Edgar Pankratz was born in 1930 in Katharinenhof, a Mennonite village in eastern Ukraine. After World War II, he immigrated to Canada, where he worked in a printing plant. He completed his high school education and went on to medical school, where he specialised in obstetrics and gynecology. He retired with his wife to Abbotsford, BC.

In 2015, Pankratz self-published Escape to Paradise (produced by FriesenPress) the story of a Mennonite family escaping to Canada from persecution in World War II Europe. The main protagonist, Theo Dirks, was born in a Mennonite village in the Ukraine. As the Second World War breaks out, Theo and his family are exiled to Siberia. Through disastrous circumstances they manage to escape and return home. But just as the family gets back to the Ukraine, the Germans arrive. Theo becomes drafted, first as a translator and then into the dreaded, and hunted, SS. In the meantime, his family is evacuated by the German Army, ending up in Poland, then East Germany. Theo finds them there after being released from a prisoner of war camp. Re-united, they eventually make their way to Canada. Throughout all their brutal tribulations, the family finds strength and liberation in their faith.


Escape to Paradise (FriesenPress 2015) 978-1-4602-6572-7

[BCBW 2015]