By David G. Rempel
In this bright and fascinating research, David Rempel combines his first-hand account of lifestyles in Russian Mennonite settlements in the course of the landmark interval of 1900-1920, with a wealthy portrait of six generations of his ancestral kin from the root 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 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 warfare in which he persevered the total horrors of the Makhnovshchina - the fear of career of his village and residential by means of the bandit horde led via Nestor Makhno - and the typhus epidemic left of their wake.
Published posthumously, this booklet 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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Extra info for A Mennonite Family in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, 1789-1923
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. Ironically, Khortitsa Island Cossack traditions of a decidedly social revolutionary and anarchic strain may well - along with social circumstances and the political vacuum in the region at the time - have helped shape the bloody outlook of the Makhnovites, bands of armed Ukrainian peasants, who raped, pillaged, and killed Old Colony and other Mennonites during a reign of terror in Southern Ukraine during the civil war.
Yet despite the hint of superiority, we all maintained close ties. Even after Maria died, and Father had remarried, all of us children of this second marriage, considered Father's first wife's brothers and sisters to be our own aunts and uncles. Apart from Maria and one of her sisters, the tonier Rempel family siblings tried to make their fortunes outside of farming and beyond Nieder Khortitsa itself. Most returned to our village only briefly when they were flush with success or for longer stays when their financial balloons burst.
They were the hubs around which Rempel's early life turned, and they form the setting for much of this book. The village of Khortitsa, with its churches, schools, pedagogical program, settlement administration, hospital, factories, mills, bookstores, commercial outlets, railway station, and much more, was the unchallenged centre of the Old Colony and of its daughter settlements. It was equally a religious, cultural, and institutional focus for the entire tsarist Mennonite world. For David Rempel, Khortitsa was home to prominent branches of his mother's family, including that of his maternal grandmother's clan, and the object of frequent family visits.