Epp, Katharina Ratzlaff (1902-1984)

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Kathrina Ratzlaff was born 16 August 1902 in Steinfeld, Zagradovka, South Russia, to Abram and Katharina Fast Ratzlaff. At age 14 she joined the Mennonite Brethren Church. In response to the needs of her community, she studied Tracktmoaki (chiropractic) and obstetrics. After three years of study at the medical school at Halbstadt, she realized that she could not receive a diploma because of her refusal to become a communist.

On 22 November 1929, Katharina married Johann Epp. On 17 December 1930, they fled with all of the Mennonites of Shumanovka on 60 sleds across the Amur River and went on to Harbin, China. In May 1932 after over a year of harassment and poverty, the Epps sailed for Paraguay with 373 Mennonite refugees. The Harbin Mennonites settled in the Chaco in Karlsruhe 16. The Epps lived there for 33 years, building a farm, providing medical help, and helping to lead the Mennonite congregation (General Conference Mennonite) there. They raised six children.

Because of her experience and training, Katharina received many calls for midwifery, bonesetting, physical therapy, and counseling. She had a special concern for the Indians who lived near the village. She also helped start a Frauenverein (women's circle) in her congregation.

In 1965 the Epps moved from Karlsruhe to Filadelfia. There Katharina was active in the mission society and spiritual counseling. She died 15 October 1984.


Unrau, Ruth. Encircled: Stories of Mennonite Women Newton, KS: Faith and Life, 1986: 275-283.

Author(s) Ruth Unrau
Date Published 1990

Cite This Article

MLA style

Unrau, Ruth. "Epp, Katharina Ratzlaff (1902-1984)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 5 Aug 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Katharina_Ratzlaff_(1902-1984)&oldid=141855.

APA style

Unrau, Ruth. (1990). Epp, Katharina Ratzlaff (1902-1984). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 5 August 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Katharina_Ratzlaff_(1902-1984)&oldid=141855.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 270-271. All rights reserved.

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