Thousands upon thousands of Russian Mennonites perished in Russia from 1917 until the 1980s.
Summary of the six turbulent times
- The Civil War of 1917 – 1920 and the famine of 1921 – 1922
- The liquidation of kulaks and collectivization, 1928 – 1933
- The purges and exiles of 1936 – 1940: 62,000 Mennonites forcibly moved north and east throughout the USSR, almost all the German settlements dissolved, over half perished, survivors treated like criminals.
- The evacuation eastward at the beginning of World War II, 1941
- Evacuation westward by the German Army, 1943
- The repatriation by the Red Army in 1945
Step by step, the once-prosperous communities disintegrated. Never since the days of the martyrs have the Mennonites suffered so much as during the twentieth century in Russia.
Summary of the migrations to the Americas
- The first group came to the prairie states and provinces of the United States and Canada in 1874 and following years. 18,000 Mennonites
- After World War I, from 1923 to 1927. 21,000 Mennonites to Canada. Then 1929, 1930, 3000 to Paraguay and Brazil
- After World War II, 12,000 Mennonites, half to Canada and half to Paraguay
From 1951 – 2004 Germany has received 2,300,000 Russian German resettlers (Aussiedler), about 285,000 of them of Mennonite or Baptist connection. Of that number only about 50,000 or 60,000 were believers. This migration is the largest in all of Anabaptist history.
Sources: Smith’s Story of the Mennonites by C. Henry Smith revised by Cornelius Krahn and Testing Faith and Tradition by John Lapp
For the story of Mennonites during the Russian Revolution, listen to “Mysteries of Grace and Judgement”:
CONTRIBUTOR: Chester Weaver