of Alberta

David Ratzlaff collection

Accession 2008.027

Title and Description

David Ratzlaff collection. – 1945-1997. –  31 cm of textual records

Administrative/Biographical History

David Ratzlaff, son of David and Wilhelmina (Schmidt) Ratzlaff, was born 28 February 1917 in Deutsch-Wymyschle, Central Poland.  He received his early education in Deutsch-Wymyschle where he became a member of the Mennonite  Brethren Church.   He was conscripted for military service in the German army during World War II.  On 8 July 1944, while on military leave, he married Maria Ratzlaff.  Shortly after his marriage he was taken to a Soviet Prisoner of War camp and held until 1948.  He emigrated to Canada in 1949, where he was reunited with the wife and son who had  been born in 1945 while he was a Prisoner of War.  The family settled in Calgary where he established a construction company.
David Ratzlaff was an active member and lay preacher in the Mennontie Brethren Church who also became keenly interested in the history of both the Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren churches, families and communities of Wymyschle and the nearby community of Deutsch Kazun.
Since most of the information and documentation collected by David Ratzlaff relates to, or is copied from church records, a brief history of the Mennonite churches at Deutsch-Wymyschle and Deutsch-Kazun may be helpful.
Mennonites from West Prussia emigrated and settled in several scattered rural communities of central Poland as early as 1762.  The largest of these villages were Deutsch-Wymyschle and Deutsch-Kazun.  A chapel and school were built in Deutsch Wymyschle between 1764 and 1770.  In 1883 some members of the Mennonite church transferred their membership to a Mennonite Brethren Church founded through the influence of Mennonite Brethren from Russia.  After that the small remaining Mennonite congregation at Deutsch Wymyschle was served by the leader of Deutsch-Kazun.
There were small but steady streams of migration from Deutsch-Wymyschle and Deutsch-Kasun to Volynia, Russia and North and South America.  As a result, despite natural growth and the conversion of some local people, membership in both Mennonite churches remained quite small.
The Mennonite churches of central Poland were closed during or immediately after World War II and almost all the remaining members left or were expelled after the war.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of  photocopies of a three-part history by Robert Foth of the history of the Mennonites at Deutsch-Wymyschle based on three main church books: 1. Abstracts of significant events recorded by church leaders, and membership registers, in a book subsequently lost in a fire; 2. A book containing emigration and complete family registers; and 3. A register of births.  David Ratzlaff transcribed and supplemented Foth’s work.  In addition, he copied detailed genealogical information from seveal different church books, and prepared more detailed genealogical information about the Ratzlaff and related families.  He also helped to organize and was a prominent participant in several reunions in Canada of former residents of Deutsch-Wymyschle.  Copies of the hymns and anthems sung at Wymyschler reunions are included in the collection but the dates and contents, as indicated on the covers, are incorrect.  The information and notes have been left in the order in which they were received but file numbers were added by the archivist.

Source of Acquisition

Gerda Trawfir, daughter of David Ratzlaff.

Related Material

Ben Ratzlaff, The Andrew B. Ratzlaff Biography & Family Record, 1824-1972 (Abbostsford)

David Ratzlaff, Wymyschle.  Wir Predigen Christum den Gekreutzigten.  Eine Abhandlung ueber die MB-Gemeinde Wymyschle und das Wymyschler-Treffen am 16 July 1977 in Three Hills Alberta

Erich Ratzlaff, Im Wiechselbogen  Mennonitensidlungen in Zentralpolen (Winnipeg: Christian Press, 1971.

Erich Ratzlaff, Keine Bleibende Stadt.  Darbietungen und Vortraege auf dem Zweiten Wymyschler-Treffen in Three Hills, Alberta.

Erich Ratzlaff, Auf Tabors Hoehen, Wymyschler-Treffen 1977 in Winnipeg.

File List

History of the Mennonites at Deutsch-Wymyschle
1. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Deutsch-Wymyschle. Polen, Erster Teil, written or compiled by Robert Foth.
2. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Deutsch-Wymyschle, Polen, Zweiter Teil, Mennoniten Bruedergemeinde, written or compiled by Robert Foth.
3. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Deutsch-Wymyschle, Polen, Dritter Teil.  Der Absteig und Untergang der Mennoniten- und Mennoniten-Bruedergemeinde zu Deutsch Wymyschle, written or compiled by Robert Foth.
4. Anhang zur Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Duetsch-Wymyschle, Polen.  Verschiedene Verzzeichnisse, bueltig fuer beide Gemeinden zu Dt.  Wymyschle, written or compiled by Roberf Foth.
5. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten zu Deutsch-Wymyschle, Polen. written by Robert Foth, transcribed by David Ratzlaff with additional information from other sources.

Copies of pages from the register of births.
6. Ratzlaff families from the Przechowka church book records.
7. Janet Taylor lineage.
8. Janet Taylor. Information about Heirich W. Ratzlaff.
9. Janet Taylor on Johann Ratzlaff family.
10 Janet Taylor about Peter Ratzlaff.
11. Janet Taylor information about David Ratzlaff
12. Janet Taylor information about Andreas Ratzlaff.
13. Plenert, John
14. Plenert, Cornelius
15. Schmidt family from the Przechowka church book records.
16. Family records A  B
17. Family records C  D  E
18. Family records F
19. Family records  G
20. Family records  H
21. Family records I  J  K
22, Family records  L  M
23. Family records  N
24. Family records  O  P
25. Family records  R
26. Family records  Ratzlaff
27. Family records    S
28. Family records    T
29. Family records  U
30. Family records  W
31. Family records  Z

Copies or information derived from family “Stammbaum der Deutsch Wymyshler Mennoniten, Band II and `Przechowka Mennonite Church Book.
32. Stammbaum A   B
33. Stammbaum B
34. Stammbaum B
35. Stammbaum B
36. Stammbaum B C D
37. Stammbaum E  F
38. Stammbaum F
39. Stammbaum  F
40. Stammbaum F
41. Stammbaum F
42. Stammbaum F G H
43. Stammbaum H
44. Stammbaum H  K
45. Stammbaum  K
46. Stammbaum K
47. Stammbaum K
48. Stammbaum K
49. Stammbaum K
50. Stammbaum  K M
51. Stammbaum M
52. Stammbaum N  O  P
53. Stammbaum P
54. Stammbaum R
55. Stammbaum R
56. Stammbaum Ratzlaff
57. Stammbaum Peter Ratzlaff
58. Stammbaum Ratzlaff families
59. Stammbaum Ratzlaff family
60. Stammbaum Franz Ratzlaff
61. Stammbaum R
62. Sammbaum R  S
63. Stammbaum Sch
64. Stammbaum Sch
65. Stammbaum Schw
66. Stammbaum Sch
67. Stammbaum Sch
68. Stammbaum Sch
69. Stammbaum S  T  U  V  W
70. Stammbaum W
71. Stammbaum W
72. Stammbaum W|
73 – 77. Stammbaum “Schon verwendet” (already used or included)
78. Stammbaum “Gebraucht” Used
79. Wymyschler reunions
80. Ausgeschiedenes Material.  Unsere Mennonitische Wehrlosigkeit.


GRANDMA #136214