A Mennonite Family in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, by David G. Rempel

By David G. Rempel

In this bright and fascinating research, David Rempel combines his first-hand account of existence in Russian Mennonite settlements through the landmark interval of 1900-1920, with a wealthy portrait of six generations of his ancestral kin from the basis of the 1st colony - the Khortitsa cost - in 1789 to the country's cataclysmic civil war.

Born in 1899 within the Mennonite village of Nieder Khortitsa at the Dnieper River, the writer witnessed the upheaval of the subsequent many years: the 1905 revolution, the quasi-stability wrought from Stolypin reforms, international conflict I and the specter of estate expropriation and exile, the 1917 Revolution, and the Civil conflict in which he persisted the total horrors of the Makhnovshchina - the fear of career of his village and residential by means of the bandit horde led by means of Nestor Makhno - and the typhus epidemic left of their wake.

Published posthumously, this ebook deals a penetrating view of 1 of Tsarist and early Soviet Russia's smallest, but such a lot dynamic, ethno-religious minorities.

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This became a lifelong task. As a historian, Rempel wrote about the Mennonite story himself, of course, but he recognized that more was required if tsarist and Soviet Mennonite studies were to jell as a scholarly field. It was necessary to record the experiences of his afflicted generation, track down and preserve sources, nurse along specialized archives and libraries, support popular and specialized publishing outlets, enlist and train a younger generation of scholars, and raise funds to support all of these activities.

Mother's independence of action seemed an apostasy to her family's most conservative relatives and neighbours. It was, however, merely a harbinger of the course her younger siblings - and much of the settlement's youth - took ten years later. Her sisters Lena and Sus commented on that time, 'There was a kind of revolt taking place in our house. ' Mother's heart and mind were right- my parents' marriage proved the happiest in both extended families, even if they had come from different ends of the Russian Mennonite spectrum.

Cornies viewed the situation differently. As he saw it, the chief damage to the farmers was not to their buildings, but to their orchards and tree plantations. As director of the Agricultural Union, Cornies com- 22 Father's Ancestral Family manded every farmer and cottager to plant certain numbers and kinds of trees at the rear of each landholding. These trees were not merely Cornies's pride and joy; they were his obsession. To enforce his directives he had on occasion inflicted corporal punishment, even on those who lackadaisically weeded the area.

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