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

By David G. Rempel

In this bright and fascinating learn, David Rempel combines his first-hand account of lifestyles in Russian Mennonite settlements throughout 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 payment - 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 a long time: the 1905 revolution, the quasi-stability wrought from Stolypin reforms, global battle I and the specter of estate expropriation and exile, the 1917 Revolution, and the Civil warfare in which he persisted the whole horrors of the Makhnovshchina - the fear of career of his village and residential through 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 so much dynamic, ethno-religious minorities.

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Additional info for A Mennonite Family in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, 1789-1923

Example text

Rempel lived in Khortitsa while attending high school and the teachers' seminary. 19 Taras Shevchenko, the great nineteenth-century Ukrainian writer and most influential founder of Ukrainian nationalism, paid the island a memorable visit in 1843. Subsequently, Shevchenko authored several poems stereotyping Mennonites as 'Germans' on the island, indifferent to Cossack honour20 - an ominous stereotype in light of the civil war atrocities to come. Shevchenko portrayed the Cossack inheritance as a call of freedom for all ethnic Ukrainians.

At that time, farming was the sine qua non of wealth and stability, while the commercial path my father chose was of marginally middle-class status and generated an uncertain income. 4 A Mennonite Family in Russia and the Soviet Union Father's birth and residence in Nieder Khortitsa further undermined his status, since much of the settlement viewed our village as the cultural backwater of uncouth, 'Russified' Mennonites. An exceptionally high percentage of the village's residents owned no land - probably one-third by the late nineteenth century - and much of this group formed a Mennonite proletariat.

These colonists were simple folk, accustomed to toil and hardship and adept at various trades and crafts. They were truck farmers, pedlars, innkeepers, carpenters, blacksmiths, millers, tanners, tailors, brewers, cartwrights, and fishermen. They must have been a tough, resourceful group, who had been able to earn a living despite their exclusion from trade guilds and the harassment endured while plying their trades. Although their modest financial resources may have been a hindrance, their manifold skills proved invaluable in developing a diversified economy in Russia.

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