The Janzen Roots


Nicholai went home to gather his remaining personal items and to give the Paraguay immigration documents to Elizabeth. Good byes were brief as Nicholai took his leave and walked over to Sarah’s place. Nicholai Janzen’s children never saw their father again.

Nicholai never wrote to Gerhard nor to Dietrich. John soon joined Nicholai in California and made a meager living working for fruit farmers. Nicholai on his own established a market business and sold meat to Mennonites for a living. Photos show he liked big black cars and had a beautiful orchard. This orchard was personally fashioned after the garden he had sketched for the Lindenau Wirtschaft. Again it was fabulously rich with oranges, apples, cherries, peaches, plums and pears. In the center a bench was placed where Nicholai could be found meditating for hours with his eyes closed and his head in his hands and his elbows on his knees. Sarah thought Nicholai was pining for the old country.

Sarah said Nicholai died of a broken heart. He was 78. She did not know about Lenchen.

Nicholai Peter Janzen (1869 – 1947) is buried in the city cemetery, Reedley, California.

The step-Janzen family never made an effort to get to know Nicholai Janzen’s family. I never met my grandfather Janzen.

The Nicholai Janzen family immigrated to Paraguay but never forgave their father for deserting them in China. My father at the age of about 75 visited Paraguay and found his family living in poverty in primitive villages.



Ed Janzen is the editor and publisher of CANADIAN STORIES, a literary folk magazine that publishes short stories and poems from Canadian writers of every province of Canada. Story Quilt is an electronic magazine similar in content. Ed has written four memoirs. He also writes for the old car hobby and has a column in OLD AUTOS - a biweekly newspaper featuring mostly Canadians events and automotive history.
2 Responses
  1. author

    Katharina Janzen7 months ago

    Hallo, eine Nichte von Nikolaj Janzen, Margarita Janzen, lebt noch. Zur Zeit wohnt sie in Deutschland. Sie ist 99 Jahre alt. Kann sehr schlecht hören, aber in Gedächtnis ist sie noch ganz klar. Sie ist die Tochter von Abram (Jüngste Bruder von Nikolaj) und Sara Janzen. Sie erinnert sich an ihre Oma Anna Janzen, später Neufeld( geb. Hübert), wahrscheinlich mehr nach Erzählungen von ihrer Mutter.

  2. author

    Ed Janzen7 months ago

    Interesting. Thank you for your comment, Katharina. I really enjoyed your reply.


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