UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Prussian Mennonites in the Third Reich and beyond : the uneasy synthesis of national and religious myths Schroeder, Steven Mark 2001

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P R U S S I A N M E N N O N I T E S I N T H E T H I R D R E I C H A N D B E Y O N D : T H E U N E A S Y S Y N T H E S I S O F N A T I O N A L A N D R E L I G I O U S M Y T H S b y S T E V E N M A R K S C H R O E D E R B . A . , T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f W i n n i p e g , 1994 M . C . S . , R e g e n t C o l l e g e , 1998 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R T S i n T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S ( D e p a r t m e n t o f H i s t o r y ) W e a c c e p t this thesis as c o n f o r m i n g t o the r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A A p r i l , 2 0 0 1 © S t e v e n M a r k S c h r o e d e r , 2 0 0 1 I n p r e s e n t i n g this thesis i n p a r t i a l fulfilment o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r a n a d v a n c e d d e g r e e at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e that the L i b r a r y shall m a k e it f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a n d s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e that p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f this thesis f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s m a y b e g r a n t e d b y the h e a d o f m y d e p a r t m e n t o r b y h i s o r h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It is u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f this thes is f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n shall n o t b e a l l o w e d w i t h o u t m y w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . D e p a r t m e n t o f H I S T O R Y T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a D a t e A p r i l 2 7 . 2 0 0 1 A b s t r a c t T h e M e n n o n i t e people find their roots i n the S w i s s A n a b a p t i s t m o v e m e n t o f the early sixteenth century. B o t h C a t h o l i c a n d Protestant persecution ef fec t ive ly dispersed the n o n c o n f o r m i s t , nonresistant Anabapt is t s throughout E u r o p e in the first decades o f the R e f o r m a t i o n . A large g r o u p settled i n the Nether lands , and came to be k n o w n as " M e n n o n i t e s " after their leader, M e n n o S i m o n s . B y the mid-sixteenth century, m a n y M e n n o n i t e s h a d emigrated to P r u s s i a , where they were p r o m i s e d mil i tary exempt ion a n d rel igious toleration. T h i s study examines h o w the longstanding M e n n o n i t e tenets o f faith, buttressed b y specif ic cul tural traditions, were s l o w l y eroded i n Pruss ia through the incorporat ion o f nationalist ideals. T h e shifts were fue l led b y the M e n n o n i t e s ' desire to secure their place i n the G e r m a n nation-state and to partake in the advantages o f cultural , religious and national ass imila t ion . O v e r time, the Pruss ian M e n n o n i t e s re l inquished their t ime-honored beliefs in b e i n g " i n but not o f the w o r l d , " i n nonresistance, and in not swear ing an oath to " a n y t h i n g under h e a v e n or o n ear th . " T h e s e changes b e c a m e absolutely c r u c i a l to the maintenance o f the M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y i n Prussia under N a z i s m , w h e n all a b l e - b o d i e d M e n n o n i t e m e n w i l l i n g l y served i n the G e r m a n a r m e d forces . T h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s succeeded i n mainta ining their c o m m u n i t y u n d e r N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s m unti l the a d v a n c i n g R u s s i a n a r m y destroyed it i n 1944. T h e cost, h o w e v e r , w a s enormous . Just as a l l G e r m a n s face the cont inual struggle o f r e b u i l d i n g their nat ion a n d re-f o r m i n g their national identity, so too are the M e n n o n i t e s f a c e d w i t h the o n g o i n g chal lenges o f r e b u i l d i n g their c o m m u n i t y - p h y s i c a l l y , e m o t i o n a l l y a n d spiri tually . T h o s e p o s i t i v e l y engaged in this process f i n d themselves inextr icably affected and constantly b u r d e n e d b y personal a n d popular m e m o r y , g r a p p l i n g , often unawares , w i t h the poli t ics o f their representation. T h e c o n c l u s i o n to this s t u d y examines these responses o f dissonance v i s - a - v i s the l i n g e r i n g questions that face the G e r m a n M e n n o n i t e s as they cont inue to deal wi th their o w n u n i q u e f o r m o f VergangenheitsbewGltigung ( c o m i n g to terms w i t h the past) w i t h i n the broader G e r m a n context. T a b l e o f C o n t e n t s A b s t r a c t T a b l e o f I l l u s t r a t i o n s A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s I n t r o d u c t i o n C o m p e t i n g M y t h s : T h e F o r m a t i o n o f the G e r m a n N a t i o n - S t a t e a n d A n a b a p t i s t M a r t y r o l o g y A H i s t o r y o f t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s , 1 5 3 5 - 1 9 3 3 P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s i n the T h i r d R e i c h A f t e r m a t h Vergangenheitsbewaltigung I l l u s t r a t i o n s B i b l i o g r a p h y IV T a b l e o f I l l u s t r a t i o n s F i g u r e 1 T h e K y f f h a u s e r M o n u m e n t i n T h u r i n g i a 50 F i g u r e 2 a T h e f o r m u s e d b y M e n n o n i t e s i n l i e u o f 51 s w e a r i n g a n o a t h to t h e G e r m a n g o v e r n m e n t u p o n c o n s c r i p t i o n af ter 1935 , p a g e s 1 a n d 2 F i g u r e 2 b T h e f o r m u s e d b y M e n n o n i t e s i n l i e u o f 52 s w e a r i n g a n o a t h t o the G e r m a n g o v e r n m e n t u p o n c o n s c r i p t i o n af ter 1935 , p a g e s 3 a n d 4 F i g u r e 3 W o r l d W a r T w o m e m o r i a l at B o c k e n h e i m 53 F i g u r e 4 T h e m e m o r i a l e r e c t e d at W e i e r h o f i n m e m o r y 54 o f the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s w h o p e r i s h e d d u r i n g the S e c o n d W o r l d W a r V A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s I w o u l d l i k e to e x p r e s s m y a p p r e c i a t i o n t o D r . C h r i s t o p h e r F r i e d r i c h s f o r h i s o u t s t a n d i n g g u i d a n c e i n t h i s p r o j e c t a n d t h r o u g h o u t m y t i m e i n t h e M A p r o g r a m . I w o u l d a l s o l i k e to t h a n k D r . S t e v e n T a u b e n e c k f o r h i s u n w a v e r i n g s u p p o r t a n d i n v a l u a b l e i n s i g h t s , a n d D r . J o h n C o n w a y f o r h i s g e n e r o s i t y o v e r t h e last f e w y e a r s - p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r m s o f the w i s d o m i m p a r t e d , t h e g u i d a n c e g i v e n , a n d m a k i n g p o s s i b l e t h e o p p o r t u n i t y f o r m e to c o n d u c t r e s e a r c h i n G e r m a n y t h r o u g h the C o n w a y T r a v e l S c h o l a r s h i p i n G e r m a n H i s t o r y . T h e findings f r o m that e x c u r s i o n are a n i n t e g r a l par t o f t h i s t h e s i s . F i n a l l y , I w o u l d l i k e to e x p r e s s m y l o v i n g g r a t i t u d e to m y b e s t f r i e n d a n d w i f e R e b e c c a , f o r h e r s teadfas t l o v e , h e r s u p p o r t a n d h e r c h e e r . T h i s p r o j e c t is d e d i c a t e d to t h e l i v i n g m e m o r y o f S i e g f r i e d , w h o i m p a r t e d l i f e a n d l o v e to m e i n m a n y w a y s a n d , t o g e t h e r w i t h E r n a , e q u i p p e d m e w i t h t h o s e t h i n g s m o s t v a l u a b l e . 1 How woeful it will be for all those who have so easily allowed themselves to be misled into participation in these heroic deeds praised by the world, if they shall hear in Eternity how Hell echoes with the howling of those who -possibly through their own bullets, swords, or spears - were torn away from the time of grace during which they could have repented and been saved.1 - Wilhelm Ewert, elder at Obernessau, 1872 Introduction A t t e m p t s to c o m e to t e r m s w i t h G e r m a n y ' s N a z i p a s t h a v e b e e n , a n d c o n t i n u e to be , v e r y p r o b l e m a t i c . In tense e m o t i o n , gr ief , a n d c o n f u s i o n c o n t i n u a l l y a f f e c t the G e r m a n g o v e r n m e n t , c o m m u n i t i e s , a n d i n d i v i d u a l s as t h e y e n d e a v o r to r e f l e c t a d e q u a t e l y a n d a p p r o p r i a t e l y o n the N a z i e r a - i n m o n u m e n t s , m u s e u m s , m e m o r i a l s - a n d t o d e a l e f f e c t i v e l y w i t h w h a t C h a r l e s M a i e r h a s c a l l e d the " U n m a s t e r a b l e P a s t . " 2 S o m e h a v e t u r n e d t h e i r a t t e n t i o n t o w a r d the C h r i s t i a n c h u r c h e s i n G e r m a n y d u r i n g t h e 1 9 3 0 a n d 1940s , w o n d e r i n g h o w t h o s e w h o c o n s i d e r e d t h e m s e l v e s as the g u a r d i a n s o f m o r a l i t y i n s o c i e t y c o u l d h a v e f a i l e d t o resist t h e N a z i Machtergreifung a n d i n e f f e c t i v e l y r e s i s t i n g N a z i p o l i c i e s thereafter . In t h e s e i n q u i r i e s , the f r e e c h u r c h e s i n G e r m a n y h a v e n o t r e c e i v e d as m u c h a t tent ion as the m a i n l i n e C h r i s t i a n d e n o m i n a t i o n s , r e s u l t i n g i n the r e l a t i v e o b s c u r i t y o f t h e i r h i s t o r y d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d . T h e h i s t o r y o f the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y d u r i n g the T h i r d R e i c h f a l l s i n t o t h i s la t ter c a t e g o r y . D e s c e n d e n t s o f the F r i s i a n a n d F l e m i s h M e n n o n i t e s , 3 t h e 1 The response of Wilhelm Ewert, elder in the Mennonite church at Obernessau, to the declaration by Jakob Mannhardt, elder in the Danzig church, that Mennonites should give up Wehrlosigkeit and join in the obligations of all citizens after 1848: John Thiessen, "The First Duty of the Citizen: Mennonite Identity and Military Exemption in Prussia, 1848-77," vaMennonite Quarterly Review, 72 (1998), pp. 182-183. 2 Charles Maier, The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, and German National Identity, 2nded.. (Cambridge, 1997). 3 Christian Neff points out that 'Flemish' and 'Frisian' were 'party names' and were not to be strictly associated with Mennonites in the respective regions. The origin of the differentiation, however, came —when Flemish Mennonites arrived in Friesland after fleeing persecution. The more modest Frisian Mennonites saw them as 'worldly'. Christian Neff, "Flemish Mennonites" in Bender, H . and Smith, C. Henry (eds.), Mennonite Encyclopedia (Newton, 1959), Volume II, p.339. 2 M e n n o n i t e s i n P r u s s i a i n i t i a l l y set t led i n D u c a l , o r E a s t , P r u s s i a 4 a n d i n P o l i s h , o r W e s t , P r u s s i a 5 b e t w e e n D a n z i g a n d T h o r n af ter fleeing p e r s e c u t i o n i n t h e N e t h e r l a n d s . T h i s s t u d y w i l l b e c h i e f l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h these g r o u p s , a n d w i t h t h e N o r t h G e r m a n a n d R h e n i s h M e n n o n i t e c o n g r e g a t i o n s that j o i n e d the P r u s s i a n - b a s e d Vereinigung der Mennonitengemeinden f o u n d e d i n 1 8 8 6 . 6 B u i l t o n t h e s i x t e e n t h c e n t u r y A n a b a p t i s t t r a d i t i o n , t h e f o u n d a t i o n o f the M e n n o n i t e d e n o m i n a t i o n l i e s i n a s t r ic t ' t w o - k i n g d o m t h e o l o g y , ' n o n c o n f o r m i t y , f r e e d o m o f c o n s c i e n c e , r e f u s a l t o s w e a r a n o a t h t o a n y e a r t h l y r u l e r , o r b e a r a r m s , a n d sola scriptura ( the a x i o m that S c r i p t u r e s a l o n e w e r e s u f f i c i e n t i n g u i d i n g o n e t h r o u g h l i f e ) . T h e M e n n o n i t e d e n o m i n a t i o n g r e w i n a c o n t e x t o f g r e a t i n s e c u r i t y , u n d e r g o i n g p e r s e c u t i o n a n d e x p u l s i o n i n m a n y areas o f t h e H o l y R o m a n E m p i r e d u r i n g the R e f o r m a t i o n , as t h e i r M e n n o n i t e b e l i e f s w e r e i n h e r e n t l y i n c o m p a t i b l e w i t h t h e e s t a b l i s h e d g o v e r n i n g p o l i t i c a l a n d r e l i g i o u s i n s t i t u t i o n s . O v e r t h e c e n t u r i e s , t h i s i n s e c u r i t y d e v e l o p e d i n t o a n e n d e m i c f e a t u r e o f P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t i s m , as i ts m e m b e r s c o n t i n u e d i n t h e i r s t r u g g l e f o r a c c e p t a n c e i n the P r u s s i a n k i n g d o m . D u r i n g t h e N a z i era , 4 Duke Albrecht von Hohenzollern created the secular duchy of East Prussian in 1525, after a long dispute with his uncle, Polish King Zygmunt I. The duchy became a haven for heretics in the sixteenth century. The persecuted Anabaptists took advantage of this, especially after 1535, the year of: the Minister uprising; an Anabaptist attack on the Amsterdam city hall; and a similar attack on the Oldeklooster in Friesland. After the Mennonites settled mostly along the Memel River in East Prussia, Bishop Speratus expelled them from the region for not adhering to Prussian church doctrine concerning baptism and communion. This prompted many to move to the Vistula Delta and Danzig during 1543-1547, where King Zygmunt granted them the swampy land. Peter J. Klassen, "Faith and Culture in Conflict: Mennonites in the Vistula Delta," in Mennonite Quarterly Review, 57:3 (1983), p. 197. 5 The region west of the Nogat River was ceded to the Polish king, Kazimierz IV, in 1466. The king refused to accept immigrating heretics, particularly as there was a Hanseatic ban on doing so (the consequence of not adhering to the ban was banishment from the Hanseatic League, which would have had dire affect on the economy of tire city of Danzig). Klassen, "Faith and Culture" p. 196. 6 The Vereinigung der Mennoniten-Gemeinden im Deutschen Reich included congregations in East and West Prussia, the Palatinate and Hesse. The Vereinigung, founded in Berlin in 1886, was constituted thus: 12 north German congregations, 6 in the Palatinate; since 1934, it included all German Mennonite congregations except for those in the Verband. The Vereinigung secured its status as public corporation in the early twentieth century. (Emil Haendiges served as president during 1932-53). Ernst Crous - "Vereinigung der Mennoniten-Gemeinden im Deutschland" in Bender and Smith, Volume V , p. 812. The Badisch-Wurttembergisch-Bayerischer Gemeindeverband (five, Verband) was a union of 8 congregations in 3 t h e M e n n o n i t e s c o m p r o m i s e d t h e i r f o u n d a t i o n a l b e l i e f s a n d s y n t h e s i z e d t h e i r n o n c o n f o r m i s t , ' n o t o f t h e w o r l d ' M e n n o n i t i s m w i t h G e r m a n n a t i o n a l i s m . M o s t M e n n o n i t e s i n P r u s s i a s u p p o r t e d t h e N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s t s a n d sent a l l o f t h e i r a b l e - b o d i e d d r a f t - a g e m e n to e n l i s t i n t h e G e r m a n a r m e d f o r c e s d u r i n g t h e S e c o n d W o r l d W a r . W h i l e t h e M e n n o n i t e s t o d a y s h a r e i n the s t r u g g l e s o f t h e b r o a d e r G e r m a n n a t i o n w h e n c o m i n g to t e r m s w i t h t h i s par t o f t h e i r h i s t o r y , t h e y m u s t a l s o d e a l w i t h t h e a d d e d c o n u n d r u m o f h a v i n g c o m p r o m i s e d f u n d a m e n t a l tenets o f t h e i r o w n M e n n o n i t e f a i t h . L i k e s o m e o f t h e i r G e r m a n n e i g h b o r s , m a n y M e n n o n i t e s f e e l that t h e y h a v e b e e n m i s u n d e r s t o o d a n d r i d i c u l e d f o r t h e i r a c t i o n s b e t w e e n 1933 a n d 1 9 4 5 a n d h a v e b e e n m i s r e p r e s e n t e d a n d c o n d e m n e d i n b o t h p o p u l a r a n d s c h o l a r l y h i s t o r i c a l a c c o u n t s . T h e p o p u l a r r e n d i t i o n o f the G e r m a n s o f the T h i r d R e i c h b e i n g a n a t i o n o f h o m o g e n o u s d e p r a v i t y , a c c o r d i n g to o n e M e n n o n i t e v e t e r a n o f the Luftwaffe, is t h e r e s u l t o f " h o c u s p o c u s . " 7 T o a n o t h e r v e t e r a n it is s i m p l y " a h i s t o r i c a l j o k e . " 8 T h i s s t u d y s e e k s t o u n d e r s t a n d bet ter the c o m m u n i t y a n d its a c t i o n s i n t h e N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s t e ra . I n this q u e s t , the d e e p - s e a t e d n a t i o n a l a n d r e l i g i o u s t r a d i t i o n s that s e r v e d i n s h a p i n g the M e n n o n i t e s ' l i v e s w i l l b e e x a m i n e d - p a r t i c u l a r l y i n o r d e r to c o m e to a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f h o w G e r m a n n a t i o n a l i s m a n d n o n c o n f o r m i s t A n a b a p t i s m m e r g e d i n a c o l l a b o r a t i v e s y n t h e s i s d u r i n g t h e T h i r d R e i c h . Competing Myths: Formation of the German Nation-State and Anabaptist Martyrology T h e K y f t h a u s e r m o n u m e n t i n T h u r i n g i a is p e r h a p s t h e m o s t p o w e r f u l n a t i o n a l m o n u m e n t that h a s s e r v e d i n s t r e n g t h e n i n g the n o t i o n that h i s t o r y h a d p r e d e s t i n e d the Baden,5 in Wurttemberg, 2 in the Palatinate, 4 in Bavaria (totaling 1000 in 1900). Harold Bender, "Badisch-Wiirttembergisch-Bayerischer Gemeindeverband" in Bender and Smith, Volume I, p.485. 7 Interview of Walter Regehr by Author, 26 July, 1999 (Winnipeg, MB). 4 u n i f i c a t i o n o f t h e G e r m a n p e o p l e u n d e r the m i g h t y E m p e r o r W i l h e l m I. A p l a c e o f p i l g r i m a g e i n t h e M i d d l e A g e s , t h e l e g e n d a r y m o u n t a i n o n w h i c h t h e m o n u m e n t rests w a s b e l i e v e d t o b e t h e h o m e o f E m p e r o r F r i e d r i c h I B a r b a r o s s a . F r i e d r i c h , o r ' R e d b e a r d ' , w a s b e l i e v e d t o b e s l u m b e r i n g w i t h i n t h e m o u n t a i n , w a i t i n g f o r t h e o p p o r t u n e e p o c h to a w a k e a n d e m e r g e - w h i c h w o u l d b e s i g n a l e d b y t h e s u d d e n d e p a r t i n g o f t h e n u m e r o u s r a v e n s that c o n t i n u a l l y c i r c l e d the m o u n t a i n - i n o r d e r t o r e -u n i t e the G e r m a n p e o p l e as h e h a d d o n e d u r i n g h i s g l o r i o u s r e i g n as H o l y R o m a n E m p e r o r i n t h e t w e l f t h c e n t u r y . A f t e r t h e G e r m a n v i c t o r y i n t h e F r a n c o - P r u s s i a n w a r , t h e m y t h w a s r e s u r r e c t e d a n d u s e d b y t h e G e r m a n m i l i t a r y a n d g o v e r n m e n t i n s e c u r i n g W i l h e l m ' s p r o p e r p l a c e i n h i s t o r y . 9 I n d e e d , t h e r e a s o n D r . W e s t p h a l , c a p t a i n i n the a r m y a n d s e c r e t a r y o f t h e G e r m a n S o l d i e r s ' A s s o c i a t i o n , p r o p o s e d the b u i l d i n g o f the m o n u m e n t i n 1888 w a s " b e c a u s e E m p e r o r W h i t e b e a r d h a s f u l f i l l e d t h e s a g a a n d r e d e e m e d E m p e r o r R e d b e a r d . " u T h e r a v e n s f o u n d a n e w h o m e , t h e M o n u m e n t w a s e r e c t e d , a n d t h e S o l d i e r s ' A s s o c i a t i o n e s t a b l i s h e d t h e "Kyffhauserbund der deutschen Landeskriegerverbdnde" i n 1 8 9 8 1 1 i n o r d e r t o p r e s e r v e t h e m o n u m e n t , t h e c o n t e m p o r a r y i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t h e l e g e n d o f R e d b e a r d a n d t h e m e m o r y o f t h e s o l d i e r s w h o f u l f i l l e d the l e g e n d . 8 Interview of Siegfried Bartel by Author, 11 April, 2000 (Agassiz, BC). 9 From the political essays and poetry created throughout the nineteenth century, it is evident that not everyone in Germany agreed that die legend of Barbarossa and the Kyffhauser mountain should be interpreted in such a way as to promote German imperialism. The Burschenschaften, for example, opposed Imperialist nationalists, and expressed their sentiments in a poem that addressed the legend of Redbeard: "Das beste ware, du bliebst zu Haus, Hier in dem alten Kyffhauser - Bedenk ich die Sache ganz genau, So brauchen wir gar keinen Kaiser." (It would be best, if you stayed at home, here in the old Kyffhauser - If I think this over carefully, We do not need a Kaiser). Albrecht Timm, Der Kyffhauser im deutschen Geschichtsbild (Gottingen, 1966), p.19. —.'0 Literature obtained at the Kyffhauser monument 1 1 In 1921, a new committee was established to manage the monument, the "Deutschen Reichskriegerbund Kyffhauser" which became the "NS-Reichskriegerbund Kyffhauser" after 1933. Timm, p.26. 5 T h i s o f f i c i a l , n a t i o n a l i s t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n 1 2 o f h i s t o r i c a l d e v e l o p m e n t s s u c c e s s f u l l y b o l s t e r e d a s t r o n g i m a g e o f t h e n e w n a t i o n - s t a t e . E r i c H o b s b a w m , h o w e v e r , l i n k s t h e n o t i o n o f i n v e n t i o n t o t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f n e w t r a d i t i o n s i n G e r m a n y , c l a i m i n g that " t h e real n a t i o n c a n o n l y b e r e c o g n i z e d aposteriorf,i3 a n d that the s t a n d a r d t r a p p i n g s h e i d e n t i f i e d a n d a s s o c i a t e d w i t h m o d e r n n a t i o n h o o d s e r v e d i n that p r o c e s s . 1 4 T h e n e w G e r m a n n a t i o n s o u g h t to c r e a t e a sense o f i d e n t i t y a n d c o n t i n u i t y w i t h t h e p a s t . 1 5 N a t i o n a l s y m b o l s , m o n u m e n t s a n d d e f i n i t i o n s o f c i t i z e n s h i p w e r e e i t h e r c r e a t e d o r r e -c o n s t r u e d to s e r v e i n d e f i n i n g the n a t i o n , 1 6 w i t h the m o s t u n a m b i g u o u s e m b o d i m e n t o f m a s c u l i n i t y , m i l i t a r i s m , a n d n a t i o n a l i s m b e i n g f o u n d i n the K y f f h a u s e r M o n u m e n t ( see F i g u r e 1). T h e m a i n c o m p o n e n t o f the m o n u m e n t is a n e q u e s t r i a n s ta tue o f W i l h e l m I, m o u n t e d h i g h a b o v e t h e s c u l p t e d i m a g e o f the a w a k e n i n g B a r b a r o s s a . T h e K a i s e r is f l a n k e d b y the a l l e g o r i c a l f i g u r e s o f H i s t o r y a n d W a r as h e g a z e s v i c t o r i o u s l y o v e r t h e T h u r i n g i a n p l a i n s b e l o w . H i g h a t o p the m o n u m e n t , a c r o w n rests o n a v a c a n t t h r o n e . H e r e , t h e r e is a c l e a r i n t e n t to p e r p e t u a t e n o t i o n s o f n a t i o n a l h i s t o r y , d e s t i n y , a n d u n i t y -a l l o f w h i c h w e r e r e a l i z e d t h r o u g h Blut und Eisen f o r the s e c u r i n g o f Blut und Boden a n d the f o u n d a t i o n o f t h e Volksgemeinschaft ( p e o p l e ' s c o m m u n i t y ) . 1 2 See Chapter Six of Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (New York, 1991). Here, Anderson discusses the elitist control of national identity formation, resulting in 'official nationalism.' 1 3 Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism. (Cambridge, 1990), p.9. Also, see John Breuilly, The Formation of the First German Nation-State, 1800-1871. (NewsYork: St. Martins, 1996), p. 111. 1 4 Such as national flags, monuments, national anthems, etc. See Eric Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe 1870-1914" in The Invention of Tradition, (Cambridge, 1983), p. 7. 1 5 Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing", p. 267-268. 1 6 Examples include: the memorial to Arminius the Cheruscan being nationalized in 1875; the erection of the Niederwald monument on the Rhine to commemorate German unification; the memorial cemetery commemorating the battle of Leipzig (in 1913). Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing", p.259. After unification, the German government entrenched further the Prussian citizenship laws introduced in 1842, which _ differentiated between Staatsangehdrigkeit (formal state membership), Staatsburgerschaft (participatory citizenship) and Volkszugehdrigkeit (ethnocultural, national membership). Rogers Brubaker Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany. (Cambridge, 1992), p.51. 6 N a t u r a l l y , n o t a l l G e r m a n s s h a r e d i n the e n t h u s i a s m o f t h e n e w n a t i o n a l m y t h i n the la te n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , o r i n its a c c o m p a n y i n g " P r u s s i a n i z a t i o n " - m o s t l y i n v o l v i n g i s s u e s r e l a t e d to l a n g u a g e a n d a d h e r e n c e to P r o t e s t a n t i s m , as w i t n e s s e d i n t h e Kulturkampf a n d R e i c h p o l i c y v i s - a - v i s G e r m a n k i n g d o m s o u t s i d e o f P r u s s i a . I n t h e c a s e o f the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s , G e r m a n n a t i o n a l i s m e v o k e d a n a m b i v a l e n t r e s p o n s e . O n the p o s i t i v e s i d e , the h a r d w o r k i n g n o t i o n s e n d o r s e d b y t h e G e r m a n p e o p l e , e c h o i n g the i d e a o f a n a t i o n b u i l t o n Blut undBoden, r e s o n a t e d w i t h t h e m . 1 7 T h e y w e r e e t h n i c a l l y G e r m a n , s p o k e the G e r m a n l a n g u a g e 1 8 a n d , a l t h o u g h t h e y w e r e p a r t o f a f r e e c h u r c h t r a d i t i o n , m o s t o f t h e i r m i n i s t e r s w e r e t r a i n e d i n s t a t e - r u n L u t h e r a n u n i v e r s i t i e s . 1 9 I n short , t h e y w e r e m o s t l y a s s i m i l a t e d i n P r u s s i a b y the late n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , d e s i r e d t o p a r t a k e o f a l l the p o s i t i v e e l e m e n t s o f b e i n g G e r m a n a n d w a n t e d to p a r t i c i p a t e f u l l y i n G e r m a n y s o c i e t y . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , as o u t l i n e d a b o v e , the M e n n o n i t e s w a n t e d to m a i n t a i n t h e c u l t u r a l a n d r e l i g i o u s t r a d i t i o n s that g a v e t h e m a s t r o n g s e n s e o f g r o u p i d e n t i t y a n d a s t r o n g s e n s e o f c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h e i r c h e r i s h e d h i s t o r y . T h e s e t r a d i t i o n s e s s e n t i a l l y r a n c o u n t e r to s o m e o f the m a i n e l e m e n t s i n m o d e r n G e r m a n n a t i o n a l i s m a n d , n a t u r a l l y , w e r e d i a m e t r i c a l l y o p p o s e d to the m i l i t a r y e t h o s that w a s i m m o r t a l i z e d at the K y f f h a u s e r M o n u m e n t . 1 7 In "German Mennonites, Economics and the State", James Lichti links what he calls 'bread and sweat' with 'Blut und Boden', asserting that "Mennonite stewardship norms did overlap at points with those of National Socialism." In Calvin Redekop, Victor Krahn and Samuel Steiner (eds.), Anabaptist/Mennonite Faith and Economics (New York, 1994), pp. 100-107. 1 8 The Mennonites maintained their Frisian and Flemish divisions and the Dutch language until 1759. Thereafter, they conducted religious services in High German. Edmund Kizik, "Religious Freedom and the Limits of Social Assimilation: The History of the Mennonites in Danzig and the Vistula Delta Until Their Tragic End after World War II" in Alastair Hamilton, Sjouke Voolstra and Piet Visser (eds.), From Martyr to Muppy: Mennonite Urban Professionals (Amsterdam, 1994), p.59. 1 9 Diether Goetz Lichdi explains how Mennonite ministers traveled throughout Germany in order to receive theological training in state universities after the Mennonites began to focus on having 'professional,' or — seminary-trained pastors in the nineteenth century. Leading pastors were: Emil Haendiges, Elbing-Ellerwald, editor of theMennonitische Blatter and chair of Vereinigung; Erich Gottner, Danzig; Christian 7 T h e c o u n t e r - m y t h to the K y f f h a u s e r l e g e n d , w h i c h s e r v e s as a n e s s e n t i a l par t o f M e n n o n i t e s e l f - u n d e r s t a n d i n g , o r i g i n a t e s i n t h e E u r o p e - w i d e A n a b a p t i s t m o v e m e n t , o r S e c o n d F r o n t o f t h e R e f o r m a t i o n . T h e c o l l e c t i v e i d e n t i t y o f t h i s g r o u p c a n b e t r a c e d to t h e l i n e a g e o f n o n r e s i s t a n t m a r t y r s w h o w e r e p e r s e c u t e d a n d k i l l e d af ter t h e D i e t o f S p e y e r i n 1 5 2 9 , 2 1 w h i c h o f f i c i a l l y o u t l a w e d t h e sect . T h e r e a f t e r , the A n a b a p t i s t s , i n c l u d i n g t h e c o n v e r t e d D u t c h p r i e s t M e n n o S i m o n s , w e r e c o n t i n u a l l y o n the r u n t h r o u g h o u t the H o l y R o m a n E m p i r e . T h e y w e r e e x p e l l e d from A a c h e n , C o l o g n e , B u r t s c h e i d a n d O d e n k i r c h e n i n the e a r l y s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y . 2 2 T h e s e e x p e r i e n c e s e s t a b l i s h e d a p e r s e c u t i o n c o m p l e x a m o n g the A n a b a p t i s t s , a d d i n g a n i n h e r e n t i n s e c u r i t y to the g r o u p ' s s e l f - i d e n t i t y . I n h i s t e a c h i n g s , M e n n o c o n s i d e r e d the u s e o f f o r c e to b e a n a c h r o n i s t i c , s u i t a b l e o n l y f o r the p r e - C h r i s t i a n era , c l a i m i n g : Moses and his successors have served their day with their sword of iron, and... Christ has now given us a new commandment and has girded us with another sword.2 3 D r i v i n g th is s t r o n g n o n r e s i s t a n t s t a n c e w a s the d e s i r e a m o n g m a i n s t r e a m A n a b a p t i s t s to d i s t a n c e t h e m s e l v e s f r o m the A n a b a p t i s t s w h o w e r e i n v o l v e d i n t h e P e a s a n t s W a r a n d the Neff, Weierhof; Benjamin Unruh, the 'Vertreter der Russland Mennoniten'. Diether Goetz Lichdi, Mermoniten im Dritten Reich: Dokumentation und Deutung (Weierhof, 1977), p.26-27. 2 0 Leonard Verduin, The Reformers and their Stepchildren (Grand Rapids, 1964) p . l 1. Adherents of the movement established themselves in Thuringia, Switzerland, Tyrol, Holland and northern Germany. 2 1 In 1529, the imperial Diet of Speyer, by edict of oudawry effective throughout the Empire, practically eliminated hopes of milder treatment of the persecuted Anabaptists. Executions of Anabaptists were common and numerous. The great leaders of the Anabaptism - Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, William Reublin, John Brotli, Michael Sattler and Balthasar Hubmaier were all dead by 1529. The original settlers in Prussia had migrated directly from the Dutch Mennonite community, fleeing the Duke of Alva's Blood Council in the mid-sixteenth century. C. Henry Smith, The Story of the Mennonites (Newton, 1957), p. 13. _ 2 2 Ernst Crous, "Germany," in Bender and Smith, Volume II, p. 490. 2 3 Menno Simons, "The Cross of the Saints, c. 1574," in John C. Wenger (ed.), The Complete Writings of Menno Simons c. 1496-1561 (Scottsdale, 1956), p. 603. 8 attempted theocracy at Miinster in 1534, which earned them the stigma of being Schwdrmer, or fanatics. 2 5 In "The Cross of the Saints," Menno claimed: "the Miinsterites were seditious and acted contrary to the Word of G o d . . . we deny that we are a piece of them." 2 6 The Anabaptists who adopted his name in 1544, forming the Mennonites, officially accepted the main tenets of the Swiss Anabaptist Schleitheim Confession of 1527. 2 7 They embraced nonresistance, not swearing an oath to any temporal power, belief in the separation of church and state, and they adopted Simon's insistence on staving off secular influences on the conscience, 2 8 which was to be chiefly guided by the 29 Scriptures alone (sola scriptura). First published in 1660, Thieleman van Braght's famous M a r k e r Spiegel der Wehrlosen Christen (Martyr's Mirror of the Defenseless Christians) consolidated an Anabaptist/Mennonite martyrology that bolstered the movement's self-defined collective The episode at Miinster witnessed Jan Matty's and his successor Jan van Leiden attempt to forcibly transform the city into the New Jerusalem prophesied in the book of Reveladon. The local Catholic bishop, with support of the German princes, laid siege to Miinster, and made short order of the 'theocracy.' In the end, van Leiden and his cohorts, including Menno Simons' brother, were killed and his remains, along with those of two other leaders of the movement, were displayed in the WiedertQuferktifige that were mounted on the Lamberti Kirche in Minister and are currently extant Smith, pp.44-49. 2 5 The mainstream Anabaptists managed to stave off this association with fanaticism. They were, however, still seen as very radical and very dangerous, both by the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant Reformers alike, particularly as they refused the entrenched coercionism of the establishment which, in their view, was "foreign to the true faith." The Anabaptists and their radical voluntarism, rejection of the establishment and nonresistance were dubbed Stabler or cane-carriers, much like the Donatists and Waldenses of past epochs. Not merely rebels, these people believed that they were set apart from other denominations that claimed to be Christian. They belonged to the one, true Christian church, and individual conscience, rather than conformity to the ways of the world, served as their guide. Verduin, p.63-65. 2 6 Menno Simons, "The Cross," p.602. Also see Harold Bender, The Anabaptists and Religious Liberty in the Sixteenth Century fj'hiladelphia, 1970) p. 14. 2 7 Written by Michael Sattler in 1527, the seven points of the Schleitheim Confession addressed proper behavior concerning the following: baptism; excommunication; breaking of bread; separation from the Abomination (evildoers); pastors; nonresistance; and refusal to swear oaths. Lowell Zuck (ed.) Christianity and Revolution: Radical Christian Testimonies 1520-1650 (Temple University, 1975), p. 72. 2 8 Bender, "The Anabaptists," p. 15. 2 9 Menno Simons, "The New Birth," in John C. Wenger (ed.), The Complete Writings of Menno Simons c. 1496-1561 (Scottsdale, 1956), p.89. 9 i d e n t i t y as the " t r u e b e l i e v e r s " - c o m p l e t e w i t h m o r a l r o l e - m o d e l s a n d h e r o e s . I n the Mirror, v a n B r a g h t p o i n t e d to the f a l l a c i o u s b e l i e f s o f A p o s t o l i c S u c c e s s i o n h e l d b y b o t h P r o t e s t a n t s a n d R o m a n C a t h o l i c s , c l a i m i n g that the s u c c e s s i o n o f t h e t r u e c h u r c h is f o u n d i n " t h e d o c t r i n e o f t h e a p o s t l e s , [ w h i c h ] w e b e l i e v e i n o u r hear t , a n d c o n f e s s w i t h o u r m o u t h s . " 3 1 T h e t r u e b e l i e v e r s , a n d s u b s e q u e n t l y t h o s e b e l o n g i n g to t h e t r u e c h u r c h , a re d e p i c t e d as t h o s e w h o w e r e b a p t i z e d u p o n c o n f e s s i o n o f f a i t h - s t a r t i n g w i t h J e s u s C h r i s t , a n d c o n t i n u i n g o n t o t h e A n a b a p t i s t r e f o r m e r s . T h r o u g h t h e Mirror a n d o t h e r w o r k s , 3 2 M e n n o n i t e s c a m e t o a c o l l e c t i v e s e l f - u n d e r s t a n d i n g as t h e t r u e s u c c e s s o r s o f t h e o n e t r u e c h u r c h , w h o s e d e f i n i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c w a s that o f b e i n g wehrlose Christen. A History of the Prussian Mennonites, 1535-1933 If the Lord values a soul more than the whole world, what a pitiable price to pay for decorations, incorporation laws, legal equalization with other denominations, security of property, and the honor of Fatherland and nation — in return to become companions in a work by which hundreds of thousands of souls, in a moment when they are fired by hate and bitterness, are thrown into Eternity. And in this we should help and not rather take up our pilgrim's staff and go to where we are free from such awful doings and where we will gladly be received.3 -Wilhelm Ewert, elder at Obernessau, 1872. One classic story that appears in the Mirror is that of Dirk Willems. While being pursued by his enemies, the 'heretic' Dirk ran over an ice-coated river. A man pursuing him crashed through the ice and cried for help. Dirk, out of love for his enemy, decided to turn back and save the man's life. He succeeded, but, as a result of his actions, was caught by the other men pursuing him. They, in turn, arrested and executed Dirk as a heretic, despite his good deed. Thieleman J. van Braght, Martyr's Mirror of the Defenseless Christians (Kitchener, 1950), p.716. Historian C. Henry Smith adds that Menno Simons also had numerous legends surrounding his life, many of which include 'miraculous' elements that account for Menno's ability to elude his assailants. Smith, p.71. 3 1 Van Braght steers the reader away from competing notions of personal Apostolic Succession, and focuses on doctrine. Van Braght, p.26. Some did not hold this view in the same manner, and continued to focus on Apostolic Succession. This is evident in Ignaz Franz's Anabaptist hymn, written in 1774: "Lo the apostolic train; join thy sacred name to hallow Prophets swell and glad refrain; and the white-robed martyrs follow; and from mom til set of sun; through the Church the song goes on." Grosser Gott wir Loben dich, Ignaz Franz 1774, from Te Deum Laudamus, late fourth century. 3 2 Other related martyrological accounts include: Hutterite chronicles by Kaspar Braitmichel (1573) and A History of the Martyrs or True Witnesses to Jesus Christ (1615). Cornelius Dyck, "The Suffering Church in Anabaptism" in Mennonite Quarterly Review 59 (1985), p.7. 3 3 The response of Wilhelm Ewert, elder in the Mennonites church at Obernessau, to the declaration by ~ Jakob Mannhardt, elder in the Danzig church, that Mennonites should give up Wehrlosigkeit and join in the obligations of all citizens after 1848. Here he is also addressing those Mennonites who wish to emigrate in order to escape the distressing situatiou John Thiessen, "The First Duty," pp. 182-183. 10 I n t h e r e m a r k s q u o t e d a b o v e , W i l h e l m E w e r t w a s p r i m a r i l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h M e n n o n i t e a s s i m i l a t i o n i n t o P r u s s i a n s o c i e t y at a t i m e w h e n t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y - w h i c h c o n s i s t e n t l y m a i n t a i n e d a p o p u l a t i o n o f a p p r o x i m a t e l y 12 0 0 0 3 4 -w a s f a c e d w i t h t h e g o v e r n m e n t i m p o s i t i o n o f l a w s that t h r e a t e n e d s o m e o f t h e i r c h e r i s h e d b e l i e f s a n d t r a d i t i o n s . T h e c o n c e r n w a s w e l l - w a r r a n t e d , as t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s , b y E w e r t ' s t i m e , h a d d r i f t e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y f r o m the b e l i e f s o f t h e o r i g i n a l M e n n o n i t e settlers i n t h e area , w h o h a d b e e n i n c l o s e c o n t a c t w i t h M e n n o S i m o n s a n d h i s t e a c h i n g s . 3 5 T o b e sure , the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s h a d a c c e p t e d the D u t c h M e n n o n i t e D o r d r e c h t C o n f e s s i o n i n 1632 - w h i c h w a s b a s e d o n the e a r l i e r A n a b a p t i s t c o n f e s s i o n at S c h l e i t h e i m - a n d h a d f o r m e d the c o n s e r v a t i v e t h e o l o g i c a l u n d e r p i n n i n g s o f the c o m m u n i t y . T h e o r i g i n a l t h e o l o g i c a l f o u n d a t i o n o f the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s , h o w e v e r , d i d n o t abate the t e n d e n c y t o w a r d a d e s i r e to a s s i m i l a t e i n t o P r u s s i a n c u l t u r e , p a r t i c u l a r l y af ter t h e M e n n o n i t e s h a d e n d u r e d grea t h a r d s h i p s d u r i n g the R e f o r m a t i o n . A f t e r t h e G r e a t E l e c t o r e m b r a c e d P i e t i s m , P r u s s i a b e c a m e a strict " m a r r i a g e o f P i e t i s m a n d t h e d r i l l s q u a r e . " 3 6 B y t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y , b o t h P i e t i s m a n d R a t i o n a l i s m h a d m a d e s i g n i f i c a n t i n r o a d s i n t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y t h r o u g h the c o n n e c t i o n s o f P a l a t i n a t e a n d 3 4 The Mennonite population in Prussia from the early nineteenth century to 1945 remained between 13 000 (1816) and 10 500 (1945), or approximately 0.02% of the German population. In the 1925 census, there was a total of 13 298 Mennonites in all of Germany, the majority residing in East and Polish Prussia and Danzig. Most migration, except for the Russian exodus in the 1870s, was internal urbanization to Danzig, Berlin, Hamburg/Altona, Crefeld, Neuwied, Cologne, Dusseldorf, etc. Horst Penner, Die ost- und westpreufiischen Mennoniten. Teil II, (Weierhof, 1978), pp. 241, 267. Also, see Ernst Helmreich, The German Churches Under Hitler fXJetroit, 1979), p. 93. 3 5 Simons visited the Mennonites of the Vistula Delta in 1548 and in a letter exhorted them to a life of peace amongst themselves, and with those outside the community. "Exhortation to a Church in Prussia, c. 1549," in Wenger, 1030-1035. The connection between Simons the Prussian church is also seen in the _fact that Dirk Philips, a close cohort of Simons, served as the first elder of the Danzig Mennonite Church. 3 6 E. J. Feuchtwanger, Prussia: Myth and Reality: The Role of Prussia in German History (London, 1970), p.39. 11 W e s t P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e m i n i s t e r s , a n d l e d to f u n d a m e n t a l s h i f t s i n M e n n o n i t e t h e o l o g i c a l o r i e n t a t i o n . 3 8 T h e M e n n o n i t e s , h o w e v e r , d i d n o t find a c c o r d w i t h t h e k i n g ' s " m a r r i a g e " o f t h e i r b e l i e f s w i t h t h e " d r i l l s q u a r e " - at least f o r t h e t i m e b e i n g . W h i l e s o m e o f the H o h e n z o l l e r n k i n g s i n P r u s s i a p r o p e r a n d s o m e o f t h e P o l i s h k i n g s i n P o l i s h P r u s s i a o f t e n r e s t r i c t e d , p e r s e c u t e d o r d e p o r t e d t h e M e n n o n i t e s b e t w e e n the s i x t e e n t h a n d e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r i e s , t h e r e w e r e a l s o m a n y e x a m p l e s o f p r i v i l e g i a b e i n g e x t e n d e d t o the M e n n o n i t e s i n t h i s p e r i o d , m o s t l y b e c a u s e b o t h k i n g d o m s v a l u e d M e n n o n i t e c o n t r i b u t i o n s to t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e e c o n o m i e s a n d h o p e d to c u r b M e n n o n i t e e m i g r a t i o n . 3 9 A f t e r the first p a r t i t i o n o f P o l a n d i n 1772, the M e n n o n i t e s o f E a s t a n d W e s t P r u s s i a w e r e u n i t e d u n d e r K i n g F r i e d r i c h II. I m m e d i a t e l y t h e r e a f t e r ( 1 7 7 3 ) , t h e 3 7 Ernst Crous, "Anabaptism, Pietism, Rationalism and German Mennonites" in Guy Hershberger (ed.) The Recovery of the Anabaptist Vision: A Sixtieth Anniversary Tribute to Harold H. Bender (Scottsdale, 1957), p.241. The dissemination began in the Mennonite seminary at Amsterdam est. 1735. Jan Deknatel a key figure there, and pastor in Amsterdam since 1734, enjoyed a close connection with the Moravians and Methodists. Gerhard Tersteegen (Lower Rhine) influenced Prussians at Neuwied and Crefeld. Similarly, Pietism spread amongst notable Mennonite preachers such as Hans van Steen, preacher in Danzig from 1754 and Martin Mollinger, preacher at Mannheim from 1753, and Danzig's Isaak van Duehren (converted in 1772) and Heubuden's Cornelius Regier (converted 1764). Thus, through embracing Pietism - which stressed personal repentance of sin while not sharing the focus on holy living and discipleship found in traditional Mennonite theology - Mennonites gradually emerged from their seclusion, and essentially lost touch with sixteenth century Anabaptism. Crous, "Germany," in Bender and Smith, Volume II, p.493. 3 8 Crous in Hershberger, p.247-248. The Lutheranism, liberalism and modernism taught in universities found their way into Mennonite congregations. Gustav Kraemer in Crefeld (1903fF), and J.G. Appeldoom in Emden (1904-16) were prominent representatives of these tendencies. A milder liberalism had appeared earlier in Prussia proper with Carl Herder, pastor at Neuwied 1857-69 and at Elbing in the progressive town congregation in 1869-96 and with Hermann Gottlieb Mannhardt pastor at Danzig from 1879. In general confessional boundaries had become lax in certain areas. In many cases, such as in Crefeld and Monsheim, Lutheran and Baptist pastors headed Mennonite congregations. Crous, "Germany," in Bender and Smith, Volume II, p.498. 3 9 See Footnotes 3 and 4. The City of Danzig barred Mennonites from trading in the city in the early sixteenth century. Klassen, "Faith and Culture" p. 198. Concessions were offered to the Mennonites in terms of military service and guilds (a charter of liberties was issued in Danzig praising the economic productivity of the Mennonites and granting certain liberties and rights after the Diet of Thorn in 1571). H. G. Mannhardt, "Danzig Mennonite Church" in Bender and Smith, Volume III, p. 9. As Mennonite nonconformity with the world was precisely what allowed them to become the best farmers, artisans, manufacturers, etc., rulers during the sixteenth and seventeenth century, such as Polish King Wladislaus IV, held them in high regard. Horst Penner, "West Prussia" in Bender and Smith, Volume IV, p. 923. — Friedrich Wilhelm I, however, expelled the Mennonites from the newly-established Prussian kingdom in 1724. Most established a new life across the Nogat River in Polish Prussia. Klassen, "Faith and Culture," p. 200. 1 2 M e n n o n i t e s s e n t a d e l e g a t i o n t o K o n i g s b e r g , w h e r e t h e y s u c c e s s f u l l y p e t i t i o n e d f o r t h e p r o t e c t i o n o f t h e i r interes ts , i n c l u d i n g m i l i t a r y e x e m p t i o n . K i n g F r i e d r i c h I F s T o l e r a t i o n E d i c t o f 1 7 8 0 o b l i g e d t h e M e n n o n i t e s , w h o w e r e g r a n t e d c i t i z e n s h i p a n d t h e p r i v i l e g e o f n o t s e r v i n g i n t h e a r m y " f o r a l l t i m e , " 4 0 w i t h t h e c o n d i t i o n that t h e y p a y a m i l i t a r y tax o f 5 0 0 0 T a l e r s p e r y e a r to t h e a c a d e m y at K u l m f o r this c o n c e s s i o n . T h o s e u n c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h p a y i n g the tax a n d w i t h K i n g F r i e d r i c h ' s r e s t r i c t i o n s o n l a n d o w n i n g r i g h t s f o r M e n n o n i t e s 4 1 w e r e f i n a l l y p r o v i d e d w i t h a d d i t i o n a l m o t i v a t i o n to e m i g r a t e . F i r s t , F r i e d r i c h W i l l i a m I P s E d i c t C o n c e r n i n g the F u t u r e o f M e n n o n i t i s m ( 1 7 8 9 ) r e s t r i c t e d s h a r p l y t h e o p p o r t u n i t y to p u r c h a s e l a n d a n d o b l i g e d M e n n o n i t e l a n d o w n e r s t o p a y the r e g u l a r c h u r c h tax r e q u i r e d o f m e m b e r s o f the L u t h e r a n c h u r c h e s 4 2 w h i l e at t h e s a m e t i m e it r e s t r i c t e d t h e i r e m i g r a t i o n f r o m P r u s s i a . 4 3 T h e s e c o n d m o t i v a t i o n to e m i g r a t e w a s f o u n d i n C a t h e r i n e t h e G r e a t ' s i n v i t a t i o n to the M e n n o n i t e s a n d o t h e r s to settle a n d f a r m i n t h e U k r a i n e i n 1 7 8 7 . 4 4 M a n y c h o s e to f o l l o w t h e i r c o n s c i e n c e a n d o v e r c o m e t h e i r c i r c u m s t a n c e s b y e m i g r a t i n g t o R u s s i a , a n d t h o s e that c h o s e to r e m a i n i n P r u s s i a w e r e , n a t u r a l l y , o b l i g e d to a c c o m m o d a t e t h e i r b e l i e f s t o the d e m a n d s o f the state. E r n s t C r o u s c l a i m s that t h e M e n n o n i t e d e n o m i n a t i o n w o u l d h a v e c e a s e d t o ex is t i n P r u s s i a i n t h i s p e r i o d h a d it n o t b e e n f o r t h e c o n t i n u a l l y - e x p a n d i n g i n f l u e n c e s o f P i e t i s m a n d 4 0 Emit Haendiges, "The Catastrophe of the West Prussian Mennonites," in The Mennonite Quarterly Review 24:2 (1950), p. 125. 4 1 While Frederick n granted the Mennonites military exemption, they were still subject to Prussian law. Consequentially, if a Mennonite bought land in the Vistula Delta, he would be reducing the potential number of Prussian recruits in the local regiments. Therefore, military exemption was limited to those who owned less than 2100 Hufen of land. Kizik, p.60. 4 2 Klassen, "Faith and Culture," p. 210. 4 3 In attempts to prevent farmers, artisans, business persons and laborers from leaving the Prussian government denied permission to emigrate, impeded the sale or purchase of land or other possessions and refused to process documents. Mennonite efforts in Berlin in 1787 to expand land-holding rights were overruled, which resulted in many choosing to emigrate. Peter J. Klassen, "Barriers to Emigration from -Prussia" in Mennonite Quarterly Review 72 (1998), p. 85. 13 R a t i o n a l i s m w h i c h , h e asserts , a f f o r d e d t h e M e n n o n i t e s a p h i l o s o p h i c a l a n d t h e o l o g i c a l v i t a l i t y that t h e y w e r e l a c k i n g at t h e t i m e . 4 5 W i t h that v i t a l i t y , h o w e v e r , c a m e d r a s t i c a l t e r a t i o n s t o t h e t r a d i t i o n a l M e n n o n i t e s t a n c e o f n o n r e s i s t a n c e , p e r h a p s i n f l u e n c e d b y the f a c t that t h e y h a d g a i n e d f u l l c i t i z e n s h i p u n d e r F r i e d r i c h W i l h e l m III i n 1 8 0 1 . W i t h t h e F r e n c h g a i n i n g g r e a t i n f l u e n c e i n P r u s s i a a f ter t h e P e a c e o f L u n e v i l l e i n 1801 a n d t h e P e a c e o f A m i e n s i n 1803 , t h e M e n n o n i t e s b e g a n t o s h o w a c t i v e , v o l u n t a r y s u p p o r t f o r the P r u s s i a n m i l i t a r y . 4 6 T h i s t e n d e n c y to s u p p o r t the m i l i t a r y d e v e l o p e d p a r t i c u l a r l y a m o n g the M e n n o n i t e s o f w e s t e r n G e r m a n y i n the first h a l f o f the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y . C r e f e l d ' s M e n n o n i t e b a n k e r a n d m e m b e r o f the P r u s s i a n a n d F r a n k f u r t p a r l i a m e n t s H e r m a n n v o n B e c k e r a t h b o l d l y s t a t e d i n 1848 : I think myself fortunate in belonging to one of the freest denominations. The time of privileges is gone. The modern state requires equal rights for all citizens, so the Rhenish Mennonites, with only few exceptions, are rendering their military service. Nonresistance with them is no longer an 47 integral part of their creed. T h e M e n n o n i t e s i n P r u s s i a , h o w e v e r , w e r e n o t e a g e r t o a l i g n t h e m s e l v e s w i t h t h e i r R h e n i s h b r e t h r e n , a n d o p p o s e d t h e P r u s s i a n C o n s t i t u t i o n o f 1848 that p r o c l a i m e d e q u a l d u t i e s f o r a l l c i t i z e n s . W e s t P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s p l e a d e d f o r t o l e r a t i o n o f t h e M e n n o n i t e p r i v i l e g e o f n o n r e s i s t a n c e i n 1848 a n d a g a i n af ter K i n g W i l h e l m I r e v o k e d t h e m i l i t a r y e x e m p t i o n f o r M e n n o n i t e s o n 18 O c t o b e r , 1867 . A f t e r t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s a p p e a l e d to w a r m i n i s t e r W a l d e m a r v o n R o o n a n d C r o w n P r i n c e F r i e d r i c h , W i l h e l m a g r e e d t o a g a i n g r a n t t h e 4 4 Catherine's 1763 Manifesto invited foreigners to settle in the Ukraine. Through a special emissary, Georg Trappe, the Mennonites in Prussia were specifically invited with the promise of land, military exemption and a list of privileges. Klassen, "Barriers" p. 86. 4 5 Crous, "Anabaptism," in Hershberger, p.241. 4 6 See Feuchtwanger, pp.92-98 for a description of the increase in French presence and control in Prussia. Horst Penner explains how the Mennonites donated 30 000 Talers to King Friedrich III upon his visit to Konigsberg in 1806, and in 1810 added 10 000 Talers to the compulsory war tax, and supported the war effort with horses, food, supplies, etc., while excommunicating those that enlisted in the army (revealing the fine line of 'proper' service). Horst Penner, "West Prussia," in Bender and Smith, Volume IV, p. 925. 4 7 Crous.. "Germany," in Bender and Smith, Volume U, p.496. 14 M e n n o n i t e s a l t e r n a t i v e s e r v i c e r i g h t s i n a n O r d e r o f C a b i n e t o n 3 M a r c h , 1 8 6 8 , a n d t h e r i g h t f o r M e n n o n i t e s to g u a r a n t e e t h e i r l o y a l t y t o the c r o w n w i t h a h a n d s h a k e i n s t e a d o f s w e a r i n g a n o a t h i n 1 8 6 9 . 4 9 A n d l o y a l t h e y w e r e . U p o n the o u t b r e a k o f the F r a n c o - P r u s s i a n W a r , D a n z i g m i n i s t e r J a c o b M a n n h a r d t 5 0 u r g e d h i s c o n g r e g a t i o n t o s u p p o r t the w a r e f f o r t s h o r t o f b e a r i n g a r m s : Ein furchtbarer Krieg ist zwischen Frankreich und Deutschland entstanden...also, daB aus alien Stadten alt und jung, Manner und Frauen...durch personlichen Dienst als Krankenpfleger oder durch Geld und Darreichung anderer Gaben, durch Anfertigung von Bekleidungs- und Verbandsgegenstanden fur die Ausriistung und Versorgung der ins Feld ausgeriickten Scharen und die Pflege und Erquickung von Verwundeten und Erkrankten Sorge zu tragen.5 1 W h i l e m o s t P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s d i d n o t c h o o s e to b e a r a r m s i n t h i s p e r i o d , t h e i r o t h e r - w o r l d l y f o c u s a n d t w o - k i n g d o m t h e o l o g y h a d c e r t a i n l y u n d e r g o n e g r e a t c h a n g e , as t h e y w e r e n o w p a r t i c i p a t i n g f u l l y i n the l i f e o f the n e w G e r m a n n a t i o n - s t a t e , e v e n w h i l e " a l e g a c y w a s b e i n g l o s t . " 5 2 A r t i c l e 7 o f t h e D a n z i g M e n n o n i t e C h u r c h C o n s t i t u t i o n o f 2 9 N o v e m b e r 1 8 8 6 p r o v i d e s a n e x c e l l e n t e x a m p l e o f t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f M e n n o n i t e t r a d i t i o n s . It states: " W h e n e v e r t h e f a t h e r l a n d r e q u i r e s m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e w e a l l o w t h e i n d i v i d u a l c o n s c i e n c e o f e a c h m e m b e r t o s e r v e i n that f o r m w h i c h s a t i s f i e s h i m m o s t . " 5 3 A c c o r d i n g t o M e n n o S i m o n s ' t e a c h i n g s , t h e i d e a l c o n d i t i o n that a l l o w e d f o r the l i b e r t y o f i n d i v i d u a l c o n s c i e n c e r e q u i r e d 4 8 Thiessen, "The First Duty," p. 170. 4 9 Emil Haendiges, Historisches Memorandum zur Wehrlosigkeit der Mennoniten (Weierhof, 1951), pp. 11-26. 5 0 See Jakos Mannhardt, "Konnen und durfen wir Mennoniten der von dem Staate geforderten Wehrpflicht genugen?" inMennonitische Blatter August (1872), pp. 41-43 for a more comprehensive account of Mannhardt's views on Mennonite involvement in war. 5 1 (A terrible war has developed between France and Germany. Therefore, men and women, young and old, from all cities.. .are needed to serve as nurses, or through money or offering other gifts by which we can make up for the slander and prejudice and offer equipment to care for those in the field, and supply and care and concern for those who are injured). Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p.23. 5 2 Klassen, "Faith and Culture" p. 203. 5 3 Haendiges, "Catastrophe," p. 126 15 that the state r e f r a i n f r o m i n t e r f e r i n g i n c h u r c h a f f a i r s 5 4 a n d that , a f ter a c c e p t a n c e o f f a i t h , o b e d i e n c e - to a m o n o l i t h i c u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f " t h e f r u i t s o f the f a i t h " 5 5 - w a s to s u p e r s e d e t h e f r e e d o m o f i n d i v i d u a l c o n s c i e n c e . H e r e , e n j o y i n g t o l e r a t i o n i n t h e S e c o n d R e i c h , t h e M e n n o n i t e s i n P r u s s i a voluntarily a b a n d o n e d t h e c o l l e c t i v e " r i g h t p a t h " o f t h e C h r i s t i a n as d e f i n e d b y S i m o n s . W h i l e m a i n t a i n i n g t h e i r f o u n d a t i o n a l p r i n c i p l e o f i n d i v i d u a l c o n s c i e n c e , t h e y r e d e f i n e d S i m o n s ' t e a c h i n g s a n d a b a n d o n e d t h e i r c o l l e c t i v e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f the s a m e , as p h y s i c a l p r o x i m i t y c a m e to s u p e r s e d e the b i b l i c a l m a n d a t e to " l o v e t h y n e i g h b o r " i n a u n i v e r s a l s e n s e . 5 6 I n d e e d , b y W o r l d W a r I the n o t i o n o f n o n - r e s i s t a n c e w a s v i r t u a l l y n o n - e x i s t e n t a m o n g the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s . In 1915 H . G . M a n n h a r d t ( D a n z i g e l d e r 1 8 7 9 - 1 9 2 7 ) w r o t e "Taten undHelden", i n w h i c h he c l a i m e d : Doch was reden wir von der Zukunft, wahrend doch die Gegenwart alle unsere Gedanken fur sich fordert? Wir konnen jetzt nicht zusammenkornmen ohne unserer kampfenden und blutenden und besonders unserer gefallenen Briider zu gedenken. Taten und Helden hat die Not uns geboren... Als Schiller einst von Vaterland und Freiheit singen wollte, mufite er seine Helden jenseits der deutschen Grenzen suchen oder im fernen Altertum..heute wiirde er das nicht tun...Gott gebe uns jetzt und lninftig, im Kriege wie im Frieden, was wir dazu bediirfen: Taten und Helden! 5 7 Ron Fraser asserts: "for Menno, the state, in refraining from interference within the church, [provides] the circumstances for a faith based on liberty of conscience." Ron Fraser, Christian Freedom in the Theology of Menno Simons. (Vancouver, 1986), p.32. 5 5 See Menno Simons, "The New Birth," pp.89, 96. Also, see Fraser, p. 125. 5 6 Interview of Diether Goetz Lichdi by Author, 6 June, 2000 (Heilbronn, Germany). Also, see Crous, "Germany," in Bender and Smith, Volume II, p. 496. While making the transition into military service, the South German Mennonite Conference published a leaflet Warnungen und Winke fur die Milit&rzeit (Kaiserlautern, 1908), encouraging Mennonites to partake of all of the good things that the service had to offer, and warned against the tendency to lose faith while in the army, and adopting the military's mandate to hate the enemy. 5 7 (Why do we talk about the future, when the present requires all of our attention? We cannot meet now without thanking our fighting and injured and particularly our fallen brothers. The distress has given birth to actions and heroes... When Schiller once wanted to sing about the Fatherland and freedom, he had to look for heroes beyond the German border or in distant history. Today that will not be the case... God, gives us now and in the future, in war as in peacetime, that which we require: actions and heroes!), H. G. Mannhardt, Taten und Helden, (Danzig, 1915), p. 15, 19. Examples of a major shift in thought abound in this period. Paul Schowalter reveals how the Kaiser influenced the Mennonites in a Reichstag speech, in which he called on Germans to "Kniet nieder vor Gott und bittet ihn um Hilfe fur unser braves Heer" (Kneel low before God and ask him to help our brave Army). Schowalter also describes the reflections of a Mennonite woman who lost her son in battle: "Gott gab ihn uns, wir gaben ihn dem Vaterland." (God gave him to us, we gave him to the Fatherland). Paul Schowalter, Nationalismus undKrieg in denAugen der deutschen Mennoniten im 19 und 20Jahrhundert (Weierhof, 1976), Unpublished Paper, pp.50, 52. Diether 1 6 O f the 114 M e n n o n i t e s w h o w e r e d r a f t e d i n t o t h e G e r m a n a r m y i n F i r s t W o r l d W a r , s e v e n t y -f o u r b o r e a r m s , w h i l e t w e n t y - t w o w e r e i n v o l v e d i n m i l i t a r y t r a i n i n g a n d e i g h t e e n w o r k e d i n m e n t a l h o s p i t a l s as Sanitater5* T h e V e r s a i l l e s s e t t l e m e n t d i v i d e d the p r o v i n c e s o f E a s t a n d W e s t P r u s s i a i n t o t h e F r e e C i t y o f D a n z i g , p a r t o f P o l a n d , a n d E a s t P r u s s i a . A s a resul t , the M e n n o n i t e c o n g r e g a t i o n s i n the V i s t u l a D e l t a w e r e r e l e g a t e d to t h r e e d i f f e r e n t p o l i t i c a l a d m i n i s t r a t i o n s . 5 9 M e n n o n i t e s u n d e r G e r m a n a d m i n i s t r a t i o n a p p e a l e d to the W e i m a r C o n s t i t u t i o n a n d s u c c e s s f u l l y g a i n e d the status o f a p u b l i c c o r p o r a t i o n , e s t a b l i s h i n g t h e i r d e n o m i n a t i o n as a n e q u a l a m o n g o t h e r s i n G e r m a n y . W h i l e r e m a i n i n g r e l i g i o u s o u t s i d e r s i n G e r m a n y , 6 0 t h e M e n n o n i t e s w e r e n o l o n g e r r e q u i r e d to p a y the state c h u r c h tax f o r the f i rs t t i m e s i n c e 1 7 8 9 . 6 1 Goetz Lichdi explains how one Mennonite preacher claimed: "Gott, der Herr, fuhrt unser ganzes Volk jetzt besondere Wege nach seinem heilsamen Plan.. .er hat unsere Kriegslage so geschaffen, daB wir nur danken konnen." (God, the Lord, leads our whole people in special ways according to his heavenly plan...he developed our involvement in the war, and for that we can only thank him). Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 24 5 8 Diether Goetz Lichdi asserts that "Es schient als ob die pietistisch gepragten Gemeinden im ElsaB und in Westpreussen die relative meistens Mitglieder hatten, die von der Vergunstigung der Kabinettsordre Gebrauch machten." (It appears as though the more Pietist-minded congregations in Alsace and West Prussia, compared to the other members of the Mennonite churches, were the ones that made use of the privilege afforded by the Order of Cabinet). Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 22. Siegfried Bartel, once a captain in the Wehrmacht, attests to personal experiences that illustrate these shifts in thinking among Mennonites in Prussia. His mother's diary, written throughout the First World War, is full of references to God's hand being on the German nation in war. Siegfried reflects: "The Mennonites were becoming very nationalistic in their thinking. This was a result of them having embraced the Pietist movement, which was Lutheran based. [My mother] gave me the name Siegfried Wilhelm. You couldn't be more patriotic than that...the Kaiser's name on top of the Siegfried." Interview of Siegfried Bartel. 5 9 Most congregations were assigned to the Free State of Danzig, including: Danzig, Neunhuben, Fiirstenwerder, Heubuden, Ladekopp, Orlofferfelde, Rosenort, and Tiegenhagen. Those assigned to East Prussia: Elbing-Ellerwald, Thiensdorf-Markushof and Tragheimerweide. Those in Poland: Thorn, Kulm, Graudenz, Obernessau, Schonsee, Montau-Gruppe. Penner, "Ost-West," p. 104-105. 6 0 In 1925, 95% of the German population belonged to either the Roman Catholic or Protestant Land Churches. Ernst Helmreich explains how those from the "more esoteric sects" were restricted in teaching religion in schools, from speaking at public gatherings, and in gaining access to cemeteries. Helmreich, p.94. 6 1 In 1874 a Prussian law allowed Mennonite congregations to incorporate. After 1924 Gustav Reimer, in a series of lawsuits, liberated the Mennonites of Prussia proper from the obligation of paying taxes to the _ Protestant established church." Crous, "Germany," in Bender and Smith, Volume II, p. 497. Diether Goetz Lichdi explains: "They didn't have to pay any fees to the Protestant Church...actually since 1928...there was a trial in Leipzig due to the constitution, it was challenged... the court ruled in favor of the West 17 T h e d i s r u p t i o n o f the P r u s s i a n c o m m u n i t y a f t e r t h e w a r , h o w e v e r , d e v a s t a t e d t h e h i g h l y d e v e l o p e d a g r i c u l t u r e a n d catt le i n d u s t r y , i n w h i c h t h e M e n n o n i t e s l o s t t h e i r p r i n c i p a l m a r k e t s f o r t h e i r p r o d u c t s , a n d w e r e f o r c e d t o p a y t h e h i g h t a r i f f s i m p o s e d b y t h e P o l e s w h i c h b e c a m e i n c r e a s i n g l y d i f f i c u l t d u e to the d e f l a t e d p o s t w a r e c o n o m y . A d d i t i o n a l l y , G e r m a n s a n d P o l e s c o m p e t e d f o r p r i v i l e g e s i n the F r e e S ta te o f D a n z i g , 6 2 a n d t h e B o l s h e v i k R e v o l u t i o n i n 1 9 1 7 a n d S t a l i n ' s c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n o f f a r m l a n d i n t h e e a r l y 1 9 3 0 s lef t t h o u s a n d s o f M e n n o n i t e s h o m e l e s s , s t r i p p e d o f a l l t h e y o w n e d o r d e a d i n U k r a i n e . T h e a g g r e g a t e e f f e c t s o f these d e v e l o p m e n t s , a c c o m p a n i e d b y the R e i c h g o v e r n m e n t s e n d i n g s i x m i l l i o n M a r k s o f a i d to R u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s i n 1929 , l e d m o s t P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s to a d o p t a s t r o n g a n t i -B o l s h e v i s t a n d a n t i - P o l i s h s tance , a n d b o l s t e r e d t h e i r s u p p o r t f o r t h e R i g h t . 6 3 A c c o r d i n g to E m i l H a e n d i g e s : " t h i s d i f f i c u l t e c o n o m i c s i t u a t i o n s h o u l d b e c o n s i d e r e d i f w e w a n t to u n d e r s t a n d w h y M e n n o n i t e f a r m e r s j o i n e d the N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s t s i n the F r e e S ta te o f D a n z i g . " 6 4 O n e M e n n o n i t e m a n w h o l i v e d i n N e u t e i c h e r h i n t e r f e l d r e c a l l e d : We would try anything to get back into the Fatherland. Therefore, we were all in favor of organizations that went into that direction. We were politically involved as Mennonites, very much so. 6 5 D a n z i g p a s t o r E r i c h G d t t n e r e x p r e s s e d s o m e o f h i s s e n t i m e n t s at t h e e n d o f 1929 , w h i l e l o o k i n g f o r w a r d to m o r e p o s i t i v e e x p e r i e n c e s i n the d e c a d e a h e a d : Prussian Mennonites due to the constitution...So actually, the Weimar constitution was the final point in the equalizing of Mennonites as citizens." Interview of Diether Goetz Lichdi. 6 2 Haendiges, "Catastrophe," p. 126. 6 3 When 10 000 Russian (Ukrainian) Mennonite peasants demonstrated against government policies concerning them in 1929, the German government sent six million marks in their aid. This solidified the German nation's loyalty to the Mennonite people in the minds of that community. At the Second Mennonite World Conference in Danzig in 1930, the prevalent fear of Stalin's activity among Mennonites in Russia, coupled with this benevolent aid from the German government, led to increased national loyalties among Mennonites and sympathy for the National Socialists, and their "anti-Bolshevist" campaign. James Lichti, "The German Mennonite Response to the Dissolution of the Rhoen-Bruderhof' in ^Mennonite Life June (1991) p. 12. 6 4 Haendiges, "Catastrophe," p. 126. 6 5 Interview of Walter Regehr. 1 8 Mitten in all der Unklarheit und Ungewissheit, die iiber dem heutigen wirtschaftlichen politischen, gesellschaftlichen Leben liegt...ein[er] Weg aus der Not zu verheifien scheint, sei es ein neues Wirtschafts- oder Erziehungsprogramm, sei es eine neu auftauchende Weltanschauungsbewegung.66 T h e r e f o r e , w h e n M e n n o n i t e s w e n t to the p o l l s i n the e a r l y 1 9 3 0 s , t h e y " v o t e d e i t h e r m i d d l e o f t h e r o a d , G e r m a n N a t i o n a l o r N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s t . " 6 7 T h e c o n d i t i o n s w e r e i n p l a c e f o r t h e e v e n t u a l c o - o p t i n g o f M e n n o n i t e s i n the T h i r d R e i c h . Prussian Mennonites in the Third Reich We resist neither the emperor, the king, nor any authority in that to which they are called of God; but we are ready to obey to the death in all things that are not contrary to God and His Word. -Addressing the 'lords and princes' in "The Foundation of Christian Doctrine" —Menno Simons, 1539 Christ says, Let your light shine before men. Paul says, Be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and pen>erse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15). - 'The Signs by Which Both Churches may be Known' in "Reply to Gellius Faber"— Menno Simons, 1554 W h e n A d o l f H i t l e r c a m e to p o w e r i n 1933 , h e p r o p h e s i e d , i n a n i n t e r v i e w w i t h B i s h o p 68 B e r n i n g o f O s n a b r i i c k , that " t h e P r o t e s t a n t s w i l l . . . r e j e c t m e . " T h i s r e a l i z a t i o n c a m e f r o m H i t l e r ' s c l e a r u n d e r s t a n d i n g , w h i c h he s h a r e d w i t h M a r t i n B o r m a n n , " t h a t N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s m a n d C h r i s t i a n i t y are i r r e c o n c i l a b l e . " 6 9 I n c o m m e n t i n g o n r e l i g i o n i n G e r m a n y i n 1933 d u r i n g a c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h D a n z i g N a z i l e a d e r H e r m a n n R a u s c h i n g , H i t l e r r e f e r r e d to C h r i s t i a n i t y as a " J e w i s h C h r i s t - c r e e d w i t h . . . e f f e m i n a t e p i t y - e t h i c s . . . [ a ] J e w i s h s w i n d l e . It w i l l n o t m a k e u s free. A G e r m a n C h u r c h , o r G e r m a n C h r i s t i a n i t y , is d i s t o r t i o n . O n e is e i t h e r a G e r m a n o r a C h r i s t i a n . . . y o u c a n ' t b e b o t h . " 7 0 I n c o r r e s p o n d e n c e w i t h N a z i s u p p o r t e r D i e t r i c h E c k a r t i n 6 6 (In the midst of all the confusion and uncertainty which dominates the current economic, political and social situation....a way out of the misery does seem to be promised, either through a new social and educational program or through a newly emerging ideological movement.) Goertz, p.64. See Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," pp.41-43 for similar anti-Weimar sentiments, as well as anti-Bolshevik comments made by Mennonite pastors and laity alike. 6 7 Interview of Horst Gerlach by Author, 8 June, 2000 (Weierhof, Germany). 6 8 John Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the Churches (Vancouver, 1997), p.26. 6 9 "Bormann's Circular on the Relationship of National Socialism and Christianity," in Conway, p.383. 7 0 John Thiesen, Mennonite and Nazi? (Kitchener, 1999). p. 28-29. 19 1924, H i t l e r w r o t e , " b y t h e i r f r u i t s y e s h a l l k n o w t h e m , P u r i t a n s , A n a b a p t i s t s , J e h o v a h ' s W i t n e s s e s , t h o s e a r e t h e j u i c i e s t o n e s . I n e a c h o f t h e m sits t h e J e w i s h m a g g o t . " 7 1 W h a t s e e m e d o b v i o u s t o t h e N a z i l e a d e r e l u d e d m o s t C h r i s t i a n s i n G e r m a n y , i n c l u d i n g the M e n n o n i t e s . H i t l e r ' s p r o p h e t i c c o u n t e r p a r t c a n b e f o u n d i n P a l a t i n a t e M e n n o n i t e E t h e l b e r t S t a u f f e r . I n h i s 1933 p u b l i c a t i o n , Tdufertum und Martyrertheologie,72 S t a u f f e r e n t r e n c h e d f u r t h e r t h e t h e o l o g y o f m a r t y r d o m c h r o n i c l e d b y v a n B r a g h t . I n i t , S t a u f f e r a r g u e s that t h e M e n n o n i t e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h n o n r e s i s t a n c e w a s t o b e u n d e r s t o o d i n a n a p o c a l y p t i c sense , c l a i m i n g that " S a t a n w i l l b e o v e r c o m e o n l y b y . . . n o n r e s i s t a n t s u f f e r i n g . . . w h i c h w o u l d s e r v e a v e r y g r e a t p u r p o s e . . . i n u s h e r i n g i n a n e w a e o n . " 7 3 A p p e a l i n g t o e x a m p l e s o f the e a r l y A n a b a p t i s t s , S t a u f f e r c o n c l u d e d that the A n a b a p t i s t t h e o l o g y o f m a r t y r d o m w o u l d n o t a l l o w f o r a retreat i n t o i n w a r d r e l i g i o n a n d p u r e s p i r i t u a l i s m , b u t w o u l d r e q u i r e " t h e t e s t i m o n y o f t h e o l o g i c a l r e a l i s m t o w h i c h G o d is m o r e r e a l t h a n a n y t h i n g c a l l e d w o r l d . . . a s m a r t y r d o m is a c t u a l l y v i c t o r y o v e r t h e v i c t o r . " 7 4 I n shor t , th is t h e o l o g y o f m a r t y r d o m s e r v e d as a t h e o l o g y o f h i s t o r y , w i t h a " f i n a l d i r e c t i v e t o w a r d t h e n a r r o w p a t h o f r e n o u n c i n g t h e w o r l d a n d a c c e p t i n g c o n f l i c t s a n d d e a t h , i f n e e d b e . " 7 5 S t a u f f e r ' s t h e o l o g i c a l r e f l e c t i o n d i d n o t f i n d fer t i le s p i r i t u a l g r o u n d a m o n g the l e a d i n g f i g u r e s i n the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e Vereinigung, w h o w e r e e a g e r t o s t ress t h e a n t i t h e s i s t o h i s w o r k . T h e c o n f e r e n c e ' s o f f i c i a l p o s i t i o n v i s - a - v i s the n e w r e g i m e w a s d r a f t e d i n a t e l e g r a m that w a s sent t o H i t l e r i n S e p t e m b e r 1933 . It r e a d : 7 1 Ernst Nolte, Three Faces of Fascism (New York, 1966), p.331, quoted in Thiesen, p.29. Thiesen asserts that Hitler condemned pacifists, as he connected them with international socialism, p.29. 7 2 This article appeared in Zeitschrift fur Kirchengeschichte 3 (1933), pp.545-598, and was translated into English: Ethelbert Stauffer, "The Anabaptist Theology of Martyrdom," in Mennonite Quarterly Review 19 (1945), pp. 179-214. _ 7 3 Stauffer, p.204. 7 4 Stauffer, p.205. 7 5 Robert Friedmann, "Theology of Martyrdom" in Bender and Smith, Volume III, p.520. 20 Die heute zu Tiegenhagen im Freistaate Danzig tagende Konferenz der Ost und Westpreussischen Mennoniten empfindet mit dieser Dankbarkeit die gewaltige Erhebung, die Gott durch Ihre Tatkraft unserem Volk geschenkt hat und geiobt auch ihrerseits freudige Mitarbeit am Aufbau unseres Vaterlandes aus den Kraften des Evangeliums heraus, getreu dem Wahlspruch unserer Vater: Einen andera Grund kann niemand legen ausser dem, der gelegt ist, welcher ist Jesus Christus.76 H i t l e r r e p l i e d : Fur die mir in Direr Zuschrift zum Ausdruck gebrachte treue Gesinnung und Dire Bereitwilligkeit, am Aufbau des Deutschen Reiches mitzuarbeiten spreche ich flinen meinen aufrichtigen Dank aus.7' E v i d e n t l y , b y 1933 b o t h the G e r m a n n a t i o n a l m y t h a n d the M e n n o n i t e m a r t y r o l o g i c a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f its l e g e n d a r y p a s t w e r e r e - m o l d e d a n d a d a p t e d t o l i f e i n c o n t e m p o r a r y G e r m a n y , as b o t h m a d e u s e o f " o l d m o d e l s f o r n e w p u r p o s e s . " 7 8 O n 9 A p r i l , 1933 , the N a z i s l a i d c l a i m to the K y f f h a u s e r m o n u m e n t , the l e g a c y , a n d theReichskr iegerbund . 7 9 M o s t M e n n o n i t e s , b y t h i s da te , h a d a l i g n e d t h e m s e l v e s w i t h the N a z i m o v e m e n t l a r g e l y b e c a u s e o f t h e i r p e r c e i v e d v i c t i m i z a t i o n u n d e r the V e r s a i l l e s se t t lement , a n d d u e to t h e a n t i - B o l s h e v i s t s e n t i m e n t e m a n a t i n g f r o m the m a r t y r d o m o f t h e i r b r o t h e r s i n R u s s i a . W i t h t h e l o s s o f G e r m a n t e r r i t o r y af ter W o r l d W a r O n e , c i r c u m s t a n c e o n c e a g a i n w a r r a n t e d t h e r e - e m e r g e n c e o f R e d b e a r d i n o r d e r to c o m p l e t e t h e t a s k o f u n i t i n g a l l Volksdeutsche i n t h e G e r m a n R e i c h -i n c l u d i n g the M e n n o n i t e s i n h a b i t i n g P r u s s i a n te r r i tor ies o n t h e e a s t e r n s i d e o f the " P o l i s h (The conference of the East and West Prussian Mennonites meeting today in Tiegenhagen in the Free State of Danzig is grateful for the great uplift which God has given our people through your strength of will and also pledges its enthusiastic willingness to cooperate with the building of our Fatherland with the strength of the Gospel, true to the motto of our Fathers: on other ground can no man lay a foundation than Jesus Christ). Emil Haendiges, "Bericht uber die 4. Allgemeine Westpreussen Konferenz in Tiegenhagen am 10. September 1933" in Mennonitische Blatter October (1933), p. 101. 7 7 (The content of your letter reveals true loyalty to me and your readiness for the cooperation with the construction of the German Reich, and I extend my sincere thanks). Ibid. 7 8 Hobsbawm "Inventions of Traditions" p.5. The Free State of Danzig, while administered by the League of Nations, held free elections. The Nazis gained a great following in the city and its environs in the 1930s, as well as in West Prussia. See John Brown Mason, The Danzig Dilemma: A Study in Peacemaking by Compromise (Oxford, 1946), pp.61-76 7 9 The Reichskriegerbund was the successor of the LandeskriegerverbQnde. See Karl Fuhrer's "Der Deutsche Reichskriegerbund Kyffhauser 1930-1934: Politik, Ideologic und Funktion eines 'unpolitischen' Verbandes" in Milit&rgeschichtliche Mitteilungen, 2:36 (1984), pp.57-76 for an excellent account of how - the non-partisan Reichskriegerbund came to fall under the control of the National Socialists. To the 21 C o r r i d o r , " w h o s e y e a r n i n g f o r l a n d h o l d i n g r e f o r m s a n d n e w m a r k e t s f o r t h e i r c r o p s h a d b e e n r e a l i z e d u n d e r N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s m . M e n n o n i t e f a r m e r s o f D a n z i g w e r e a b l e t o s e l l t h e i r c r o p s i n G e r m a n m a r k e t s a n d g a i n h i g h e r p r i c e s f o r t h e i r f a r m i n g p r o d u c t s . 8 0 M a n y e x p e r i e n c e d f a r m e r s w e r e a l s o s p a r e d b o t h t h e l o s s o f t h e i r f a r m a n d the b u r d e n o f p a y i n g h i g h rates o n f a r m m o r t g a g e s . S i e g f r i e d B a r t e l e x p l a i n s : This is the main question that I am getting: 'how could it happen, that Mennonites accepted Hitler's regime?' And I think there you have to realize that in west Prussia, at least 80% were farmers. And in tire dirty 30s, they were losing their farms left and right. And then came Hitler, and on the very first day, not one farmer had to leave their farm anymore. A commission was set up, and said, "show me your debts." The commission would analyze each farmer's situation and then say, 'you can only pay so 81 much' and the rest of the debt was wiped out by law. T h e s y n t h e s i s o f the t w o l e g e n d s c a n best b e s e e n i n the n u m e r o u s n a t i o n a l i s t letters a n d a r t i c l e s w r i t t e n b y p r o f e s s i o n a l p a s t o r s o f the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e c o n g r e g a t i o n s , 8 2 w h i c h w e r e p r i n t e d i n the Vereinigung's n e w s p a p e r , the Mennonitische Blatter. The Blatter, e d i t e d b y E m i l H a e n d i g e s , p r i n t e d a n a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d Mennonit und Wehrwille i n M a y , 1934 , the c o n c l u s i o n to w h i c h r e a d s : Der Christ wird dieser Pflicht gem geniigen. Denn sie ist eine christliche Pflicht... Wir miissen als Christen und Mennoniten die Waffe tragen, nicht, weil uns eine bose Obrigkeit dazu zwingt...sondern weil wir als diesseitsbejahende Christen unser Volk lieben. T h e a r t i c l e c o n t i n u e s , q u o t i n g H i t l e r : chagrin of many in the association, new 'black ravens' (SS) were circling about the monument after 9 April, 1933, and installed a memorial to those who had died in the Hitler movement. 8 0 Haendiges, "Catastrophe," p. 125. 8 1 Interview of Siegfried Bartel. Diether Goetz Lichdi explains that, after the Nazi seizure of power, "Die rasche unszenierte 'Brechung der Zinknechtschaft und das Erbhofgesetz - Hdhepunkte der 'Blut und Boden' Politik - kamen auch den mennonitischen Bauern zugute." (The immediate breaking of the tenancy landholding system, and the laws of land inheritance - high points of the' bloods and soil1 politics - also benefited Mennonite fanners), Diether Goetz Lichdi, Uber Zurich und Witmarsum nach Addis Ababa. Die Mennoniten in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Maxdorf, 1983), p. 162 8 2 As mentioned above, lay-pastoring had been superceded by university-trained pastors in the nineteenth century. Most were between 21-34 years of age, and exuded the tendency among the youth to get caught up in nationalist interpretations of God and nation. Many, naturally, adapted the Lutheran interpretation of Romans 13, and submitted the church to the state. Diether Goetz Lichdi,. "Romer 13 und das Staatsverstadnis der Mennoniten um 1933" in Mennonitische Geschichtsblatter 32 (1980), pp.77-78. 22 Heldische Tugenden sind die Erhaltungskraft unseres V d l k e s . 8 3 T h e J u n e , 1 9 3 4 e d i t i o n e x p o u n d e d o n t h e n e w c o n s t i t u t i o n o f t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e c h u r c h : In der neuen Verfassung, die sich die Vereinigung der Deutschen Mennonitengemeinden 84 a m 11. Juni 1934 gegeben hat, ist das Prinzip der Wehrlosigkeit aufgegeben T h e s e u n s o l i c i t e d a t t e m p t s to a l i g n t h e M e n n o n i t e s p o s i t i v e l y w i t h t h e N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s t r e g i m e , it is s i g n i f i c a n t to n o t e , w e r e p r i n t e d before the a n n o u n c e m e n t o f G e r m a n p l a n s f o r r e a r m a m e n t a n d u n i v e r s a l c o n s c r i p t i o n i n 1935 . P e r h a p s the e p i s o d e that m o s t e f f e c t i v e l y r e v e a l e d t h e a t t i t u d e s o f t h e M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y t o w a r d t h e i r h i s t o r y a n d t h e n e w r e g i m e w a s f o u n d i n t h e Vereinigung's r e s p o n s e to t h e d i s s o l u t i o n o f a H u t t e r i t e c o l o n y , a n d d e p o r t a t i o n o f its m e m b e r s f r o m G e r m a n y i n 1936 . A f t e r a S w i s s n e w s p a p e r , the Basler Nachrichten, p r i n t e d a n a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Deutsche Mennoniten ausgewiesenf the h e a d p a s t o r s o f the Vereinigung a n d t h e s o u t h G e r m a n M e n n o n i t e Verbandjoined i n p u b l i s h i n g "eine notwendige Berichtigung." T h e a r t i c l e r e v e a l e d the i n s e c u r i t y that the M e n n o n i t e s h a d d e v e l o p e d t h r o u g h c e n t u r i e s o f m a r g i n a l i z a t i o n a n d d e p o r t a t i o n i n E u r o p e , a n d t h e i r d e s i r e t o d i f f e r e n t i a t e a n d d i s a s s o c i a t e t h e m s e l v e s f r o m the H u t t e r i t e s , w h o h a d f a l l e n i n t o d i s r e p u t e w i t h t h e N a z i s f o r t h e i r " B o l s h e v i k - l i k e " c o m m u n a l l i v i n g a n d t h e i r n o n r e s i s t a n t s t a n c e . T h e a r t i c l e b o l d l y s ta ted : D i e Bruderhofer gehorten weder der Vereinigung der Deutschen Mennonitengemeinden noch einem anderen Verband unserer deutschen mennonitischen Freikirche a n . 8 5 (The Christian would agree to tins duty, for it is a Christian duty... we must as Christians and Mennonites take arms, not because a wicked authority forces us to... but as Christians living in the world we love the German people [and quotes Hitler]: heroic virtue is the strong preservation of our people). Dirk Cattepoel, "Mennonit und Wehrwille" mMennonitische Blatter, May (1934), p.44. 8 4 (Under the new conditions, as of 11 June, 1934, the German Mennonite Conferences have given up the principle of nonresistance). Neff, C , Haendiges, E. , Braun, A , "Vereinigung der Deutschen Mennonitengemeinden: Eine notwendige Berichtigung" mMennonitische Blatter, June (1937), p.6. 8 5 (The Bruderhofer belonged neither to the Union of German Mennonites, nor to any other organization of our German Mennonite Free Church). Neff, Haendiges and Braun, p.72. Also, see Lichti, "The Mennonite Response," pp. 10-17. 23 W h i l e c o m p l y i n g w i t h the n e w r e g i m e , the M e n n o n i t e s d i d d i s p l a y g r e a t c o n c e r n o v e r the p r e s e r v a t i o n o f t h e i r . i n s t i t u t i o n s . G e n e r a l l y , the Vereinigung w a s p l e a s e d w i t h t h e o f f i c i a l g o v e r n m e n t e n d o r s e m e n t o f " p o s i t i v e C h r i s t i a n i t y , " o n l y o p p o s i n g t h e o f f i c i a l a t t e m p t s to i m p o s e the Gleichschaltung p r i n c i p l e o n a l l G e r m a n C h u r c h e s u n d e r ReichsbischofLudw'ig M u l l e r , w h o m H i t l e r a p p o i n t e d i n 1933 . I n A u g u s t , 1933 , D a n z i g p a s t o r E r i c h G d t t n e r e x p r e s s e d t h e M e n n o n i t e s t a n c e v i s - a - v i s t h e Deutsche Christen - a sec t o f n a t i o n a l i s t , r a c i a l i s t P r o t e s t a n t s that o r i g i n a l l y e m e r g e d i n T h u r i n g i a a n d B e r l i n i n t h e la te 1920s . W h i l e n o t w a n t i n g t o agi ta te the g r o u p , w h i c h o r i g i n a l l y f o u n d f a v o r w i t h t h e N a z i s , the M e n n o n i t e s w e r e not , at the s a m e t i m e , w i l l i n g t o t h r o w t h e i r lo t i n w i t h t h e m . M e n n o n i t e r e s p o n s e to a l e c t u r e g i v e n b y Deutsche Christen p a s t o r K u p t s c h ( o f R i e s e n b u r g , P r u s s i a ) e n t i t l e d "Vom Dritten Reich zur Dritten Kirche," w a s p r i n t e d i n the Blatter i n S e p t e m b e r , 1933 . A b o l d s e c t i o n h i g h l i g h t e d i n t h e m i d d l e o f t h e a r t i c l e r e a d : "Hande weg vom Deutschen Freikirchentum! Hande weg vom Deutschen Mennonitentum."86 S i m i l a r l y , E m i l H a e n d i g e s r e i n f o r c e d t h e M e n n o n i t e s t a n c e a g a i n s t t h e m o v e m e n t af ter Deutsche Christen m e m b e r R e i n h o l d K r a u s e ' s s c a n d a l o u s s e r m o n at t h e B e r l i n S p o r t s p a l a c e i n 1 9 3 3 , i n w h i c h K r a u s e a t t a c k e d the O l d T e s t a m e n t a n d t h e J e w i s h r o o t s o f C h r i s t i a n i t y . 8 7 W h i l e w a n t i n g to a d a p t to p r e s e n t t r e n d s i n c o o r d i n a t i o n o f i n s t i t u t i o n s - m i n u s t h e c r e a t i o n o f a Reichskirche - the (Hands off our German free-church tradition; hands off our German Mennonite tradition). Emil Haendiges, "Zur Kirchenfrage der Mennoniten" in Mennonitische Blatter, September (1933), p.86. This was in response to Kuptsch's statement that, "Die verschiedenen Sekten und Kirchengemeinschaften muBen beseitigt werden, um Platz fur die Glaubensgemeinschaft zu erhalten!" (Different sects and church communities must be eliminated in order to make room for the for the development of the belief community) printed in the Elbinger Zeitung, 11 August, 1933. 8 7 Doris Bergen, Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third 7?e/'c//. (Chapel Hill , 1996), p. 17. Emil Haendiges wrote: "Wie berechtigt unsere Zuruckhaltung gegeniiber den Deutsche Christen gewesen ist, haben die traurigen Vorgange in der von den Deutsche Christen abgehaltenen Versammlung im Sportpalast zu Berlin am 13/11/33 in erschreckender Weise offenbart. Es bleibt betrublich, wie es zu solchen Kundgebungen uberhaupt hat kommen konnen." (We restrained ourselves in our relations with the _ German Christians, up to their sad and frightening meeting in the sport palace in Berlin on 13/11/33. It 24 Vereinigung p r o p o s e d t h e n o t i o n o f u n i t i n g a l l G e r m a n M e n n o n i t e s i n t h e "Deutsche Mennonitische Gemeindekirche.,,u A f t e r p a s t o r s d r a f t e d a "Grofie Bekenntnis," p u b l i s h e d i n t h e Verband's Gemeindeblatt der Mennoniten i n 1 9 3 4 , 8 9 the e n t e r p r i s e u l t i m a t e l y f a i l e d , p a r t i c u l a r l y as t h e m o r e c o n s e r v a t i v e Verband f o u n d s i g n i f i c a n t i n c o n g r u i t y w i t h the t h e o l o g i c a l v i e w s o f t h e Vereinigung. T h e s e t h e o l o g i c a l d i f f e r e n c e s , h o w e v e r , d i d n o t h i n d e r t h e Vereinigung's m a n d a t e to p r o t e c t t h e i r c h e r i s h e d f ree c h u r c h t r a d i t i o n s . L i k e t h e i r G e r m a n P r o t e s t a n t b r e t h r e n i n the C o n f e s s i n g C h u r c h 9 0 - w h o h a d e s t a b l i s h e d t h e m s e l v e s s o l e l y i n o p p o s i t i o n to t h e t h e o l o g i c a l d i s t o r t i o n s o f t h e Deutsche Christen a n d N a z i i n t e n t i o n s o f a Gleichschaltung o f C h r i s t i a n c h u r c h e s - t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s h a v e b e e n w r o n g l y c r e d i t e d w i t h r e s i s t i n g t h e N a z i s . H a n s - J i i r g e n G o e r t z e x p l a i n s . Der Widerstand gegen die Deutschen Christen nahrte in den westpreussischen Mennoniten offensichtlich die Illusion, dem Erbe der Vater, der Trennung von Kirche und Staate, auch unter den Bedingungen des nationalsozialistischen Regimes treu bleiben zu konnen, ohne 91 mit diesem zu kollidieren. H o r s t G e r l a c h a d d s that , w h i l e the M e n n o n i t e s s h a r e d s i m i l a r d o c t r i n a l c o n c e r n s w i t h the C o n f e s s i n g C h u r c h , t h e y a c t u a l l y e n d e d u p " f i g h t i n g the P r o t e s t a n t C h u r c h , [ ra ther t h a n ] the remains troublesome that they are able to hold these demonstrations.) Emil Haendiges, "Zur Kirchenfrage der Mennoniten" in Mennonitische Blatter, December (1933), p. l 14. 8 8 Hans-Jiirgen Goertz, "Nationale Erhebung und religioser Niedergang" in Mennonitische Geschichtsblatter 26 (1974), p,68. The union did not take place, according to Ernst Crous, due to theological disagreements between the Vereinigung and the Verband. Some congregations were rationalist, others Pietist. Crous "Vereinigung" in Bender and Smith, Volume IV, p.812. Crous, "Germany," in Bender and Smith, Volume II, p. 486. 8 9 See "Die bevorstehende Vereinigung aller Mennonitengemeinden im Deutschen Reich" in Gemeindeblatt der Mennoniten, February (1934), pp. 12-13. 9 0 The Bekennende Kirche, led by Karl Barth and Martin Niemoller, drafted the six-point Barmen Declaration in 1934. The Confessing Church and the Declaration were created in order to counter the new theological distortions of the Deutsche Christen through upholding traditional Protestant interpretations of the Bible. See Hubert Locke (ed.) The Church Confronts the Nazi: Barmen Then and Now (New York, 1984), pp. 19-25. Mennonite ministers Crous, Haendiges, Hege, Fellmann and Quiring all made contact with the Confessing Church. Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," pp.85-87. 9 1 (The resistance against the German Christians fed the illusion, that the West Prussian Mennonite legacy of separation of church and state was faithfully maintained under the National Socialist regime).Goertz, p.74. 25 N a z i s , " as t h e i r p o l i t i c a l v i e w s w e r e m u c h m o r e c o n s e r v a t i v e " t h a n t h o s e o f B a r t h a n d the o t h e r s . " 9 2 E s s e n t i a l l y , b o t h G o e r t z a n d G e r l a c h assert that t h e M e n n o n i t e s f a i l e d to m a i n t a i n t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l t w o - k i n g d o m t h e o l o g y , a n d f o u n d t h e m s e l v e s i n a c o m p r o m i s i n g s i t u a t i o n as a l e g i t i m a t e f r e e c h u r c h , p o s i t i o n i n g t h e m s e l v e s p o l i t i c a l l y a n d t h e o l o g i c a l l y s o m e w h e r e b e t w e e n the e s t a b l i s h e d Landeskirchen a n d the Deutsche Christen - w h i c h , i r o n i c a l l y , s e r v e d to w o r s e n t h e v e r y p r o b l e m o f i s o l a t i o n t h e y d e s i r e d to l e s s e n . In the a t t e m p t s to s t r e n g t h e n the s e n s e o f c o m m u n i t y , M e n n o n i t e s e s t a b l i s h e d a Deutscher Mennonitentag, a d a y o n w h i c h M e n n o n i t e s n a t i o n - w i d e w o u l d g a t h e r a n n u a l l y , a n d d i d s o d u r i n g 1 9 3 5 - 1 9 4 0 . 9 3 L i k e t h e i r G e r m a n n e i g h b o r s , M e n n o n i t e s c o n s i d e r e d y o u t h as a c e n t r a l c o m p o n e n t o f b o t h c o m m u n i t y a n d n a t i o n . G r o w i n g o u t o f y o u t h g r o u p s e s t a b l i s h e d i n the 1920s , M e n n o n i t e y o u t h g r o u p s , c a l l e d the Jugendwart, w e r e e s t a b l i s h e d u n d e r the l e a d e r s h i p o f E r n s t F e l l m a n n i n 1935 i n o r d e r to c o u n t e r the i n f l u e n c e o f the H i t l e r Y o u t h o n y o u n g p e o p l e 9 4 - a n d f o r g o o d r e a s o n , as H i t l e r h e l d v i e w s s u c h as t h o s e h e e x p r e s s e d i n 1 9 4 1 : " I c a n ' t b r e a k the C h u r c h o v e r [ m y ] k n e e . It has to b e lef t to rot l i k e a g a n g r e n o u s l i m b . . . b u t the h e a l t h y y o u t h b e l o n g to u s . " 9 5 T h e Jugendwart p u b l i s h e d a n e w s p a p e r , Die Mennonitische Jugendwarte, i n w h i c h the M e n n o n i t e y o u t h c o m m o n l y p r i n t e d r e s e r v e d c r i t i c i s m s o f p o l i t i c a l a n d s o c i a l l i f e i n G e r m a n y . 9 6 L i k e the Vereinigung's r e a c t i o n to the t h e o l o g y o f the Deutsche Christen, F e l l m a n n w a s p r i m a r i l y c o n c e r n e d that the Interview of Horst Gerlach. 9 3 Diether Goetz Lichdi, "National Socialism," in Cornelius Dyck and Dennis Martin {eds.) Mennonite Encyclopedia (Scottsdale, 1990), Volume V, p.617. 9 4 Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," P-168. 9 5 Adolf Hitler, Table Talk A. Bullock (ed.) (London, 1953), entry for 13 December 1941, in Conway, p. 15. 9 6 Diether Goetz Lichdi explains: "Die MJW (Mennonitische Jugendwart) beschaftigt sich 1932 bis 1935 intensiv mitden Zetifragen. Die Sprache ist ruhig und massvoll, (During 1932-1935, die M J W was intensively occupied with the questions of the day. The language was calm and moderate), "Dritten Reich," p.36. Also, a group of young adults formed a Rundbrief-Gemeinschaft which was used to question and discuss issues of faith, nonresistance and National Socialist ideology (which was discontinued by the Gestapo in 1937). 26 M e n n o n i t e y o u t h w o u l d n o t b e l e d a s t r a y b y the "Irrungen und Wirrungen der Zeif a n d e n c o u r a g e d t h e m to r e m a i n s t r o n g i n the s t r u g g l e f o r " r i g h t b e l i e f . " 9 7 T h e r e f o r e , w i t h t h e M e n n o n i t e s h a v i n g s u c c e s s f u l l y s t a v e d o f f a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h t h e H u t t e r i t e s , t h e Gleichschaltung o f t h e G e r m a n c h u r c h e s a n d the f a i l e d a t t e m p t t o c o o r d i n a t e a l l M e n n o n i t e c h u r c h e s i n o n e d e n o m i n a t i o n , t h e y a c c o m p l i s h e d w h a t J a m e s L i c h t i h a s r i g h t l y e m p h a s i z e d as the p r i m a r y g o a l o f t h e m a j o r i t y : " [ t o resist ] g o v e r n m e n t c o o r d i n a t i o n a n d [to m a i n t a i n ] i n s t i t u t i o n a l a u t o n o m y . " 9 8 D u r i n g 1 9 3 3 - 1 9 4 5 , M e n n o n i t e c o n g r e g a t i o n a l l i f e c o n t i n u e d i n its a c c u s t o m e d m a n n e r 9 9 a n d e n j o y e d the t o l e r a t i o n o f t h e N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s t g o v e r n m e n t . A r e a s o n f o r this c a n b e a t t r i b u t e d to t h e M e n n o n i t e s h a v i n g f o u n d f a v o r i n t h e e y e s o f A d o l f H i t l e r a n d Reichsfuhrer o f t h e S S H e i n r i c h H i m m l e r . H o r s t G e r l a c h e x p l a i n s that , a f ter m e e t i n g w i t h Landrat W a l t e r N e u f e l d t , H i t l e r e x c l a i m e d : " F u t u r e f o u n d e r s o f r e l i g i o n s s h o u l d t a k e M e n n o n i t e t rai ts as e x a m p l e s ! " 1 0 0 H i m m l e r w a s s i m i l a r l y i m p r e s s e d w i t h t h e M e n n o n i t e s , a n d a c t u a l l y b r o u g h t g r e e t i n g s to B e n j a m i n U n r u h i n P r u s s i a f r o m t h e M e n n o n i t e s h e h a d v i s i t e d w h i l e i n f o r m e r R u s s i a n t e r r i t o r i e s . 1 0 1 H o r s t G e r l a c h c o n c l u d e s : " b a s i c a l l y i f m o s t o f t h o s e 9 7 Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p.36. 9 8 Lichti, "Mennonite Response," p. 16. 9 9 "Worship services were held with nearly full attendance, communion was celebrated; younger sisters and brothers were taken in to the congregation through baptism and deacons, preachers and elders were elected and consecrated for their respective tasks." Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," pp. 114-117. 1 0 0 Horst Gerlach, "The Final Years of Mennonites in East and West Prussia 1943-45" in Mennonite Quarterly Review April (1992), p.240. 1 0 1 After his visit to Ukraine in 1942, Himmler told Unruh:'ich bin in der Ukraine gewesen und habe mir die Leute dort angesehen. Ihre Mennoniten jedoch sind die Besten." (I was in the Ukraine and visited the people there. Their Mennonites, however, were the best ones). Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 141. Lichdi asserts: "es wird deutlich daft Benjamin Unruh als Vertreter der russlandischen Gemeinden auftrat, aber zugleich damit auch die Anliegen der Gemeinden im Reich vertreten hat" (it becomes clear that Benjamin Unrau served as deputy of the Russian community, but at the same time thereby also served as their representative to the German Reich), Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 141. Unruh saw Hitler as having had a —positive relationship with Germany. In 1938, he stated that Hitler was "als ein deutscher Wilhelm von Oranien, Wilhelm Tell und als ein Washington erscheinen." (Hitler appeared as a German William of Orange, William Tell and as a Washington), Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 141. Himmler had a part in 27 w h o w e r e i n h i g h e r p o s i t i o n s w e r e o n t h e i r s i d e , it is l o g i c a l that t h e y d i d n o t s u f f e r 109 p e r s e c u t i o n . " r O f f i c i a l l y , the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s e n c o u r a g e d p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s w i t h t h e R e i c h g o v e r n m e n t , a n d o f f i c i a l l y e x p r e s s e d t h e i r s u p p o r t f o r the r e g i m e . I n 1 9 4 0 , t h e W e s t P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e C o n f e r e n c e d e c l a r e d that "Die Konferenz wird nichts tun, was den Anschein eines Hauches gegen die Politik unseres Fiihrers enthdlt."103 S o m e , h o w e v e r , w e r e u n c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h N a z i r a c i a l p o l i t i c s . L a d e k o p p ' s M e n n o n i t e m i n i s t e r , G e r h a r d T h i e s s e n , p r e a c h e d a s e r m o n that w a s v e r y c r i t i c a l o f the g o v e r n m e n t i n 193 7 . 1 0 4 S i m i l a r l y , C h r i s t i a n N e f f , l e a d e r o f the s o u t h G e r m a n M e n n o n i t e Verband, h a d b e c a m e w a r y o f t h e N a z i r e g i m e b y 1937 , d e c l a r i n g i n a let ter to E m i l H a e n d i g e s : "Ich sehe sehr skeptisch in die Zukunft"i05 D a n z i g ' s m i n i s t e r , E r i c h G o t t n e r , c o n s i d e r e d N a z i r a c i s m as "ddmonisch"i06 a n d w a r n e d a g a i n s t the a n t i s e m i t i c t e a c h i n g o f the N a z i s . M o s t M e n n o n i t e s d i d n o t share the N a z i s ' a n t i s e m i t i c i d e o l o g y a n d e n j o y e d p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h the J e w s o f W e s t P r u s s i a , w h o w e r e p r i m a r i l y d o c t o r s , l a w y e r s , a n d m e r c h a n t s . M a n y M e n n o n i t e s w e r e d e e p l y c o n c e r n e d o v e r t h e p l i g h t o f t h e J e w s i n G e r m a n y , w e r e a l a r m e d w h e n N a z i r a c i s m t u r n e d v i o l e n t , a n d m a d e c o n s i d e r a b l e e f f o r t s t o ass is t J e w i s h p e o p l e w h e r e v e r p o s s i b l e . D i e t h e r G o e t z L i c h d i asser ts that "die Reichskristallnacht hat vielen Mennoniten die Augen geqffhet" I n d e e d , t h e r e a r e m a n y e x a m p l e s o f t h e o u t r a g e supplying the Ukrainian Mennonites with the means to flee their homes as the Russian army encroached on their homeland in 1943-1944. See Frank Epp, Mennonite Exodus (Altona, 1962). 1 0 2 Gerlach, "Final Years," p.241 1 0 3 (The conference will not do anything that gives even the faintest appearance of opposition to the policy of our leader), Goertz, p. 84. 1 0 4 Lichdi, "Addis Ababa," p. 164. 1 0 5 (I am very skeptical about the future), Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," P-97. 1 0 6 Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p.98. Gottner was already concerned about the political changes in Germany in — 1932. See Gottner, "Die volkische Religiositat in der Gegenwart" Mennonitische Blatter, May (1932), p. 12. 1 0 7 (Kristallnacht opened die eyes of Mennonites), Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 153. 28 that M e n n o n i t e s fe l t c o n c e r n i n g the e v e n t s o f 9 N o v e m b e r , 1 9 3 8 . M a n y h a d e s t a b l i s h e d g o o d w o r k i n g r e l a t i o n s w i t h t h e J e w s , a n d w e r e a n g e r e d b y t h e i r m i s t r e a t m e n t . L i c h d i asser ts that M e n n o n i t e s h e l p e d t h e J e w s , a l b e i t s o m e m o r e t h a n o t h e r s . A d o l f H a h n , f o r e x a m p l e , h a d j u s t b e c o m e B i i r g e r m e i s t e r o f A l b i s h e i m i n 1938 . W h e n h e a t t e m p t e d t o s t o p t h e l o o t i n g a n d d e s t r u c t i o n o f J e w i s h b u s i n e s s e s that n i g h t , the rac is t t h u g s t u r n e d to h i m a n d b e l l o w e d : "Much, dafi du heimkommst, sonst kommen wir noch zu dir."108 H a h n r e t u r n e d h o m e , a n d r I f o u n d t w o J e w i s h w o m e n w h o h a d c o m e to h i m f o r p r o t e c t i o n f r o m t h e a n g r y m o b . H e f o u n d a h o m e f o r t h e m , a n d s t a t i o n e d a n a r m e d g u a r d o u t s i d e o f t h e i r h o m e f o r p r o t e c t i o n . 1 0 9 A m o n g m a n y o t h e r s i m i l a r a c c o u n t s is that o f Landrat W a l t e r N e u f e l d t w h o , l i k e m a n y P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s , a c q u i r e d J e w i s h i n m a t e s f r o m S t u t t h o f c o n c e n t r a t i o n c a m p to w o r k o n h i s f a r m . A c c o r d i n g to H o r s t G e r l a c h , these p r i s o n e r s w e r e a b l e t o w o r k w i t h o u t g u a r d s , a n d w e r e a l l o w e d to eat d i n n e r s p r o v i d e d b y t h e i r M e n n o n i t e h o s t s . 1 1 0 W h i l e n o t d e v i a t i n g from t r a d i t i o n a l P r o t e s t a n t t h e o l o g y p e r t a i n i n g t o the J e w s , 1 1 1 o r p r o v i d i n g s i g n i f i c a n t p r o t e s t o r r e s i s t a n c e to the N a z i s ' a n t i s e m i t i c m e a s u r e s , 1 1 2 the M e n n o n i t e s d i d o f f e r a s s i s t a n c e t o the (You had better return home, or we will come to your house!), Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 153. 1 0 9 See Diether Goetz Lichdi "Dritten Reich" pp. 149-158 for numerous examples of Mennonite people that abhorred the ill-treatment of Jews during the Nazi era. 1 1 0 See Diether Goetz Lichdi "Dritten Reich" pp.240-246 for numerous examples of Mennonites who hosted Jewish workers that were imprisoned in Stutthof. 1 1 1 The Gemeindeblatt der Mennoniten printed theological reflections on the Jews during 1933-1937. In March, 1937, the article "Das auserwahlte Volk" appeared in which the author claimed: "Die Juden sind jetzt in keiner Weise mehr das 'auserwahlte Volk.' Gott hat sie einst fur einen ganz bestimmten geschichtlichen Beruf auserwahlt. Aber dieser Beruf ist langst erfullt." (The Jews are no longer the chosen race of God. At one time, God had chosen them for a specific historical purpose. But that purpose has long since been fulfilled), Gemeindeblatt der Mennoniten, March (1937), p.23. 119 Hans-Jurgen Goertz explains how the Mennonites shared very similar concerns with the Confessing Church which did effectively address Nazi terrorization: "Wie schwierig es war, gegen die Verfolgungen im eigenen Lande zu protestieren, zeigt die zaghafte Zuriickhaltung der Bekennenden Kirche, die es offiziel kaum zu einem Protest gegen die Verfolgung von Juden, Soczialdemokraten und Kommunisten durch das Nazi-Regime brachte — (How difficult it was to protest against persecution in one's own country, the timid restraint of the Confessing Church offered no protest against the persecution of Jews, the social democrats and the communists), Goertz, p. 76. 29 J e w s . F o r t h e m o s t part , h o w e v e r , t h e y m a i n t a i n e d t h e i r f o c u s o n s u r v i v i n g - b o t h i n d i v i d u a l l y a n d c o m m u n a l l y - i n t h e T h i r d R e i c h . A f t e r G e r m a n r e m i l i t a r i z a t i o n a n d the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f u n i v e r s a l c o n s c r i p t i o n i n 1935 , the M e n n o n i t e s o f P r u s s i a o n c e a g a i n f a c e d the c h a l l e n g e s o f s e r v i n g i n t h e m i l i t a r y . N a z i a d m i n i s t r a t o r R e i n h a r d H e y d r i c h r e c o g n i z e d a n i n h e r e n t i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y b e t w e e n M e n n o n i t i s m a n d N a z i i d e o l o g y , a n d q u e s t i o n e d t h e a b i l i t y o f t h e M e n n o n i t e s to s e r v e as g o o d Weltanschauungskriegern. A w a k e n i n g o l d w o u n d s o f i n s e c u r i t y a m o n g the M e n n o n i t e p e o p l e , H e y d r i c h s ta ted that, b e c a u s e o f t h e i r f o c u s o n t h e "Gemeinschaft des Evangeliums" w i t h t h e i r "pazifistische und eidesgegenerische Einstellung" - ra ther t h a n f o c u s i n g o n t h e G e r m a n "Volksgemeinschaff - M e n n o n i t e s c o u l d n o t b e "gleichzeitig Angehdrige der SS-Sippengemeinschaft."113 C o n t r a r y t o H e y d r i c h ' s a c c u r a t e , y e t o u t d a t e d i n s i g h t s , s o m e M e n n o n i t e s d i d j o i n t h e S S 1 1 4 a n d n o t o n e a b l e -b o d i e d M e n n o n i t e m a n o f d r a f t a g e i n a l l o f G e r m a n y r e f u s e d c o n s c r i p t i o n . A s d i s c u s s e d a b o v e , t h i s w a s m a d e p o s s i b l e t h r o u g h t h e g r a d u a l p r o c e s s e s o f a s s i m i l a t i o n i n t o P r u s s i a n l i f e . P a s t o r K r a e m e r o f D a n z i g p u b l i s h e d a t i m e l y a n d t e l l i n g b o o k l e t i n 1 9 3 8 , t i t l e d "Wir und unsere Volksgemeinschaft." I n it, K r a e m e r e m p h a s i z e d : Der Bergpredigt... [ist fur die] Familie und gegenuber christlich Gesinnten geboten sein; eine Regel fur die Reiche dieser Welt, ihre Politik, ihre Selbstbehauptung ist es nicht. a n d s t r e s s e d : Das alte Volkslied behalt sein Recht, daC der Frommste nicht im Frieden bleiben kann, wenn es dem bosen Nachbarn nicht gefallL 1 1 5 1 1 3 ("Community of the gospel" with their "pacifist and oath-opposing position" - rather than focusing on the German "people's community" - Mennonites were "not at the same able to be members of the SS family). Friedrich Zipfel, Kirchenkampfin Deutschland 1933-1945 (Berlin, 1965) p.206. 1 , 4 Goertz, p. 62. 1 1 5 (The sermon on the mount [is for] the family and Christian-minded people and not for kingdoms and — their politics and self-assertion in this world [and stressed that] the old song is still true that the pious cannot remain in peace if a hostile neighbor is not willing). Kraemer, Wir und Unsere Volksgemeinschaft (Crefeld, 1938) p. 18. 30 F u e l l i n g t h e s e s h i f t s i n t h e t r a d i t i o n a l n o n r e s i s t a n t s t a n c e a m o n g M e n n o n i t e s w a s t h e i r d e s i r e , l i k e that o f M e n n o S i m o n s , to s e v e r t h e i r a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h t h e l e g a c y o f t h e M u n s t e r u p r i s i n g . A c c o r d i n g t o H o r s t G e r l a c h , th is a s s o c i a t i o n c o n t i n u e d t o a p p e a r i n e n c y c l o p e d i a s a n d i n G e r m a n u n i v e r s i t y c u r r i c u l a . " M y u n c l e w a s t o l d that t h e M e n n o n i t e s w e r e v e r y p e c u l i a r , " G e r l a c h r e c a l l s . " [ L a n d ] C h u r c h p a p e r s p u b l i s h e d d e r o g a t o r y a r t i c l e s a b o u t t h e M e n n o n i t e s , a s s o c i a t i n g t h e m w i t h t h e M u n s t e r i t e s , " w h i c h f r u s t r a t e d h i s u n c l e a n d E m i l H a e n d i g e s . 1 1 6 T h e r e f o r e , M e n n o n i t e s s h a r e d a d e s i r e to r e h a b i l i t a t e t h e Schwdrmer l e g a c y , a n d t o f e n d o f f t h e a s s o c i a t i o n o f M e n n o n i t e s w i t h "die Feigen" w h o w e r e , t r a d i t i o n a l l y , "vaterlandlos"111 W i t h t h e M e n n o n i t e s h a v i n g f u l l y a s s i m i l a t e d i n t o G e r m a n s o c i e t y a n d c u l t u r e , a n d w i t h the a b a n d o n m e n t o f n o n r e s i s t a n c e , the last v e s t i g e o f t r a d i t i o n a l M e n n o n i t e f a i t h - the i s s u e o f t h e o a t h - r e m a i n e d t o b e l e g a l l y r e s o l v e d . T h i s d i d i n d e e d t a k e p l a c e , as t h e W a r M i n i s t r y , i n l i n e w i t h t r a d i t i o n a l H o h e n z o l l e r n a g r e e m e n t s , g r a n t e d t h e M e n n o n i t e s the p r i v i l e g e o f s a y i n g "Ich gelobe" i n s t e a d o f "Ich schwdre" a f ter s i g n i n g a d e s i g n a t e d f o r m t o 118 the e f f e c t , a n d a c c e p t e d a h a n d s h a k e i n l i e u o f s w e a r i n g the o a t h (see F i g u r e s 2 a a n d 2 b ) . W i t h t h e i r m a i n c o n c e r n s a l l e v i a t e d , the M e n n o n i t e s j o i n e d t h e Wehrmacht a n d Luftwaffe i n g r e a t n u m b e r s . T h e Blatter c o n t i n u e d to p r i n t a r t i c l e s e x t o l l i n g t h e r e g i m e a n d p r a i s i n g G o d f o r G e r m a n p o l i t i c a l a n d m i l i t a r y v i c t o r i e s . A s s e e n a b o v e , t h e M e n n o n i t e s h a d g i v e n u p t h e i r p o s i t i o n o f n o n r e s i s t a n c e i n 1934. T h e Blatter c e l e b r a t e d t h e Anschlufi o f 1 1 6 Interview of Horst Gerlach. 1 , 7 Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p.65. 1 1 8 ("I pledge/vow" instead of "I swear"). Goertz, p.77. See Figures 2a and 2b for copies of the original form used by the East and West Prussian Mennonite communities. This form made it possible for Mennonite men of draft age to sign up for this privilege prior to their arrival at the recruitment office. - A l s o , see Haendiges, "Catastrophe," p. 126. Ernst Helmreich explains how Martin Bormann was more concerned about the issue of the oath, and did not resolve his disapproval of the exemption until 1938. Helmreich, p. 3 82. 31 Austria in its April 1938 edition and, in March 1939, ran an article encouraging Mennonites to "Lay their life down for their friends." The newspaper also dutifully commemorated Hitler's fiftieth birthday with an article in May, 1939. Horst Penner explains the development of a historical sentiment in Prussia, connecting the heroes of the Teutonic Knights in the Jungdeutschen Orden. He explains: diese spaten Nachfahren des Ordens hatten nur ein Ziel: Die Rtickkehr ins deutsche Vaterland. In Aufinarschen in iliren graugriinen Windjacken warben sie fur ihr Ziel.. .da sah man audi manches 119 mennonitische Gesicht unter den Marschierern. Marianne Regehr, who lived in Ladekopp as a girl in 1939, recalls how the Mennonites longed to be re-united with Germany, and spoke of Heim ins Reich. " Y o u are willing to take the good with the bad," she reflects, "especially when you want something bad enough." 1 2 0 After war broke out, and Danzig was reunited with Germany in September, 1939, the Blatter, accompanied with a suitable theological lesson on Romans 13, printed a prayer of thanks for "God's victory" in having eliminated the "unnatural border" separating the Volksdeutsche: Unsagbar Schweres haben unsere deutschen Volksgruppen unter dem polnischen Joch wahrend zwanzigjahriger Fremdherrschaft erduldet Das Schwerste zuletzt. Da half ihnen Gott, der Herr, durch die Hand unseres Fuhrers und machte sie frei. Wir danken unserm Fuhrer fur seine Befreiungstat!121 God was also credited for the German victory over France and, prophetically, amazement was expressed at how the next generation of Germans would wonder at the 1 1 9 (these late descendants of the Teutonic Order had only one target: Returning to the German Fatherland. They marched around in their grey-green coats and recruited for their movement One could also find some Mennonite faces amongst those that marched). Penner, "Ost-west" p. 107. 1 2 0 Marianne Regehr, a young girl at the time, mentioned that the common sentiment among Prussians, including the Mennonites, was to be reunited with the Fatherland, as they considered their home to be in Germany, and their goal as Heim ins Reich. Interview of Marianne Regehr by Author, 26 July, 1999 (Winnipeg, MB). 1 2 1 (Our German ethnic communities suffered unspeakable difficulties under the Polish yoke during twenty years of foreign dominatioa The worst at the very end. Then God, our Lord, helped them through the — hand of our Fuhrer and set them free. We thank our Fuhrer for his feat of liberation!) Emil Haendiges, "Zur Heimkehr der bestreiten Volksgenossen ins Reich" in Mennonitische Blatter October/November (1939), p.65. 32 v i c t o r i e s o f the G e r m a n a r m y . B y 1 9 4 1 , M e n n o n i t e n e w s p a p e r s w e r e r e g u l a r l y p r i n t i n g g o v e r n m e n t a d v e r t i s e m e n t s a i m e d at r e c r u i t i n g s u p p o r t f o r the w a r e f f o r t , a n d the Blatter c o n t i n u e d t o c r e d i t G o d f o r G e r m a n v i c t o r i e s i n the field. W h i l e the Vereinigung o f f i c i a l l y e x t o l l e d the r e g i m e a n d the w a r , n o t a l l M e n n o n i t e s i n P r u s s i a s h a r e d i n t h e e x c i t e m e n t . E x a m p l e s o f r e s i s t a n c e o r o p e n c r i t i c a l o p p o s i t i o n t o the r e g i m e a m o n g the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s are h a r d to find, b u t s o m e e x a m p l e s o f n o n c o m p l i a n c e d o exis t . C h r i s t i a n N e f f , f o r e x a m p l e , r e - k i n d l e d his s k e p t i c a l o u t l o o k first e x p r e s s e d i n 1937 , a n d e a r n e d the Gemeindeblatt der Mennoniten a f o r c e d d i s c o n t i n u a t i o n o f p u b l i c a t i o n af ter it p r i n t e d h i s w e l l - k n o w n a n t i - w a r C h r i s t m a s s e r m o n i n J a n u a r y , 1941 . It s h o u l d b e n o t e d , h o w e v e r , that N e f f s s o n w a s d r a f t e d i n 1 9 4 1 , w h i c h m a y h a v e i n f l u e n c e d the p a s t o r ' s v i e w s o n the w a r that w a s r a g i n g at t h e t i m e . 1 2 2 I n a d d i t i o n to the a u t h o r i t i e s f i n d i n g l i t t le s u c c e s s af ter e n c o u r a g i n g i n d i v i d u a l s t o w i t h d r a w t h e i r m e m b e r s h i p from the c h u r c h e s i n G e r m a n y , 1 2 3 H e r m a n n E p p , a p a s t o r i n W e s t P r u s s i a , w a s sent to a c o n c e n t r a t i o n c a m p f o r h i s n o n c o m p l i a n c e w i t h t h e g o v e r n m e n t . 1 2 4 D i e t h e r G o e t z L i c h d i e x p l a i n s that m a n y M e n n o n i t e s f o l l o w e d i n the w a y s o f t h e i r f o r e f a t h e r s w h o c h o s e a l t e r n a t i v e s e r v i c e a f t e r b e i n g d r a f t e d i n t o the G e r m a n a r m e d f o r c e s d u r i n g t h e F i r s t W o r l d W a r : Es sind zahlreiche Einzelfalle bekannt, die die Meinung unterstreichen, daB vielen Mennoniten im Feld die alte Wehrlosigkeit bewuBt war und daB sie versuchten, ihr Gewissen rein zu erhalten. Diether Goetz Lichdi questioned Neff s apparent leaning toward nonresistance, asserting that he was more concerned over the German loss of 13 000 young men in the French campaign, and 18 000 in the Polish campaign. Neff realized that his own son, who was drafted in 1941, could be among the next to die in battle. This indeed came to pass, as his son was killed in action in 1944. Interview of Diether Goetz Lichdi. 1 2 3 From 1937 on, "those who were Party members were urged to withdraw from the church, although on the whole and particularly in comparison with conditions in the Catholic and Protestant Church, this attempt was without any success. Despite the most severe pressure, only ten out of 500 members withdrew from our [Mennonite] church in Crefeld." Interview of Diether Goetz Lichdi. Horst Penner explains how —Cornelius Janssen, a government official in the GrofSes Werder (1939-42) did not leave his church after being pressured to do so. Penner, "Ost-west" p. 137. 1 2 4 Interview with Siegfried Bartel. 33 Sie wollten nicht auf Menschen schieBen. Deshalb meldeten sich viele zu den Sanitatsabteilungen oder den technischen Diensten...[oder] Kraftfahrer, Feldkiichenfahrer, usw.125 It is c l e a r that t h e M e n n o n i t e s h a d s u c c e e d e d i n a c h i e v i n g g o o d s t a n d i n g i n t h e G e r m a n R e i c h . M o r e t h a n t o l e r a t e d , t h e y w e r e a l l o w e d to m a i n t a i n a p e r s o n a l M e n n o n i t i s m , a n d w e r e a c c o m m o d a t e d i n areas o f m i l d c o n t e n t i o n . B o t h the N a z i g o v e r n m e n t a n d the M e n n o n i t e s e y e d e a c h o t h e r c a u t i o u s l y y e t r e s p e c t f u l l y , a n d c h o s e to d i s a g r e e s i l e n t l y o n p o i n t s that m a t t e r e d l i t t le t o t h e o v e r a l l g o a l s o f e a c h r e s p e c t i v e g r o u p . T h e G e r m a n a n d M e n n o n i t e m y t h s , s y n t h e s i z e d a m o n g t h e M e n n o n i t e m e n i n the r e a l i t y o f w a r , s e r v e d i n b o l s t e r i n g e n t h u s i a s m f o r o n e f i n a l o f f e n s i v e m i l i t a r y c a m p a i g n i n 1 9 4 1 - 1 9 4 2 , t h e s u i t a b l y n a m e d O p e r a t i o n B a r b a r o s s a . H o r s t G e r l a c h r e c a l l e d h o w , at t h e outset o f t h e bat t le , h i s s c h o o l t e a c h e r h a d a p p l i e d the a p o c a l y p t i c a c c o u n t i n the b i b l i c a l b o o k o f R e v e l a t i o n to the i m p e n d i n g f i n a l v i c t o r y o f the G e r m a n s i n t h e S e c o n d W o r l d W a r . 1 2 6 S i m i l a r l y , t h e Gemeindeblatt der Mennoniten b e g a n i n the e a r l y 1 9 4 0 s to p r i n t a r t i c les w i t h e s c h a t o l o g i c a l a n d a p o c a l y p t i c o v e r t o n e s p o i n t i n g to a G e r m a n t r i u m p h . 1 2 7 A s is w e l l k n o w n , r e a l i t y p r o v e d q u i t e the o p p o s i t e . O n 2 0 O c t o b e r , 1944 , the R e d A r m y t o o k N e m m e r s d o r f i n E a s t P r u s s i a , a n d c o m m i t t e d h e i n o u s c r i m e s a g a i n s t the c i v i l i a n p o p u l a t i o n t h e r e . 1 2 8 T h e s tor ies a n d fear o f s i m i l a r t rea tment r e a c h e d t h e M e n n o n i t e s i n W e s t P r u s s i a a n d D a n z i g , as d i d t h e R e d A r m y i n J a n u a r y 1945 . W h i l e t h e m a j o r i t y o f M e n n o n i t e s m a n a g e d t o e s c a p e w i t h t h e i r l i v e s , t h o s e u n a b l e t o e s c a p e v i a s h i p s i n t h e D a n z i g h a r b o r w e r e s u b j e c t t o g r e a t m i s t r e a t m e n t f r o m p i l l a g i n g , r a p e a n d m u r d e r t o b e i n g t a k e n a w a y o n t r a i n s 1 2 5 (Many Mennonite men at the front desired to maintain the old defenseless position, and to keep their conscience pure in this regard. They did not want to shoot people. They would choose positions as medics, technical personnel, chauffeurs, army kitchen drivers, etc.). Lichdi asserts that most who chose these positions were of the more pietistic, or Flemish men that originally emigrated to West Prussia, Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 136. 1 2 6 Interview of Horst Gerlach. 1 2 7 Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p.98. 1 2 8 See E.G. Lass, Die Flucht: Ostpreussen 1944-1945 (Bad Neuheim, 1964). 34 d e s t i n e d f o r w o r k c a m p s i n the G u l a g . 1 2 9 I n t h e w a k e o f defea t , "Taten und Helden" w a s re a p p r o p r i a t e d to t h o s e w h o s u f f e r e d f o r t h e i r f a i t h , w h i l e the s o l d i e r s t o w h o m t h e e s s a y w a s a d d r e s s e d i n 1938 - a f ter a l l o f the v i o l e n c e t h e y m e t e d o u t a n d s a c r i f i c e s t h e y e n c o u n t e r e d w e r e m a r g i n a l i z e d as g r e a t e r c o n c e r n s c a m e t o b e a r o n the M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y . Aftermath T h e h i s t o r y o f the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s has r e v e a l e d t h e p r o c l i v i t y o f that c o m m u n i t y to w o r k t o w a r d a s y n t h e s i s o f t h e i r t i m e - h o n o r e d r e l i g i o u s t r a d i t i o n s w i t h the p r e v a i l i n g n a t i o n a l e thos . T h i s is s e e n m o s t c l e a r l y i n t h e M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y ' s e n c o u n t e r w i t h N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s m , w h e n t h e s p e c i f i c n a t i o n a l ( G e r m a n ) a n d r e l i g i o u s ( M e n n o n i t e ) m y t h o l o g i e s c o l l u d e d w i t h o n e a n o t h e r o f t e n i n i n c o n s p i c u o u s t a n d e m , g r a d u a l l y a m a l g a m a t i n g f r o m the e a r l y 1 9 3 0 s u n t i l r e a c h i n g c o m p l e t e h a r m o n y w h e n the m o s t d u r a b l e M e n n o n i t e t r a d i t i o n w a s f u l l y c o m p r o m i s e d a n d t h e m a j o r i t y o f e l i g i b l e M e n n o n i t e s b o r e a r m s at the front i n 1939 . B y th is t i m e , e a c h r e s p e c t i v e m y t h ' s o v e r a r c h i n g e t h o s - f o r o n e : to r e m a i n s e p a r a t e from t h e w o r l d ; t o c o n f o r m o n l y t o t h e w i l l o f G o d ; n o t to s w e a r a n o a t h to a n y t e m p o r a l r u l e r ; a n d t o m a i n t a i n n o n r e s i s t a n c e ; a n d t h e o t h e r : to d e m a n d c o n f o r m i t y ; t o d e m a n d l o y a l t y t h r o u g h a d m i n i s t e r i n g a n o a t h ; to c o n q u e r a n d s u b d u e the w o r l d f o r c i b l y i n its l e a d e r s ' n a m e - f o u n d c o m p a t i b i l i t y w i t h the o ther , a n d w o r k e d t o g e t h e r t o w a r d r e a l i z i n g w h a t w e r e p e r c e i v e d t o b e t h e s y n o n y m o u s g o a l s o f G o d a n d n a t i o n . T h e d e s i r e t o b e l o n g i n P r u s s i a l e d t h e M e n n o n i t e s i n t o a p a t t e r n o f c o m p r o m i s e . C o m m u n a l i n s e c u r i t y - b o r n o u t o f p e r s e c u t i o n , d e p o r t a t i o n a n d l e g a l r e s t r i c t i o n s o n 129See Horst Gerlach's personal account of his experience in a Siberian work camp in Nightmare in Red 35 p r o p e r t y , c h u r c h e s , a n d the l i k e o v e r t h e c e n t u r i e s - r e s u l t e d i n n u m e r o u s e m i g r a t i o n s . T h o s e w h o c h o s e t o r e m a i n i n P r u s s i a c o n t i n u e d to a p p e a l f o r g r e a t e r r i g h t s a n d , w h i l e n o t n e c e s s a r i l y a c c e p t i n g the state i m p o s i t i o n s o u t r i g h t - as s e e n i n c o n t i n u a l d e l e g a t i o n s p l e a d i n g t h e M e n n o n i t e c a s e b e f o r e the g o v e r n m e n t - f o u n d that t h e i r f u n d a m e n t a l M e n n o n i t e tenets o f f a i t h w e r e n e c e s s a r i l y c o m p r o m i s e d o v e r t i m e . L i k e M e n n o S i m o n s a n d the e a r l y m a i n s t r e a m A n a b a p t i s t s , t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s l a b o r e d i n t h e i r d e s i r e to a m e l i o r a t e t h e i r i m a g e t h r o u g h o v e r c o m i n g the o n e r o u s M i i n s t e r l e g a c y . T h e d i f f e r e n c e l i e s i n that , w h i l e S i m o n s c h o s e to s t r e n g t h e n the p e a c e p o s i t i o n , the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s f o l l o w e d t h e l e a d o f t h e i r s o u t h G e r m a n b r e t h r e n , a n d c h o s e to r e t u r n to m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e . H a n s - J i i r g e n G o e r t z asser ts that : die Mennoniten nut dem nationalsozialistischen Staat bereits so stark identifizierten, dall sie in den Leidenden Martyrern nicht mehr die spaten Brtider ihrer tauferischen Vater erkannten130 A c c o r d i n g to H o r s t G e r l a c h , the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s w e r e f a m i l i a r w i t h t h e Martyr's Mirror b u t c h o s e t h e i n v e r s e o f S i m o n s ' i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e , a n d b e l i e v e d the l e g e n d s h a d t h e i r p l a c e i n pas t e p o c h s . G o e r t z e x p l a i n s t h e s h i f t as f o l l o w s : Die 'nationale Erhebung' kam den Bedurfnissen und Anstrengungen der Mennoniten, nach langer Fremdexistenz endlich auch gesellschaftlich voll integreiert zu werden, ohne die konfessionelle Sonderexistenz aufgeben zu miissen, stark entgegen. So kann man ohne weiteres sagen, dass die Politisierung des konfessionellen Ruckbezugs einem gesellschaftlichen und wirtschaftlichen Impuls gefolgt ist, der die Farbung der faschistischen Ideologic angenommen hatte.132 P e t e r K l a s s e n asser ts that the M e n n o n i t e s w e r e " u n w i l l i n g to d i s t i n g u i s h b e t w e e n [ their] o w n interes ts a n d t h o s e p e r c e i v e d d e s i r a b l e f o r the state. N a t i o n a l g o a l s a n d p r i o r i t i e s (Freeman, 1995). 1 3 0 (the Mennonites had identified so strongly with the National Socialist state at this time that they were no longer associated with their suffering martyred Anabaptist forefathers). Goertz, p.76. 131 Interview of Horst Gerlach. 1 3 2 (The' rise of the nation' validated the efforts of the Mennonites, after a history of being foreigners in — Germany, to finally integrate fully without relinquishing their unique confessional beliefs. Thus one can say that their political and confessional reflex followed a social and economic impulse, which adopted the fascist ideology of the day), Goertz, p.82. 36 w e r e d e f i n e d b y t h e state a n d a c c e p t e d b y t h e c h u r c h . " K l a s s e n r i g h t l y p o i n t s to t h e i s s u e o f t h e o a t h i n c o n c l u d i n g : " P e r h a p s th is w a s f i t t i n g l y s y m b o l i c o f a s i t u a t i o n w h e r e a 1 3 3 f o r m w a s a c c e p t e d as a s u b s t i t u t e f o r a n e s s e n c e that h a d b e e n l o s t . " T h e p r o c e s s e s o f M e n n o n i t e a s s i m i l a t i o n a n d c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h t h e P r u s s i a n state i n v o l v e d m u l t i f a r i o u s e l e m e n t s . It is c l e a r f r o m t h e a v a i l a b l e l i t e r a t u r e a n d f r o m o r a l h i s t o r i e s , that t h e M e n n o n i t e s i n i t i a l l y s u p p o r t e d t h e N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s t s b e c a u s e t h e i r p o l i c i e s f a v o r e d f a r m e r s . T h e s e f a r m e r s l i v e d o n the o t h e r s i d e o f t h e " P o l i s h C o r r i d o r " a n d h e l d t h e s e n t i m e n t of"Heim ins Reich" A d d i t i o n a l l y , P i e t i s m a n d R a t i o n a l i s m s e r v e d i n t h e g r a d u a l w e a k e n i n g o f f u n d a m e n t a l M e n n o n i t e p r i n c i p l e s t h r o u g h o u t t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y . W i t h l e a d e r s h i p f r o m L u t h e r a n a n d B a p t i s t - t r a i n e d p a s t o r s w h o e n c o u r a g e d c h u r c h - s t a t e c o o p e r a t i o n , the M e n n o n i t e s , o n e o f t h e f e w C h r i s t i a n d e n o m i n a t i o n s f o u n d e d o n a t h e o l o g y o f r a d i c a l n o n c o n f o r m i t y a n d n o n r e s i s t a n c e , w e r e lef t w i t h o u t a s u b s t a n t i a l t h e o l o g i c a l v e h i c l e f o r r e s i s t i n g t h e r e g i m e . T h e l i b e r a l i s m f o u n d i n t h e l a n g u a g e o f the D a n z i g M e n n o n i t e C h u r c h C o n s t i t u t i o n o f 1 8 8 6 g a v e t h e a p p e a r a n c e o f m a i n t a i n i n g M e n n o n i t e t h e o l o g y . I n fac t , t h e c o n s c i e n c e , w h i c h S i m o n s i n s i s t e d b e k e p t u n a d u l t e r a t e d a m i d s t s e c u l a r i n f l u e n c e s , 1 3 4 w a s i n d i v i d u a l i z e d i n o r d e r f o r t h e M e n n o n i t e s t o m a i n t a i n the p r i n c i p l e i n a p p e a r a n c e . T h e f o u n d a t i o n a l t e n e t o f c o n s c i e n c e , o r i g i n a l l y b a s e d o n c o m m u n a l a d h e r e n c e , w a s r e d u c e d t o p e r s o n a l c h o i c e a n d i m m e d i a t e p h y s i c a l p r o x i m i t y , t h u s d i l u t i n g the v e r y raison a" etre o f t h e o r i g i n a l M e n n o n i t e d e n o m i n a t i o n . D i e t h e r G o e t z L i c h d i s u m m a r i z e s a n o t h e r w a y M e n n o n i t e s m a i n t a i n e d t h e a p p e a r a n c e s o f p a s t b e l i e f : Klassen, "Faith and Culture," p.205. 37 Sie wollen den alten individualistischen Nonkonformisumus auch dem Dritten Reich nicht opfern. Die Gemeinden werden nicht gleichgeschaltet, das Fiihrerprinzip nicht eingefur/.135 L i c h d i c o n t i n u e s : Sie beginnen die Spannung des Lebens 'in der Welt' aber nicht 'von der Welt' unter endzeitlichen Gesichtspunkten zu sehen. Sie nehmen mehr und mehr auf Jesus als den wahren Fuhrer Bezug... so sehr sie sich der staatsbiirgerlichen Verpflichtung bewuBt waren, so wenig sie sich sozial diskrinunitieren wollten, so sehr achteten sie auch die 136 Gewissensnot einzelner und waren sich des tauferischen Erbes bewuBt. I n s h o r t , the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s s t r u g g l e d t o m a i n t a i n b o t h p a r t i c i p a t o r y c i t i z e n s h i p (Staatsburgerschaft) a n d t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l b e l i e f s . L e o n a r d V e r d u i n h a s a s s o c i a t e d c o e r c i o n w i t h c o r r u p t i o n i n r e l i g i o u s h i s t o r y . 1 3 7 I n t h i s c a s e , h o w e v e r , t h e M e n n o n i t e s v o l u n t a r i l y a c c e p t e d a c o e r c i v e r e g i m e a n d l o s t t h e i r e s s e n t i a l c o n s c i e n c e a n d v o l u n t a r i s t f o c u s . T h e r e f o r e , t h e c l a i m that A n a b a p t i s t s u s h e r e d i n " t h e b e g i n n i n g o f m o d e r n i n d i v i d u a l , n o n - e c c l e s i a s t i c a l c u l t u r e " 1 3 8 finds a m p l e s u p p o r t i n l a t e - n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y P r u s s i a . E v e n t u a l l y , t h e l i b e r a l , i n d i v i d u a l i z e d t h e o l o g y o f t h e M e n n o n i t e s w a s c o m b i n e d w i t h c o n s e r v a t i v e p o l i t i c a l v i e w s , a l l o w i n g f o r the s y n t h e s i s o f M e n n o n i t e f a i t h a n d G e r m a n n a t i o n a l i s m - a p r o c e s s that C o r n e l i u s D y c k h a s c r e d i t e d w i t h t h e M e n n o n i t e l o s s o f " c o s m i c d u a l i s m , " l e a v i n g t h e m i m p o t e n t " a g a i n s t t h e s a t a n i c s p i r i t u a l r e a l m . " 1 3 9 T h i s i m p o t e n c e , w r o u g h t b y t h e i r c h o i c e s a n d r e s u l t i n g from t h e i r i n s i g n i f i c a n t p o p u l a t i o n i n the R e i c h , w a s r e c o g n i z e d b y t h e N a z i 1 3 4 Bender, "The Anabaptists," p. 15. 1 3 5 (They did not want to sacrifice the old notion of individual nonconformity in the Third Reich. Also, the church community did not wish to 'coordinate' according to the Fiihrerprinzip), Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 167. 1 3 6 (They began to see the tension of living 'in the world' but not 'of the world' in an apocalyptic sense. They increasingly regarded Jesus as the one true leader and protector in trouble [though] they very much desired to participate in German social and political life, and desired to avoid social discrimination they still wanted to identify themselves as followers of conscience, in the way of their Anabaptist forefathers). Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," pp. 169-170. 1 3 7 Verduin p.92. 1 3 8 Ernst Troeltsch asserts that modem individualism eventually "replacefd] the old state-church —compulsory culture. It [was] at first a purely religious idea, which then became secularized and overlaid with rationalistic, skeptical and utilitarian idea of toleration" Ernst Troeltsch "Die Bedeutung des Protestantismus fur die Entstehung der Modernen Welt" (Munich, 1911) in Bender, "Anabaptists," p.4. 38 g o v e r n m e n t that f o u n d f a v o r w i t h the M e n n o n i t e w a y o f l i f e , a n d d i d n o t p e r c e i v e t h e g r o u p as p o s i n g a t h r e a t to the n a t i o n a l e t h o s . I n t e r e s t e d i n g u a r d i n g the h i s t o r i c a l r e c o r d o f t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s from f a l s i t y -m u c h l i k e E m i l H a e n d i g e s i n 1934 - H a n s - J i i r g e n G o e r t z r e s p o n d e d t o a m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f M e n n o n i t e s i n p r i n t . A f t e r H a n s R o t h f e l s p l a c e d the M e n n o n i t e s a l o n g s i d e t h e Q u a k e r s a n d J e h o v a h ' s W i t n e s s e s as res is ters o f the N a z i r e g i m e , G o e r t z s ta ted : "dieser ehrenvollen Einordnung der Mennoniten in den Widerstand gegen das nationalsozialistische Regime nicht zustimmen"140 It w o u l d a p p e a r , i n b o t h o f these cases that o u t s i d e r s h a d a s s u m e d , b o t h at the t i m e a n d a f t e r w a r d , that the M e n n o n i t e s w o u l d h a v e a c t e d v e r y d i f f e r e n t l y u n d e r N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s m - that t h e y w o u l d h a v e r e s i s t e d . T h e r e w e r e , h o w e v e r , g r a v e c o n s e q u e n c e s f o r the M e n n o n i t e c o l l a b o r a t i o n w i t h N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s m . I n t h e w a k e o f R e d b e a r d ' s f a i l e d m i s s i o n c a m e t h e d e s t r u c t i o n o f a l l that b o r e h i s n a m e . R a t h e r t h a n h a v i n g t h e i r i n s e c u r e fears o f b e i n g e x p e l l e d f r o m G e r m a n y b y the N a z i s r e a l i z e d , P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s f o u n d a m u c h w o r s e fate at t h e h a n d s o f t h e a d v a n c i n g S o v i e t a r m y . B y s u m m e r , 1945 , the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s los t t h e i r 4 0 0 - y e a r d o m i c i l e i n the r e g i o n , i n c l u d i n g t h e i r a n c e s t r a l h o m e s , a n d a p p r o x i m a t e l y t e n p e r c e n t o f t h e i r c o m m u n i t y , 1 4 1 w i t h the s u r v i v o r s f o r c e d to f l e e to w e s t e r n G e r m a n y . A f t e r a r r i v i n g t h e r e , t h o u s a n d s c h o s e to e m i g r a t e t o C a n a d a , t h e U n i t e d States , U r u g u a y o r P a r a g u a y t h r o u g h a s s i s t a n c e from the M e n n o n i t e C e n t r a l C o m m i t t e e ( M C C , a r e l i e f o r g a n i z a t i o n e s t a b l i s h e d i n 1 9 2 0 w h o s e m a i n f u n c t i o n w a s t o c a r e f o r the w o r l d w i d e M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y ) , w h i l e m a n y o t h e r s e s t a b l i s h e d n e w h o m e s i n G e r m a n y . I n t h e e n d , t h e l e g e n d a r y m y t h o f B a r b a r o s s a w a s s h a t t e r e d i n the 1 3 9Dyck, p. 17. - 1 4 0 (it is not correct to have the Mennonites honored as resisters of the National Socialists), Goertz, p.61. 1 4 1 It remains unknown how many Mennonites were drafted, killed in action, killed in the flight from Prussia, and how many deaths were civilian or military, etc. Lichdi, "Dritten Reich," p. 135. 39 resultant massive loss of life, mass displacement and political division of the German people after the war. The symbolism of the defeat of the German army in this final eastern offensive has far-reaching implications for both the Mennonite community and the German nation, as both were afforded great cause for personal and communal reflection. Vergangenheitsbewaltigung While there have always been divergent views on nonresistance in the community, Mennonite historian C. Henry Smith rightly points out that Mennonite principles have always "forbade any fellowship with a movement that might require the use of force in gaining its objective, laudable though the goal might be." 1 4 2 Indeed, the peace that came after the war did not effectively free the Prussian Mennonites from the spiritual mire in which they were steeped. After the Nazi atrocities became fully known to the public in 1945, international condemnation left those on the losing side with little hope for understanding or rehabilitation in the eyes of the victors. The Mennonites found themselves battling the demon of their own creation in the stark realization of having compromised their fundamental tenets of faith and, through personal, communal and national reflection, came to a fuller realization of their alliance with one of the most evil regimes in human history. A partial result of this alliance, and of having been a part of a group of armed men who "lived by the sword and died by the sword," included the death of their 400-year old ancestral homeland in East and West Prussia. T. D. Regehr has boldly asserted that "there has always been some suggestion that, at least in part, [the Mennonites] Smith, p. 18. 40 c o n t r i b u t e d to that d i s a s t e r . " T o s e v e r a l M C C a n d U n i t e d N a t i o n s a d m i n i s t r a t o r s w h o a r r i v e d i n G e r m a n y t o assis t t h o s e a f f e c t e d b y the w a r i n 1 9 4 5 , m a n y M e n n o n i t e s s e e m e d " t o l a c k a n a p p r o p r i a t e sense o f c o n t r i t i o n . . . t h e y s e e m e d m o r e c o n c e r n e d a b o u t w h a t t h e y h a d los t t h a n w h a t t h e y h a d d o n e d u r i n g the w a r . " 1 4 4 P e t e r K l a s s e n h a s o f f e r e d a m o r e n u a n c e d a p p r o a c h , a n d a s k s : " d i d t h e M e n n o n i t e s f a s h i o n t h e i n s t r u m e n t s o f t h e i r o w n d e s t r u c t i o n ? " 1 4 5 U n d e r s t a n d a b l y , r e p e n t a n c e h a s n o t b e e n w i d e s p r e a d a m o n g t h e M e n n o n i t e s . T w o e x c e p t i o n s i n c l u d e E m i l H a e n d i g e s a n d S i e g f r i e d B a r t e l . H a e n d i g e s p u b l i c l y r e p e n t e d af ter the w a r at the F o u r t h M e n n o n i t e W o r l d C o n f e r e n c e i n 1948 , a n d c o m p l e t e l y c h a n g e d h i s v i e w s o n n o n r e s i s t a n c e . H e c a l l e d f o r the p r i v i l e g e , n o t j u s t f o r M e n n o n i t e s , "sondern fur alle in unserem Deutschen Vaterldnde" to r e f u s e m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e o n t h e b a s i s o f c o n s c i e n c e . In h i s v i e w : "Niemand darf gegen sein Gewissen zum Kriegsdienst mit der Waffe gezwungen werdenf146 a p o s i t i o n that w a s a d o p t e d i n t o the B a s i c L a w o f t h e F e d e r a l R e p u b l i c o f G e r m a n y i n 1949 . S i e g f r i e d B a r t e l c o n v e r t e d t o p a c i f i s m f o l l o w i n g the w a r a f t e r " r e - t h i n k i n g J e s u s t e a c h i n g . " B a r t e l h a s s a i d that h i s g u i l t c o m e s from b e i n g i n t h e w a r , n o t f o r b e i n g a G e r m a n c a p t a i n i n the Wehrmacht, w h i c h is s o m e t h i n g that m a n y , i n h i s e x p e r i e n c e , s e e m t o w a n t h i m to r e p e n t f o r . F o r t h e m o s t part , B a r t e l ' s a u t o b i o g r a p h y - i n w h i c h h e c o n d e m n s a l l f o r m s o f v i o l e n c e - h a s n o t e v o k e d m u c h p o s i t i v e r e s p o n s e f r o m t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s , s i n c e , h e 1 4 3 Regehr, T.D., "Polish and Prussian Mennonite Displaced Persons, 1944-50" vaMennonite Quarterly Review, April (1992), p.266. 1 4 4 Regehr, p.266. 1 4 5 Klassen, "Faith and Culture," p. 196. 1 4 6 (for all people in Germany... no one should be forced to go into military service and bear arms against —his conscience), Haendiges, "Historisches," p.26. This was published after the promulgation of the Basic Law in 1949. However, Mennonite historians Horst Gerlach and Diether Goetz Lichdi insist that Haendiges' views on these matters had direct influence on the related clause that appears in the Basic Law. 41 s a y s " m o s t o f t h e m are n o t q u i t e w i l l i n g t o t h i n k it t h r o u g h i n r e g a r d s o f t h e i r o w n e x p e r i e n c e s i n the w a r . . . t h e y t a k e the v i e w . . . [that t h e y ] c o u l d n ' t h e l p i t . " 1 4 7 C a n a d i a n M e n n o n i t e W a l t e r Q u i r i n g , w h o a u t h o r e d n u m e r o u s p r o - N a z i a r t i c l e s i n Der Bote d u r i n g 1 9 3 3 - 1 9 4 5 , w r o t e a let ter to a f e l l o w M e n n o n i t e i n 1 9 5 3 . I n it, Q u i r i n g c o n f e s s e d : " T h e G e r m a n p e o p l e let t h e m s e l v e s b e d e c e i v e d b y H i t l e r . I a l s o . T h e G e r m a n p e o p l e t o d a y r e a l i z e t h e i r e r ror . I a l s o , " a n d c o n c l u d e s , a l t e r i n g t h e f o r m e r N a z i s l o g a n c o n c e r n i n g the J e w s , " H i t l e r w a s the m i s f o r t u n e o f the G e r m a n p e o p l e . " 1 4 8 S o m e M e n n o n i t e s r e m a i n s k e p t i c a l o f s u c h c h a n g e s o f h e a r t . M e n n o n i t e m i n i s t e r D i e t h e r G o e t z L i c h d i c o m m e n t s : [Some Mennonites] repent because the other Mennonites in the Allied countries have heard their governments say that the Germans are war criminals; they really lack proper theological reflection. My view is that the Mennonites were guilty because they couldn't overcome the temptation of Nazism.149 I n d e e d , t h e m a j o r i t y h a v e n o t r e c o g n i z e d the n e e d f o r r e p e n t a n c e o f a n y k i n d . T h i s is m o s t l y b e c a u s e the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s d o n o t b e l i e v e that t h e y a b a n d o n e d t h e n o n r e s i s t a n t s tance , a n d b e c a u s e o f the g r e a t m i s f o r t u n e that w a s m e t e d o u t o n t h e i r c o m m u n i t y i n the last m o n t h s o f the w a r . O n e M e n n o n i t e v e t e r a n o f the Luftwaffe i n s i s t s tha t h e r e m a i n e d "wehrlos i n h i s h e a r t " w h i l e s e r v i n g h i s c o u n t r y . D i e t h e r G o e t z L i c h d i c o n f i r m e d t h i s s e n t i m e n t a m o n g G e r m a n M e n n o n i t e s t o d a y . R e f e r r i n g t o n o n r e s i s t a n c e a n d M e n n o n i t e f a i t h , h e c o m m e n t e d : " T h e y o u n g e r o n e s w o u l d a g r e e w i t h it a n d t h e o l d e r o n e s w o u l d s a y - w e a l w a y s p r a c t i c e d it ! T h e y a l w a y s p r a c t i c e d 'Wehrlosigkeit i n t h e i r h e a r t s . ' " 1 5 0 T h e fact that m a n y p e o p l e i n G e r m a n y e n d u r e d g r e a t h a r d s h i p a n d d e a t h f o r c h o o s i n g to r e m a i n t r u e to t h e i r r e l i g i o u s a n d p o l i t i c a l c o n v i c t i o n s - s u c h as the H u t t e r i t e s a n d 1 4 7 Interview of Siegfried Bartel. — 1 4 8 Letter from W. Quiring to B.B. Janz, B.B. Janz papers, CMBSF, Winnipeg, quoted in Thiesen, p.226. 1 4 9 Interview of Diether Goetz Lichdi. 1 5 0 Interview of Diether Goetz Lichdi. 42 J e h o v a h ' s W i t n e s s e s , f o r e x a m p l e - s t a n d s i n c o n t r a s t t o t h e P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e e x p e r i e n c e u n d e r N a z i s m , a n d t h e i r m a i n t e n a n c e o f Wehrlosigkeit, b u t o n l y t o a n ex tent . I n a w a y , the M e n n o n i t e s did s tay t r u e to t h e i r c o n v i c t i o n s as t h e y w e r e at t h e t i m e . A f t e r a d a p t i n g a n d a s s i m i l a t i n g i n t o P r u s s i a n s o c i e t y o v e r t h e c e n t u r i e s , t h e M e n n o n i t e s h a d a l t e r e d s o m e o f t h e i r f o u n d a t i o n a l tenets o f f a i t h . W h e n c o n f r o n t e d w i t h a n i d e o l o g y that w a s i n c o m p a t i b l e w i t h C h r i s t i a n i t y u n d e r the p r e s s u r e s o f d i c t a t o r s h i p , t h e i r a d a p t e d v e r s i o n o f M e n n o n i t e f a i t h h a d b e e n p u r g e d o f a n y c o n t e n t that c o u l d h a v e b e e n u t i l i z e d i n o p p o s i t i o n t o t h e g o v e r n m e n t , a n d p r o v e d to b e ra ther i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l i n i m p e d i n g the r i s e o f N a t i o n a l S o c i a l i s m i n G e r m a n y . N a t u r a l l y , t h e G e r m a n p e o p l e c o n t i n u e t o d e a l w i t h t h e i r v e r y p r o b l e m a t i c N a z i past . I n the p r o c e s s e s o f VergangenheitsbewdUigung ( c o m i n g to t e r m s w i t h t h e past ) , m o n u m e n t s , m u s e u m s a n d m e m o r i a l s h a v e b e e n e r e c t e d to e n c o u r a g e a p p r o p r i a t e r e f l e c t i o n o n t h e u n p a r a l l e l e d a g g r e s s i o n m e t e d o u t , i n m a n y d i f f e r e n t w a y s , o n t h e m a j o r i t y o f E u r o p e a n s d u r i n g t h e N a z i era . W h i l e t h e e f f o r t s h a v e t a k e n p r a i s e w o r t h y f o r m s , m a n y e n d e a v o r s l a c k m e a n i n g f u l s u b s t a n c e as the c r e a t o r s o f m e m o r i a l s t o N a z i a t r o c i t i e s a r e b u r d e n e d w i t h t h e o b s c u r i t y o f intent . P e r h a p s t h i s is t h e r e s u l t o f the c o n t r o v e r s i a l n a t u r e o f the p h e n o m e n a that a r e r e p r e s e n t e d , a n d the u n d e r s t a n d a b l e d e s i r e f o r t h e G e r m a n p e o p l e - m o s t o f w h o m are r e l a t i v e s o f p e o p l e w h o l i v e d i n N a z i G e r m a n y , m a n y o f w h o m w e r e i n v o l v e d i n t h e c r i m e s o f t h e r e g i m e - t o f o c u s o n t h e p o s i t i v e r e b u i l d i n g o f t h e i r p h y s i c a l , s o c i a l a n d s p i r i t u a l n a t i o n . I n d e e d , t h e a m b i v a l e n c e a n d c o n f u s i o n o v e r t h e N a z i pas t a r e e v i d e n t i n a w i d e r a n g e o f m e m o r i a l s , from t h e 43 h i g h - p r o f i l e N e u e W a c h e i n d o w n t o w n B e r l i n , to t h o s e e r e c t e d i n v i l l a g e s s c a t t e r e d t h r o u g h o u t G e r m a n y ( see F i g u r e 3 ) . 1 5 1 S i m i l a r l y , the M e n n o n i t e p e o p l e h a v e a t t e m p t e d to c o m e to t e r m s w i t h t h e i r pas t as w e l l . I n a d d i t i o n t o the c o n c e r n s a n d c o n f u s i o n t h e y s h a r e w i t h t h e i r G e r m a n n e i g h b o r s , the M e n n o n i t e s f a c e the a d d e d c o n u n d r u m o f h a v i n g c o m p r o m i s e d the f u n d a m e n t a l tenets o f t h e i r f a i t h . T h e h i s t o r y o f the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s i n t h e T h i r d R e i c h has r e v e a l e d that n a t i o n a l i s m , c o m m u n a l a n d p e r s o n a l e x p e d i e n c y s e e m e d t o b l i n d t h e M e n n o n i t e s to the d a n g e r o u s a n d a n t i - C h r i s t i a n i d e o l o g y o f the N a z i s . M o s t d i d n o t r e c o g n i z e that the r e g i m e w a s i n h e r e n t l y a n t i - C h r i s t i a n a n d , i f t h e y d i d , t h e y n o l o n g e r p o s s e s s e d a t h e o l o g y that c o u l d c o u n t e r it. T h e r e f l e c t i o n , o r l a c k o f it, s e e m s t o l e a v e the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s w i t h s i m i l a r a m b i v a l e n t f e e l i n g s a n d a c o n f u s i n g l e g a c y , m u c h l i k e t h o s e f o u n d i n m e m o r i a l s t h r o u g h o u t G e r m a n y . T h e M e n n o n i t e s , t o o , l o v e t h e i r c o u n t r y , are d e f e n s i v e o f t h e i r i n v o l v e m e n t i n the w a r , a n d c o n t i n u e to l i v e w i t h the g r i e f o f t h e i r l o s s e s w h i l e q u i e t l y e x t o l l i n g t h o s e w h o s u f f e r e d f o r t a k i n g a r a d i c a l s t a n c e a g a i n s t N a z i s m . T h e y h a v e a l s o e r e c t e d a m e m o r i a l o f t h e i r o w n i n W e i e r h o f i n m e m o r y o f t h o s e w h o d i e d i n the f l i g h t from t h e i r h o m e s i n P r u s s i a d u r i n g 1 9 4 4 - 1 9 4 5 . T h e m o n u m e n t is i n s c r i b e d t o "Den Toten derfernenHeimat" I r o n i c a l l y , a v e r s e from t h e b o o k o f R e v e l a t i o n is p r i n t e d d o w n t h e m i d d l e o f t h e c r o s s , w h i c h s e r v e s as 152 t h e m e m o r i a l i t s e l f ( see F i g u r e 4) . I n s t e a d o f t h e a p o c a l y p t i c m y t h s h a v i n g b e e n r e a l i z e d i n t h e Wehrmacht 's v i c t o r y i n the east - as p r o p h e s i e d b y H o r s t G e r l a c h ' s s c h o o l t e a c h e r - the 1 5 1 The Neue Wache is a memorial to those who suffered unjustly and died in Europe while under the control of totalitarianism. This confusion over who is represented in the memorial finds its counterpart in Bockenheim, where "Der Ehre" of the soldier is juxtaposed with lists of fallen soldiers from both world wars, and those who had resisted the tyranny of the National Socialists to the point of death. 1 5 2 Across the horizontal beam of the cross-shaped memorial: "den Toten der femen Heimat" (the dead from the far-off homeland) and down the vertical beam: "Gott wird abwischen alle Tranen von Ihren —Augen und der Tod wird nicht mehr sein noch Leid noch Geschrei noch Schmerzen wird mehr sein denn das erste ist vergangen." (God will wipe away every tear from their eyes and the dead will experience no more mourning, or crying or pain; the first things have passed away). Revelation 21:4 44 b i b l i c a l v e r s e s s e r v e d t o c o m f o r t t h o s e w h o h a d lost f a m i l y a n d l o v e d o n e s i n t h e w a k e o f its c a t a s t r o p h i c d e f e a t . P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e s h a v e a l s o a t t e m p t e d to d e a l w i t h t h e c o g n i t i v e a n d t h e o l o g i c a l d i s s o n a n c e i n h e r e n t i n t h e i r h i s t o r y . A c c o r d i n g to the c o l l e c t e d a c c o u n t s o f D i e t h e r G o e t z L i c h d i , m a n y M e n n o n i t e w o m e n w o r k i n g i n h o s p i t a l s i n P r u s s i a d e c i d e d , o n a c c o u n t o f t h e i r C h r i s t i a n f a i t h , t o l a y d o w n t h e i r l i v e s f o r t h o s e i n t h e i r care . N u r s e H e l e n e H a m m o f M a r i e n b u r g , f o r e x a m p l e , w a s r a p e d a n d k i l l e d b y R u s s i a n s o l d i e r s a f t e r c h o o s i n g n o t to j o i n the f l e e i n g G e r m a n e x p e d i t i o n i n 1944 i n o r d e r to t e n d to the s i c k a n d w a r - w o u n d e d i n the h o s p i t a l . H e r e a g a i n , e v e n a m i d s t the v i o l e n c e o f w a r - i n w h i c h P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e m e n f u l l y p a r t i c i p a t e d - t h e r e w e r e a n u m b e r o f M e n n o n i t e s w h o c o n s i d e r e d t h e b r a v e r y a n d s a c r i f i c e o f the l i k e s o f H e l e n e to b e a c o n t i n u a t i o n o f the Wehrlosen Christen l e g a c y o f m a r t y r d o m , 1 5 3 a n d r i g h t l y s o . H o w e v e r , to f o c u s o n t h e s u f f e r i n g , p a r t i c u l a r l y f e m a l e s u f f e r i n g , 1 5 4 t e n d s to d i m i n i s h c o m m u n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e G e r m a n a g g r e s s i o n , w h i c h u l t i m a t e l y b r o u g h t a b o u t H e l e n e ' s t r a g i c e n d , a n d s i m u l t a n e o u s l y p r o m o t e s v i n d i c a t i o n t h r o u g h v i c t i m i z a t i o n . T h e m a i n l i n e P r o t e s t a n t c h u r c h e s , d e s p i t e the r e p e a t e d c r i t i c i s m t h a t t h e y h a v e b e e n m o t i v a t e d b y o u t s i d e p o l i t i c a l p r e s s u r e s , 1 5 5 h a v e a t t e m p t e d t o c o m e t o t e r m s w i t h t h e i r a c t i o n s d u r i n g t h e N a z i e r a as w e l l . T h e l e a d e r s o f t h e Land c h u r c h e s , m o s t l y t h o s e i n v o l v e d i n t h e C o n f e s s i n g C h u r c h , b a n d e d t o g e t h e r af ter t h e w a r t o " e s t a b l i s h g r e a t e r 1 5 3 Penner, "Ost- west," p. 145. 1 5 4 Doris Bergen asserts that the "appropriation of women's experiences for political ends, to legitimate claims of male loss and innocence" prevails in postwar ethnic German historiography. "Mourning, Mass Death, and the Gray Zone: The Ethnic Germans of Eastern Europe and the Second World War," in Symbolic Loss: The Ambiguity of Mourning and Memory at Century's End. (Charlottesville, 2000), p. 181. John Conway asserts that the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt was made voluntarily after the war, although - an expedient element did exist. Those repenting were interested in ecumenical and international dialogue and ," •: . . many, including Martin NiemoTler, were prominent figures in the establishment of the 45 u n i t y a m o n g t h e P r o t e s t a n t s w i t h i n G e r m a n y a n d i n t h e w o r l d at l a r g e , " b y f o r m i n g the P r o v i s i o n a l C o u n c i l f o r the E v a n g e l i c a l C h u r c h i n G e r m a n y i n 1 9 4 5 . W h e n t h e P r o v i s i o n a l C o u n c i l c o n v e n e d i n Stut tgar t i n O c t o b e r , 1945 , a d e l e g a t i o n from the W o r l d C o u n c i l o f C h u r c h e s j o i n e d the g a t h e r i n g . A t the m e e t i n g , p a s t o r M a r t i n N i e m o l l e r d e l i v e r e d a p u b l i c s t a t e m e n t o f r e p e n t a n c e o n b e h a l f o f t h e G e r m a n P r o t e s t a n t C h u r c h e s f o r t h e i r a c t i o n s i n t h e w a r . T h e s ta tement , w h i c h c a m e t o b e k n o w n as t h e S tut tgar t D e c l a r a t i o n o f G u i l t , d e c l a r e d : With great anguish we state: through us inestimable suffering was inflicted on many peoples and lands.. .we have fought for long years in the name of Jesus Christ against the spirit that found horrible expression in the National Socialist regime of force, but we accuse ourselves for not witnessing more courageously, for not praying more faitiifully, for not believing more joyously 157 and for not loving more ardently. T h o s e d o i n g the r e p e n t i n g w e r e par t o f a s m a l l , r a d i c a l m i n o r i t y , a n d t h e i r a c t i o n s c a u s e d g r e a t a l a r m a n d c o n d e m n a t o r y r e a c t i o n f r o m m a n y C h r i s t i a n s i n G e r m a n y . 1 5 8 O n t h e p o s i t i v e s i d e , h o w e v e r , these m e n a n d p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e S tut tgar t D e c l a r a t i o n s p e a r h e a d e d the G e r m a n Schuldfrage, b o t h w i t h i n a n d o u t s i d e t h e c h u r c h . 1 5 9 World Council of Churches in Geneva in 1947. See John Conway, "How Shall the Nations Repent? The Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt," in Journal of Ecclesiastical History 38:4 (October) 1987. 1 5 6 Helmreich, p.418. 1 5 7 Text of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt, in Helmreich, p.421. 158 John Conway asserts: "There can be no doubt...that, when the Declaration was first issued, such attitudes [of exaggerated nationalism] were both widespread and strongly held by the majority of Protestants, both clergy and laity. But to the more radical minority, who supported it, the statement was a belated attempt to come to terms with their own mistakes, an act of conscious self-criticism for attitudes and actions which had involved their church and their nation in unprecedented ethical disasters." Conway, "Nations Repent," p. 597. 1 5 9 Helmreich notes that Karl Jaspers gave a series of lectures in the winter semester of 1945-1946 on the question of German guilt in relation to the war at the University of Heidelberg. Helmreich, p.421. John Conway points out that the Declaration was significant in four distinct ways: Lit marked the first public acknowledgement by a major social organization of the complicity of Germans in the misdeeds of the Nazi regime, and the need for a public acceptance of guilt; 2.it hindered the growth or recurrence of any exculpatory mythology, such as the notorious 'Stab-in-the-back' legend of 1918; 3.it opened the way for a wholly new and much more creative relationship between the German Protestant churches and their — counterparts abroad; 4. It saw the beginning of a long and often painful assessment of the Church's responsibility towards political events in their society, and an abandonment of old ideas about the subordination of Lutherans to the powers of the State. "The Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt and its 46 T h e M e n n o n i t e s , t o o , s h a r e i n t h i s d e s i r e f o r r e h a b i l i t a t i o n . A s s e e n a b o v e , t h e M e n n o n i t e s , m u c h l i k e t h e i r c o u n t e r p a r t s i n t h e m a i n l i n e P r o t e s t a n t sects i n G e r m a n y , w e r e m o r e i n t e r e s t e d i n p r o t e c t i n g t h e i r i n s t i t u t i o n s a n d t r a d i t i o n s t h a n p r o p a g a t i n g a p o t e n t C h r i s t i a n t e s t i m o n y i n t h e T h i r d R e i c h . P e r h a p s t h e t w o w e r e s e e n as o n e a n d the s a m e . W h i l e c o n t i n u i n g i n t h e t e n d e n c y to t a k e c a r e o f t h e i r o w n , r e f u g e e c o n g r e g a t i o n s o f the f o r m e r D a n z i g - W e s t P r u s s i a a rea are r e p r e s e n t e d i n t h e b r o a d e r G e r m a n M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y b y a m i n i s t e r i a l c o m m i t t e e c a l l e d the Altestenausschuss der Konferenz der west- und ostpreussischen Mennonitengemeinden.160 A f t e r t h e w a r , N o r t h A m e r i c a n v o l u n t e e r s i n the M C C sent m o n e y a n d s u p p l i e s to a i d t h e i r M e n n o n i t e b r e t h r e n i n G e r m a n y . T h o s e w h o w e r e a b l e to v a l i d a t e t h e i r M e n n o n i t e i d e n t i t y a d e q u a t e l y w o u l d r e c e i v e the a i d . I n t e r m s o f t h e h i s t o r i c a l r e c o r d , m o s t M e n n o n i t e v e t e r a n s d e s i r e that t h e pas t b e r e - w r i t t e n i n s u c h a w a y that the G e r m a n s , a n d the M e n n o n i t e s , a r e t r e a t e d m o r e f a i r l y . A n d u n d e r s t a n d a b l y s o . I n d e e d , m a n y M e n n o n i t e s , a n d o t h e r s , f e e l tha t h i s t o r i c a l o b j e c t i v i t y h a s b e e n s i d e l i n e d i n m u c h o f the h i s t o r i o g r a p h y p r o d u c e d o n t h e p e o p l e a n d p e r i o d i n q u e s t i o n . U n l i k e E t h e l b e r t S t a u f f e r ' s d e c l a r a t i o n - that m a r t y r s a c h i e v e " v i c t o r y o v e r t h e v i c t o r s " - t h e M e n n o n i t e s , m a r t y r s a n d o t h e r w i s e i n t h i s c a s e , h a v e b e e n f o r c e d i n t o q u i e t , p e r s o n a l r e f l e c t i o n as the l o s e r s o f a n u n j u s t l y m o t i v a t e d a n d e x e c u t e d w a r . T h e r e s u l t i n g t r a g i c e m p l o t m e n t o f t h e i r h i s t o r y h a s s e r v e d t o o b j e c t i f y " t h e G e r m a n " i n p o p u l a r a n d s c h o l a r l y a c c o u n t s o f the 1 9 3 3 - 1 9 4 5 era , i n j u s t i f y i n g t h e a c t i o n s —Ecumenical Impact," Unpublished Paper in John S. Conway Research Collection, D804.3C443, File 1, RRAR2, (Vancouver, 1985). 1 6 0 Crous, "Germany," in Bender and Smith, Volume n, p.486. 47 o f t h e A l l i e s b e t w e e n 1 9 4 5 - 1 9 5 0 , 1 6 1 a n d i n f o s t e r i n g a n a c h r o n i s t i c a d a p t a t i o n s o f N a z i s m i n c o n t e m p o r a r y s o c i e t y . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , s i g n i f i c a n t r e f l e c t i o n a n d c r i t i c i s m are c e r t a i n l y a p p r o p r i a t e a n d are the d u t y o f t h e o l o g i a n s , s c h o l a r s a n d t h o s e o t h e r w i s e i n v o l v e d i n t h e e v e n t s o f th is p e r i o d . I n d e e d , d e n o m i n a t i o n a l a u t h e n t i c i t y a n d c r e d i b i l i t y m u s t b e r e s t o r e d i f t h e M e n n o n i t e s i n t e n d to s u s t a i n r e s p e c t i n the G e r m a n n a t i o n a n d t h r o u g h o u t t h e w o r l d . S o m e e f f o r t s h a v e b e e n m a d e i n th is d i r e c t i o n . In s t r i v i n g t o w a r d r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h the P o l i s h p e o p l e , f o r m e r m e m b e r s o f the P r u s s i a n M e n n o n i t e c o m m u n i t y w h o h a d m o v e d t o H a m b u r g af ter the w a r i n i t i a t e d a j o i n t M e n n o n i t e - P o l i s h C a m p o f A t o n e m e n t , w h i c h w a s e r e c t e d at S t u t t h o f i n 1 9 7 3 . 1 6 2 T h e e f f o r t s at S t u t t h o f are n o t e n t i r e l y u n i q u e . T h e n e g a t i v e e x p e r i e n c e s m a n y M e n n o n i t e s e n d u r e d d u r i n g w a r t i m e s e r v e d as the c a t a l y s t f o r a r e - e v a l u a t i o n o f t h e i r t i m e -h o n o r e d t r a d i t i o n s o f n o n r e s i s t a n c e a n d n o n c o n f o r m i t y . M a n y c a m e t o r e a l i z e that n o n r e s i s t a n c e , i n its t r a d i t i o n a l f o r m , w a s m o r e i r r e s p o n s i b l e t h a n a n y t h i n g e l s e , l e a d i n g m a n y M e n n o n i t e s t o c o n v e r t from t h e i r p a s s i v e , s e c l u d e d p e a c e s t a n c e t o n o n v i o l e n t s o c i a l a c t i o n a n d r a d i c a l p e a c e m a k i n g . N o w w i l l i n g to p a y t h e " u l t i m a t e s a c r i f i c e " a f t e r j o i n i n g t h e " c o r p s " i n w o r k i n g t o w a r d b r i n g i n g p e a c e t o t r o u b l e d areas, M e n n o n i t e s w e r e a b l e t o p o u r t h e i r e n e r g i e s i n t o p o s i t i v e s o c i a l a n d s t r u c t u r a l c h a n g e . F o r e x a m p l e , K l a u s F r o e s e , s o n o f a Wehrmacht s o l d i e r from W e s t P r u s s i a , m o v e d to C r e t e i n 1 9 4 6 i n o r d e r t o h e l p r e b u i l d w h a t 1 6 1 See James Bacque, Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation 1944-1950. (Toronto, 1997). 162Kazimierz Mezynski, "The German Mennonites on their way to reconciliation with Poland' in Mennonite Quarterly Review, 1976, (50), pp.288-9. 48 G e r m a n s o l d i e r s h a d d e s t r o y e d i n t h e w a r a n d l e g a l l y c l a i m e d C o n s c i e n t i o u s O b j e c t o r status 163 u n d e r the B a s i c L a w o f t h e F e d e r a l R e p u b l i c o f G e r m a n y i n 1950 . M e n n o n i t e s a r o u n d t h e w o r l d a l s o l e a r n e d a grea t d e a l from t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s d u r i n g the S e c o n d W o r l d W a r . H a v i n g e l i m i n a t e d t h e t r a d i t i o n a l M e n n o n i t e t w o -k i n g d o m t h e o l o g y , n e w g r o u p s , m o s t l y e m a n a t i n g f r o m M C C , b e g a n to o r g a n i z e a n d m o v e i n t o s e r v i c e a l l a r o u n d t h e w o r l d . C h r i s t i a n P e a c e m a k i n g T e a m s , t h e M e n n o n i t e C o n c i l i a t i o n S e r v i c e a n d t h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l C o n c i l i a t i o n S e r v i c e , f o r e x a m p l e , b e g a n t o f o c u s o n the p r e v e n t i o n o f v i o l e n c e a n d o n e m p o w e r i n g p e o p l e to r e g a i n o w n e r s h i p o f t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e s i t u a t i o n s i n t r o u b l e d areas o f the w o r l d . T h e n e w f o r m o f p e a c e b u i l d i n g , w h i c h has r e p l a c e d t h e p a s s i v e n o n r e s i s t a n c e o f o l d , has f u r n i s h e d c o n t e m p o r a r y M e n n o n i t e s w i t h a n " e n o r m o u s t r a n s f o r m a t i v e p o t e n t i a l f o r the f u t u r e i n t e r a c t i o n s o f the g l o b a l c o m m u n i t y . " 1 6 4 P e r h a p s t h e r e s u r g e n c e o f Wehrlosigkeit c a n b e d e s c r i b e d as a r e t u r n t o t h e f a m i l i a r f o r the M e n n o n i t e s - a f o r m Vergangenheitsbewdltigung that f o c u s e s o n r e a l a n d l a s t i n g p o s i t i v e c h a n g e a f t e r t h e M e n n o n i t e s h a d w i t n e s s e d , a n d i n d e e d p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h e o p p o s i t e d u r i n g t h e w a r . T h e m a r t y r o l o g y o f the M e n n o n i t e s h a s n o t d i s a p p e a r e d e i th er . A . A . T o e w s a n d J o h n H o r s c h - b o t h w r i t i n g af ter t h e S e c o n d W o r l d W a r - i n c l u d e t h e A n a b a p t i s t l e g e n d s i n t h e i r h i s t o r i c a l a c c o u n t s o f t h e M e n n o n i t e p e o p l e i n E u r o p e , r e v e a l i n g the p r o c l i v i t y f o r M e n n o n i t e s , l i k e t h e i r G e r m a n b r e t h r e n , t o f o c u s o n t h e v i c t i m i z a t i o n a n d s u f f e r i n g t h e y e x p e r i e n c e d i n the w a r . 1 6 5 1 6 3 Interview of Klaus Froese by Author, 17 June, 2000 (Hannover, Germany). 1 6 4 Cynthia Sampson and John Paul Lederach (eds.). From the Ground Up: Mennonite Contributions to International Peacemaking, (Oxford, 2000), p.255. - 1 6 5 A.A. Toews' Mennonite Martyrs: 1920-1940, and John Horsch's The Mennonites of Europe primarily expound upon Mennonite suffering in Ukraine. Doris Bergen also addresses the martyrological focus in the extant historiography on the Volksdeutschen, Bergen, "Mourning," p. 181, 49 We have seen the re-appropriation of both national and religious myths - both used for new purposes - after 1933. To be sure, the militarism and nationalism that constitutes the Kyffhauser legacy and monument were made palatable to the Mennonites through the gradual, centuries-long processes of assimilation into Prussian society. After the war, both the German nation and the Mennonites have reflected on their disturbing past. The German nation and government have conducted an about-face since 1945, and have focused on limiting ultra-conservative or neo-fascist movements and, in recent years, have very actively promoted liberal social democracy in Germany as part of its Leitkultur. German Mennonites, too, have promoted the opposite of what they practiced in the Second World War, and have once again embraced the national political ethos and accompanying Leitkultur. With a new, more agreeable tandem established for both sides, the Mennonites have once again found a vital raison a" etre for peacebuilding that resembles the old, having again re-modeled their old legends for new purposes. Still , the N a z i era continues to loom over the German nation, and the Mennonites within it, as they continue to struggle - both separately and in conjunction - in the hope of someday coming to terms with their very problematic history. Today, Whitebeard continues to gaze silently over the Thuringian plains from his monument - maintained as a relic of Germania's colored past - while the German Mennonite community continues to thrive in an uneasy peace with itself and the larger community. T h e K y f f h a u s e r M o n u m e n t i n T h u r i n g i a (Source: Photo by A u t h o r ) 51 Figure 2a SRttteUungsblatt ber J?on[erenj bet Oft* urtb QJieftpreufetfcrjert Ulennortitenciemeinben betreffenb bie Q3erpfltcrjtung ber ffiiennomten art (Sibesftatt bet (Sintritt in ben ^eeresbtertft. §etausgegeben oom ^ItlUilfn - SusfdjuB. 2Iuj ©runb ber Setjre 3e[u Gt)ri|ti in QUallr). 5, 34 — 37 uer> bieter bas mennonitifci)e Siekenntnis [djledjtrjin unb otjne Slusnatjme bie 21bieijrung eines jbtmlidjen (Jibes unb gt|tQtlet [eiuen 93e!iennern nui eine jeierlidje ajerjidjerung bejro. tin (eierlidjrs 33er|prrd)rn mit .3"" "ib JjQnbjdjlag. Sieje religibjen ©runblaje ber OTenitonilen fjat bie 13rrui)i[rf)e IKegierung feiitjer in ber ®e[et)gebung berudifidjligt. Siejiiglidj ber in bas §err eintreienben "fflennonilen tjeiijt es in bem ©ejejj oom 17. Sejember 1801 in § 2 : „5Jei ber (£injiet)ung jum J?rirgsbien|l (uII ber ftanlonpiiirijlige OHennonii, in SRiidt|ici)t [einer ©laubensbegrifjr, mil ber lib-leidung eines Gibes oer|cf)ont unb bie erforberlirfje 3 u ! "ge oon itjm mitlrljt Sanbfdjiages angenommen loerben." 3)ie Slntuenbbarbeil biefes ©efeljes and) fiir bie ^ttluiuft tuirb oom Rriegsminiiierium in einem (Jrlag oom 28. 3anuar 1869 (135. 12 A I a) an ben 33or|tanb ber TOennonitengemeinbe in Banj ig beftatigi, roenn es t)ier fjeijjl: ,-IBas jri)lieBlid) bie 5orm ber Ditnliuripjlidjlung angelji, [o be[ief)t § 2 ber Separat ion oom 17. Srjrmber 1801 nod) in Sta j i unb jinb bemnad) bicjenigen TOrnnonilen, loelrije in ben OTiliiarbienft eintreien, oon ber (£ibcsleijlung enlbunben unb milielit §anb|d)Iages jur gal)ne ju oerpflicljlen." 21uj ©runb einer Singabe ber „33rrrinigung ber Ulennonileii ' gemeinben im Seutfdjen 3ieicf)" oom 15. TOarj 1935 an basSWdjs-kriegsminiiterium, in ber bie Wi le ausge[prod)en war, bie Sonber-t'lellung ber OHennoniten in ber Sibesfroge aud) bei ber Sieuregelung ber 233er)rpilid)t ju beriidifidjiigen, i l l folgenbe (Ent|ri)eibung ergangen: The form used by Mennonites in lieu of swearing an oath to the German government upon conscription after 1935, pages 1 and 2 ( S o u r c e : M e n n o n i t i s c h e F o r s c h u n g s t e i i e , W e i e r h o f , G e r m a n y ) 52 Figure 2b 3)tr SR«id)skriegsmini|ttr •ii. Ob«rfj«(tl)l9^ob(t btr 3Dff)rmad)t Sir. 5167/35 J 1 b. 33trlin W 35, btn 26. 9. 35. •93tlr.: (Elbtsformtl jilt Solbaten mtnnoniti[d)tn ©laubtns. Sin bic 93eretnigung btr ©eulfdjen Olttiinonilfngtmtinbtn, S. £). bts $Smn Sr . (Sruus 93trlin • Sitgl i l i £autnburgt[|lr. 7. 91u[ 31)" Slnjragt oom 17. 9. 35 miib 3l)"'n mit> fltlfill, ba[) OTfIIiiDiiilcii au[ bc[onbcrtn ^Intraa bnrdj jolgtnbts ©tlbbnis in bit §anb bis SorgtjtBttn on Stellt bts Eibcs gtbunbtn rotrbtn: <U i t e ft. (Es roitb t)ietmit be[d)tinigt, baft •• CIHiiglieb btr unttrjtidjntttn 9Zlrnnonil(ngemeinbe i(l. 233ir bean-iragen. gcmajj (Srlajj bts .t)trtn*3lfid)Shritgsniini|tfrs unb Obtr* btltljlstiabtrs btr ffltljtmadjt oom 26. Stplt inbtr 1935 (9!t. 5167/35 J 1 b), i!)n an SttUt bts Kibes burd) bns |iir OTtn. noniten UDrgt[d)ritbtnt ©elbbnis jn Dtrpilirfjlfn. , ben © c I ii b n i s ! .3ri) gtlobf, baij id) btm giiljrtr bts Stulfdjtu Sltidjts unb 55olhts Slbolf ©i l l t r , btm Ober|ten Sfftbjsfiabtt btr 23tfjrmarf)t. unbtbingltn ©ttjorjam [tifltn unb als top[trtr Solbol bereit (tin mill, jtbtrjtit fiit bitjto ©tlbbnis mtin Stbtn tinjultjjtu." 3. 21. 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