Vistula Mennonite Studies Project
The story of Mennonites in the Vistula Delta and river valley (what is now northern Poland) is one of the less thoroughly studied chapters of Mennonite history, especially in English. This is despite the fact that it is the fountainhead of the Russian Mennonite experience, which features so prominently in North and South American Mennonite story. The history of Mennonites along the Vistula river in eastern Europe deserves more intensive cultivation.
The "Vistula Mennonite Studies Project" focuses on the collection of archival material, and the translation and publication of historical texts about the Vistula Mennonites.
We have recently published a translation of H. G. Mannhardt’s Die Danziger Mennonitengemeinde [The Danzig Mennonite Congregation] (1919), a history of one of the leading congregations. You can contact the MLA to purchase a copy of The Danzig Mennonite Congregation: Its Origin and History from 1569-1919, translated by Victor G. Doerksen, edited by Mark Jantzen and John D. Thiesen (jointly published by Bethel College and by Pandora Press of Kitchener, Ontario). The price is $31.00.
We also are at work annotating a draft translation by Anthony Epp of Lincoln, Nebraska, of Wilhelm Mannhardt’s Die Wehrfreiheit der altpreussischen Mennoniten [The Military Exemption of the Prussian Mennonites] (1863). This is the central historical work on the Vistula Mennonite story, even though it is nearly 150 years old. We hope to publish this in 2009. (See this link for a Google Books scan of the German version.)
We also have had some accomplishment in the collection of archival materials. In spring 2007 we received 5 reels of microfilm from the Polish government archives in Gdansk containing the surviving records of the village of Heubuden/Stogi. This set of village records is the most complete of any of the Vistula Mennonite villages. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of material from before 1850; the bulk of the records are from 1840-1900. We plan to make a request for other Mennonite-related records from the same archives.
Donations toward this project to help with publication costs and future archival collecting are always welcome.
Some additional links:
- Vistula Mennonite history sources (compiled by John D. Thiesen)
- Kauffman Museum immigrant furniture exhibit
- Scanned versions of Vistula Mennonite church records. (Thanks to James Shaw of Hutchinson, Kansas, for major help with this scanning project.)
- Danzig/Gdansk Mennonite congregation
- Elbing/Elblag Mennonite congregation
- Fürstenwerder Mennonite congregation
- Heinrichsdorf, Volhynia, Mennonite congregation
- Heubuden Mennonite congregation
- Karolswalde, Volhynia, church book notes
- Königsberg congregation
- Ladekopp Mennonite congregation
- Michalin-Gnadenberg-Grace Hill Mennonite congregation
- Schönsee-Kulmer Niederung congregation
- Graudenz and Schwetz land records
Other Vistula Mennonite-related links:
- Mennonitische Blätter index 1854-1884 (this is a work in progress--first draft quality--so there will be errors)
- Mennonitische Blätter tables and illustrations 1854-1882 (this is a work in progress--first draft quality--so there will be errors)
- Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter index
- Conference: Marginal or Mainstream? Anabaptists, Mennonites and Modernity in European Society, June 2010
- Article series on Prussian Mennonite history by Johannes van der Smissen (1808-1879) which appeared in Mennonitische Blätter during 1854-1857. One of the earliest published accounts on the Vistula Delta story. (This is a draft, so let us know about any typos.)
- Danzig 1806 Choralbuch (manuscript organ accompaniment book)
- Prussian Mennonite Genealogical Resources
- Doopsgezinde Stichting Nederland-Polen
- Die erste 100 Jahre in Ostpreussen (Manuel Janz)
- In een Poolse polder: een minderheid op drift
- Walter Epp Prussian map collection (click on maps link)
- Hermann Thiessen genealogical collection (originals in the MLA, MS.485)
- Catalogue of monuments of Dutch colonization in Poland
- "Acta betreffend die Ausrüstung und Equipirung der preuss. Landwehr 1813", microfilmed by Mark Jantzen from the Gdansk archives APG 300,18