Amish Essay Introduction
The Pennsylvania-based Mennonite Central Committee, in particular, feared for the safety of 45,000 Mennonite refugees in postwar Europe.Administrators believed that these individuals might be denied humanitarian aid and—as actually happened to around half—deported to the Soviet Union.Since their population doubles roughly every 20 years—due to an average of five or more children per family and a retention rate of over 80 percent—they are expected to reach one million members by 2050 (Guarino).In order to preserve their rural way of life and their small settlements as strategies for survival, Anabaptist societies have had to push beyond the confines of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states to both find adequate land for expansion and create new areas of employment.Hundreds of books and articles by the Third Reich’s leading experts on German speakers in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Paraguay, Galicia, Ukraine, the Volga region, and Siberia depicted the denomination in glowing terms.Many of these authors eventually translated their theories into ethnic cleansing by consulting for the In 1945 when the Third Reich collapsed, church institutions on both sides of the Atlantic worked to suppress allegations of Mennonite collaboration.Such deliberations have resulted, to much fanfare, in Mennonites accepting apologies for the persecution of sixteenth-century Anabaptists during the Reformation.Whether our church is willing to extend the same grace toward victims of a much larger and more recent outpouring of violence, remains to be seen.
In 2017, Mennonite periodicals carried pieces that alternately excused genocidal killings by invoking Jewish communists, and denied that Jews were murdered near Mennonite colonies.“The National Socialist movement,” he wrote, “recognized this danger [of ‘Judeo-Bolshevism’] from the beginning and built that into its essence.” Little more than a decade later, Rosenberg felt that the Second World War had vindicated his position.Traveling in 19 through Nazi-controlled Ukraine as Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, he announced to crowds in the Mennonite colonies of Chortitza and Molotschna that tables were finally turned.Sponsored by seven Mennonite religious and educational institutions, including Mennonite Church USA, this conference brings together leading scholars of Anabaptism and of the Holocaust from five countries.A film screening and the keynote lecture by Doris Bergen—who is Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto—are free and open to the public. Mennonite experiences of and involvement in the Holocaust differed widely.Yet almost none of this literature has broached the Holocaust specifically—a sign that major soul-searching remains for Mennonites.On a global scale, Mennonite World Conference and its member entities have recently participated in dialogue with Lutherans, Catholics, and others. Blaming Jews and Bolsheviks for oppressing Mennonites, the paper condemned Western democracies for ignoring their plight.In one front-page article, editor Alfred Rosenberg—who had led the Nazi Party while Hitler was in prison—offered what he considered a solution.In 1929, popular opinion had pressured German politicians to help approximately 4,000 of the Mennonite refugees in Moscow relocate to Germany.The event became a founding myth of the Third Reich, inspiring novels and two of the Nazis’ most important early films, In general, Mennonites became symbolic of Aryans’ supposed ability to maintain German cultural traditions abroad.