1934 Ak-Mechet, Photo from author Robert Friesen
In 1934, 10 “kulak” families were named in a thorough Russian investigation of the Mennonites of Ak-Mechet, Khiva. The report by the NKVD (precursor to the KGB) names all residents, their ages, what they owned and did, a treasure for genealogical research — although the purpose was to punish the most successful. The investigation is below, with Robert Friesen’s insightful analysis, “What is a ‘kulak’?”
John F. Harms (1855-1945; Photo: GAMEO)
John F. Harms, editor of the Mennonitische Rundschau, wrote a passionate call for help in 1884. The circumstances of the migrants to Central Asia had become desperate, and a small group decided to join their fellow believers in our continent; they couldn’t do it without help. The response was remarkable, swift and effective.
Hermann Jantzen's inspiring memoirs
The amazing 1880-1881 trek of Mennonites from South Russia to Central Asia offers many life lessons. Some of those are in the lives lost along the way. It is my hope to honour the dear people who died while following their dream, or that of their family’s, to achieve freedom from military service. A short travelogue accompanies this list of all those found who died until 1884, when the first group left for America.
Walter Ratliff’s excellent book discusses the journey Helena took
Helena Graewe Warkentin (1865-1942) shares her amazing story about how she travelled across deserts and mountains in a wagon train from South Russia to Turkestan, Central Asia in 1880.
Camel caravans were common in 1881 Tashkent
Photo: 1977 Ethiopia © Mennonite Heritage Archives by Eric Rempel and John Wieler
In 1880-81, Mennonite migrants travelled over mountains, through deserts on camels, and by covered wagons from South Russia to Central Asia. Their perilous journey is shared in these letters to the Rundschau and other magazines. Now with author photos, thanks to Robert Friesen!