This is a photo of the privately run Mennonite school in Neu Kronsthal, Man. John Kroeker (1910-82) is front row far right, and his brother Klaas Kroeker (1907-92) stands behind him. Mennonites coming from Russia in the 1870s were promised freedom of education as well as freedom of religion, believing it was the role of the church and family to educate children, not the state. Government tolerance for these schools soon dried up. Some Mennonite parents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan who did not send their children to public English schools were fined and had property confiscated, while others served jail time. By 1918, there were 50 prosecutions in Saskatchewan. Manitoba Premier Rodmond Roblin stated in 1906 that the immigrant “who objects to perpetuating the glories of our flag and declines to have his children infused with British patriotism, is a man that is undesirable.”
For more historical photos in the Mennonite Archival Image Database, see archives.mhsc.ca.