“The story of Mennonites in Tsarist Russia, the Soviet Union and the Soviet successor states is relatively short, beginning only in 1789. Despite this brief history, our memories of Mennonite life in this region are etched with deeply contradictory images.
“On the one hand, we remember a resplendent culture marked by elegance and sophistication—and celebrate an idyllic pastoral existence.
“But memories of a very different kind are also deeply embedded in our imagination—scenes of waste, destruction, and pillage; of fields, villages and factories laid bare; accounts of starvation, torture, and death—that are almost too horrific for us to remember.”
Here are a selection of the nearly 100 striking, often surprising, images in The Russian Mennonite Story. Used with permission. Captions adapted from the book. Photos are from the Mennonite Heritage Archives, Mennonite Archives of Ontario, Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, and Bethel Mennonite Library and Archives.
Further reading from our Spring 2019 Focus on Books & Resources:
CommonWord shares books by the dozen
Readers 'zoom' to discuss Unsettling the Word
Translation valuable to Swahili-speaking pastors
Spring 2019 List of Books & Resources
The Brodsky estate of Peter and Marie Bahnmann. (Photo from The Russian Mennonite Story: The Heritage Cruise Lectures. www.therussianmennonitestory.com)