At the casket of Johann H. Wiens, 1962 (see below for names)
When searching for my dad’s war buddy, Johann Wiens, I learned about another man with the same name who was my dad’s uncle. It was news to my dad as well! This Johann married my dad’s aunt Anna Plett, who sadly died before my father was born, but left descendants. Anna and Johann found peace with God when bandits raged in Russia.
Johann Wiens (1889-1962) (#1024396) and Anna Plett (1892-1925) (#476151) had four children. The family was recorded in the 1942 census of Friedensfeld, Sagradovka, where Johann was then living with his second wife, Justina Wiebe.
Sadly, Johann and Anna’s two sons died around World War II. But both daughters were photographed at their father’s funeral in Russia in 1962, along with the daughter of his second marriage, including: Anna (Heinrich) Rempel, Agatha (Jacob) Reimer, and Lina (David) Regehr. Daughter Anna was likely named after her mother. A grandson, Johann Wiens, seen in 1962, is likely also Anna’s grandson.
In 1981, Anna Rempel was living in Germany, while Agatha Reimer was living in Russia.
I was also touched that Johann and his second wife adopted an orphaned son of Anna’s sister Katharina Plett (#476144).
Johann’s obituary doesn’t say who his parents were, but his middle initial H. means that his father was likely named Heinrich. There are a few possibilities, but one family who also lived in Friedensfeld, Sagradovka was Heinrich Wiens (#1014338) and Agathe Graewe (#1014337). There is a gap in the family when Johann was born, and two of their three sons mentioned in GRANDMA are not listed (one is Isaak, to be added to GRANDMA). As Agathe Graewe was the sister of my dad’s grandfather, Isaak Graewe, we would be related in more ways!
This is Johann’s obituary, published in the Mennonitische Rundschau on 6 June 1962 at p. 3, translated with the help of Google and DeepL. The original is in the German language version of this blog post. I have added paragraph breaks and bullets for clarity.
Johann H. Wiens, Soviet Russia
God has wonderfully guided our dear Father and, looking back, we have to quote the word from Deuteronomy 33:3: “How he loved people so much!”
At the age of 23, Father married Anna Plett [#476151], who died of tuberculosis after thirteen years of happy marriage, and left four children.
Father then married a widow [Justina Wiebe #1111260] whose husband [Gerhard Wiebe #1111488] had been killed by the Makhno bandits [on 29 Nov. 1919] and who had one child [Helene Wiebe #1031013].
They now had five children, and adopted an orphan, the son of his first wife's sister [Katharina Plett #476144]. Then one son [Peter Johann Wiens #1031401] and one daughter were born to them.
The two sons from the first marriage died during and after World War II.
Father once narrowly escaped death by drowning. He suffered from intestinal cramps and was often close to death. While he was in prison because of his faith, his right side was paralyzed by a stroke. God heard his prayers and those of his children, Father was released and was allowed to come home.
When the Makhno bandits raged in the area, he and his first wife found peace with God. Father had a good voice and sang in the church choir for a long time. There was a lot of singing and playing of music in the family. He knew many songs by heart and enjoyed reading God's Word with the family.
But the strains of life made themselves felt with their consequences; Father grew weaker and tired of life. After several days of serious illness, he was allowed to go home at the age of 72 years, 9 months and 5 days. He had lived for 13 years in the first marriage and 37 years in the second. He had 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.
The funeral was held in the yard of the son-in-law. Many relatives, friends and brothers and sisters attended. Two brothers [in Christ] spoke about Hebrews 4:12; Job 16:22; 1 Corinthians 15:26, 2 Timothy 4:7- 8; Revelation 21:4. The choir sang.
God grant that we, the surviving children, may see each other in eternal glory with all those who have gone before us!
Sent by the deceased's son,
Peter J. Wiens [#1031401],
254 Devon Avenue, Winnipeg 16, Manitoba, Canada.
This is one of the verses read at Johann’s funeral:
Revelation 21:4 (NIV): “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Present at the funeral of Johann H. Wiens: