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Mennonite Alternative Service in Russia

The Story of Abram Duck and His Colleagues 1911-1917


Klippenstein, Lawrence/Dick, Jacob


Pandora Press



$20.00  ($CDN)


•  ISBN: 1894710215


In 1911, at the age of 21, Abram Duck of Schonfeld, Ukraine, was ordered to report to the Azov forestry camp near Mariapol to begin his obligatory term of service. By that year, the forestry service, or Forstei, had been in existence for some 30 years as a Mennonite alternative to military service in Russia. It had played an important role in Mennonite life, both for the communities as a whole in their relationship to the Russian government and the society around them and for the thousands of young Mennonite men whose lives had been touched by the experience. ... Combining a general overview with more individual histories,(Lawrence)Klippenstein's and (Jacob)Dick's book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the place of alternative service in the lives of the Russian Mennonites in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and perhaps gives us a new appreciation of the legacy of that service for the generations that followed. ----Saskatchewan Mennonite Historian reviewed by Ron Peters


This book gives a brief but comprehensive overview of Mennonites in Russia in relation to World War I. It includes a detailed diary of John Mathies and numerous photographs by Abram Dueck, illustrating their experiences. Both men had volunteered to serve as Sanitaeter with the Red Cross when war broke out in 1914. ...Forestry camps were organized and Mennonites were expected to finance the costs of operating them. Some men served on hospital trains, and some even joined active military service. ----Mennonite Historian, December, 2002 Reviwed by John J. Bergen, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta