetry from 1936 to 1974, photocopies of handwritten originals.
    4. German poetry from 1936 to 1980, photocopies of handwritten originals. Duplicate of previous file plus some additions.
    5. Peace and conscientious objection: writings by Esther and her husband, Menno, in English, ca. 1992-1999.
    Volume 3718
    1. Hymn translations for Mennonite Brethren Hymnal: typed hymn lyrics in English and some German.
    2. Sunday School Lesson Translations: published and typed English Sunday School material and typed German translations.
    3. Translations for Mennonite World Conference: sheet music in English and Spanish, typed translations of lyrics in German, and correspondence from 1978 to 1983.
    4. Translations for Mennonite Brethren Communications: sheet music and typed hymn lyrics in both English and German, and related correspondence in English from 1978 to 1982. Primarily material from Mennonite Brethren Communications, but also some materials relating to the Conference of Mennonites in Canada and the Canadian Mennonite Bible College.
    5. Translation of Sawatzky family history: correspondence in English and German and copy of German family history with English translation.