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

By David G. Rempel

In this brilliant and fascinating examine, David Rempel combines his first-hand account of existence in Russian Mennonite settlements in the course of the landmark interval of 1900-1920, with a wealthy portrait of six generations of his ancestral kinfolk from the root 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 following a long time: 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 battle in which he continued the whole horrors of the Makhnovshchina - the phobia of career of his village and residential by way of the bandit horde led by means of Nestor Makhno - and the typhus epidemic left of their wake.

Published posthumously, this e-book bargains 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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Additional info for A Mennonite Family in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, 1789-1923

Example text

Several factors may explain the protracted exodus, most having to do with political events in and between both the Danzig area and Russia itself. Perhaps this group also had more difficulty in obtaining exit permits because most of the 118 families requesting them were prosperous farmers. Two Russian Mennonite Families 9 Socioeconomic Factors In the late eighteenth century, many of Danzig's Mennonites were prosperous and influential in various business circles, notably banking, shipping, brewing, and distilling.

The landless class was exceptionally large, accounting for approximately a third of all the families. Some of the landless men and boys were employed in such unusual occupations for Mennonites as bargemen and teamsters. Here they rubbed shoulders with lower-class elements of tsarist society and could get by in Yiddish, Ukrainian, and Russian. Part of the Nieder Khortitsa landless class lived huddled together in substandard housing near the river. They emerge from the pages of David Rempel's memoir-history as a kind of hereditary semiproletariat, often bitterly alienated from the - landed - top society of the village.

Until the Reform Era of the 1860s and 1870s, most of the disaffected, landless people were the children and grandchildren of farmers whose original allotment was indivisible, by government edict. Considering the large size of typical Mennonite families, it is easy to see how rapidly a landless class developed, irrespective of ancestral status. Ethnic and Religious Background Although the Mennonites who established the Khortitsa Settlement came most recently from Danzig and its environs, relatively few of their ancestors were natives of this Prussian region.

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