The Russlaender Mennonites: War, Dislocation, and New Beginnings
July 14–15, 2023
In-Person and Livestreamed
A Conference Hosted by the Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies
at The University of Winnipeg
Between 1923 and 1929 some 21,000 Mennonites from the Soviet Union left a land decimated by violence, famine, and epidemic. They found shelter in far-off Canada, where government, church communities, and private businesses supported their immigration. These migrants, popularly known as the Russlaender Mennonites, made Canada their home. For the past hundred years, they have influenced the shape of Canadian Mennonite communities through their family networks, churches, economic pursuits (as labourers, professionals, and entrepreneurs), and in the world of politics, faith, arts, and service.
This centenary conference has invited papers from a variety of disciplines that explore the development of the Russlaender, from late imperial Russia, through war, revolution, and upheaval in the early Soviet Union, to their relocation to Canada. Papers might address factors that drove their immigration to Canada, and the inter-generational evolution of their identity and communities in Canada.