Alumni | Give to BC | Athletics | Fine Arts | Thresher Connect | Search


Goshen professor will illuminate stories of Hutterite pacifists in WWI

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The next special program at Kauffman Museum will focus on the experience of Hutterite conscientious objectors during World War I.

Duane Stoltzfus, professor of communication at Goshen (Indiana) College, will speak on “The Story of the Hutterite Martyrs” at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 in the museum auditorium. His talk is free and open to the public.

In December 2013, Johns Hopkins University Press released Stoltzfus’ book Pacifists in Chains: The Persecution of Hutterites during the Great War.

The narrative follows the experiences of three brothers (Joseph, Michael and David Hofer) and a brother-in-law (Jacob Wipf), who were sentenced to 20 years of hard labor and served time both at Alcatraz (California) and at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Two of the brothers died at Leavenworth.

Since then, Stoltzfus has done a series of book presentations and signings, in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Manitoba. In October 2015, he presented at the SHEA Conference for Hutterite educators in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and at the Wisconsin Workshop at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Stoltzfus’ visit to Kauffman Museum and Bethel College is one of two book-related events this month.

At the end of the week, Stoltzfus will join a Hutterite teacher in telling the story of the Hofer brothers and Jacob Wipf, as a keynote presentation at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City.

The keynote is part of the symposium “Remembering Muted Voices: Conscience, Dissent, Resistance and Civil Liberties in World War I through Today,” Oct. 19-22 at the WWI Museum, which is one of the special events planned in connection with the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I.

Stoltzfus has a B.A. from Goshen College, an M.A. from New York University and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

From 1989-97, he was a reporter and copy editor for The Record of Hackensack (New Jersey) and from 1997-2000, a staff editor at the New York Times.

Stoltzfus began teaching at Goshen College in 2000. He has also been the faculty adviser for the Goshen College Record since that time, as well as serving as copy editor for the Mennonite Quarterly Review since 2004.

Stoltzfus and his wife, Karen Sherer Stoltzfus, have led two Study-Service Terms in Peru, in 2007-08 and 2014-15.

Stoltzfus’ talk at Kauffman Museum is connected to the current special exhibit, “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War.”

The “Voices of Conscience” exhibit and its associated programs are supported in part by a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization that connects communities with history, traditions and ideas to strengthen civic life.

Designed as a traveling exhibit, “Voices of Conscience” is currently at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City as part of the “Remembering Muted Voices” conference, but returns to Kauffman Museum Oct. 31 and will remain there through most of January 2018.

It will be on display at Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City Oct. 24-29.

There are two more special programs associated with “Voices of Conscience.” Oct. 29, in a Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum program at 3 p.m., Brad Born, Bethel professor of English, explores Pat Barker’s Regeneration, a historical novel about British soldiers during WW1.

Finally, Kauffman Museum presents one of its periodic third-Thursday films, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. – Behind the Lines, the screen adaptation of Regeneration.

The film night and the program by Born also take place in the Kauffman Museum auditorium and are free and open to the public. The museum is located on the Bethel College campus at the corner of Main and 27th streets in North Newton.

Regular Kauffman Museum hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the special exhibit and the permanent exhibits – “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture” – is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16 and free for Kauffman Museum members and children under 6.

To learn more about exhibits, programs or museum membership, call during 316-283-1612 during open hours, or visit the Kauffman Museum website,, or Facebook page.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.