Epp, Dietrich H. (1875-1955)

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Dietrich H. Epp (1875-1955)

Dietrich H. Epp, outstanding educator, publisher-editor, and civic leader of the Mennonite Church in Russia and Canada: born 17 March 1875 (N.S. 29 March) in Chortitza, Chortitza Colony, South Russia. He was the second of three children of Heinrich Epp (18 December 1827–11 April 1896) and his second wife Elisabeth Perk (4 May 1830–25 January 1904). His father had six children from his first marriage to Anna Siemens (1831-1863). On 27 June 1898 Dietrich married Maria Thiessen (10 January 1879, Kherson, South Russia–13 May 1906, Rosenthal, Chortitza Colony, South Russia). She was the daughter of Peter J. Thiessen (11 November 1852–25 October 1918) and Helena (Thiessen) Thiessen (17 December 1855 – 26 August 1911). After the passing of his first wife, Dietrich married Helena's sister Malvina (17 March 1875, Chortitza, Chortitza Colony, Russia–4 March 1942, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada) on 27 July 1909. Dietrich and Malvina adopted John Heese as their child. Dietrich died 31 March 1955 in Rosthern, Saskatchewan.

Epp attended the elementary school, the Zentralschule and the Normal School of Chortitza (1881-92), and the Teachers' Institute of St. Petersburg (1892-95). Dietrich was baptized on 18 June 1895 in the Neu York, Ignatyevo, South Russia. From 1895-1923 he taught at the Chortitza Zentralschule and Normal School, serving also as director during the last four years. He organized the Chortitza Public Library and functioned as its director in 1902-1914. He was the secretary of the Chortitza Life Insurance Company (Sterbekasse) 1901-1910, and of the Chortitza Mädchenschule 1906-23.

In 1923 Epp immigrated from Russia to Rosthern, Saskatchewan, arriving on 4 August 1923. He established a print shop the same year in Rosthern. Epp founded Der Bote, and served as its editor continuously from its beginning in 1923 until his death in 1955. He also published and edited the Saskatchewan Valley News and numerous books in the interest of the Canadian Mennonite constituency. He served as chairperson of the Central Mennonite Immigration Committee 1923-1934, held position on the Board of Directors of Rosthern Junior College, and was a member of the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization. In 1944, when former students of the Chortitza Zentralschule founded the Echo-Verlag, he was elected chairperson of this organization.

D. H. Epp made a significant contribution to the cultural life of the Mennonites of Russia and Canada.


Der Bote (30 March 1955): 3-7; (13 April 1955): 1-2.

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 4.21 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2005.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published July 2005

Cite This Article

MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius and Richard D. Thiessen. "Epp, Dietrich H. (1875-1955)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2005. Web. 23 Jun 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Dietrich_H._(1875-1955)&oldid=143046.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius and Richard D. Thiessen. (July 2005). Epp, Dietrich H. (1875-1955). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 June 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Dietrich_H._(1875-1955)&oldid=143046.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 235. All rights reserved.

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