A Cruise Reading List
                    New:  See No. 10 below

                    1.  The best introduction to the 2018 Cruise
                The long awaited book of the 2010 cruise lectures by Paul Toews will be published in March by the University of Winnipeg. It will be a very handsome coffee table book, edited in scholarly fashion by Aileen Friesen and will include many historic images. Dr. Friesen will then update the lectures on the July cruise, using important research recovered in the past decade.
            You can order the book from this website.
2. Building on the Past - by architect and cruise resource leader, Rudy Friesen.    

                  This is a 750 page encyclopedia of photos, drawings and descriptions of the former Russian Mennonite settlements and villages, especially in Ukraine.

"No one whose ancestors came from Russia should be without a copy of this book. If you have visited the old Mennonite homelands or you intend to do so, this book is a must" - James Urry, author of None But Saints

This book is again available online from this website
            3. Out of print books you may still be able to find in various church and Mennonite historical libraries:
                        James Urry:  None But Saints
                        Al Reimer: My Harp is Tuned to Mourning

                   4.  A Mennonite Family in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union, 1789-1923
By David G. Rempel; Edited by Cornelia Rempel Carlson 
© 2003  The University of Toronto Press
ISBN 0-8020-3639.2

In this vivid and engaging study, David Rempel combines his first-hand account of life in Russian Mennonite settlements during the landmark period of 1900-1920, with a rich portrait of six generations of his ancestral family from the foundation of the first colony - the Khortitsa Settlement - in 1789 to the country's cataclysmic civil war

Published posthumously just over a decade ago, this book offers a penetrating view of one of Tsarist and early Soviet Russia's smallest, yet most dynamic, ethno-religious minorities.  Rempel was able to have important access to Soviet archives in the 1960s. Alas, he ran out of time to organize his notes into book form. Nonetheless, a whole generation of Mennonite historians fortunately had access to various parts of his research.

"A Mennonite Family is a remarkable book. A balanced combination of scholarly research and family reminiscence, the book opens up new vistas of one of Russia's more important yet neglected religious minorities, the Low German-speaking Menonite settlement in the Dnieper River region of southern Ukraine. The ethnography is as interesting as the political history, but most gripping is the account of the terrible ordeals faced by the Settlement during Russia's years of bloody civil war, revolution and counterrevolution."  Reginald E. Zelnick, Professor of History, University of California.

The book can be ordered online from the University of Toronto Press:
A direct link to the book
you may need to sign up as a member - it's free   under "Add to Cart"  click on "add to wish list". Then you set up a free account and finish the purchase.


            5. A Mennonite Estate Family In Southern Ukraine 1904-1924
By Nicholas J. Fehderau: Edited by Anne Konrad 
ISBN 978-1-926599-31-1

Nicholas J. Fehderau (1904-1989) was the youngest son of a Mennonite estate family in Southern Ukraine. "Kolya", as he was known to his friends and family, loved God, poetry, music and his Ukrainian homeland. A self-described "sensitive soul" and quiet child, he would overhear and recall entire conversations. Over a period of eighteen years (1953-1970) he wrote his memoir, "From the heights into the Depths", by hand in German. Now with a new title, his memoir has been translated, condensed and edited by Anne Konrad. It was published in 2013.

Cruise passengers will be particularly interested in Fehderau's vivid memories of Halbstadt (Molochansk), Molochna Settlement, now important again as the site of the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine. Members of the Fehderau family will be on the 2018 cruise.

A direct link to order the book from Pandora Press

                6. Shepherds, Servants and Prophets

Leadership among the Russian Mennonites (ca. 1880-1960) Edited by Harry Loewen 2003

This volume presents twenty-four short biographies of some of the spiritual, intellectual and cultural Russian-Mennonite leaders who sought to serve and guide their people through difficult times. The period from 1880 to 1960 was chosen because it was during this time that Russian Mennonites experienced the most revolutionary changes in their history: great intellectual, cultural and material strides, World War I and the Communist Revolution, the collapse of their "Mennonite Commonwealth," the Stalinist Terror, emigration, their suffering during World War II, and their resettlement in new countries.

The book includes an extended article on Peter J. Braun, whose important Molochna Archive was found in Odessa in 1991. We will see artifacts from this archive on the 2018 Mennonite Heritage Cruise.

A direct link to order the book from Pandora Press

                7. Path of Thorns (
Tiefenwege): Soviet Mennonite Life under Communist and Nazi Rule
By Jacob A. Neufeld
Edited, with an Introduction and Analysis, by Harvey L. Dyck
Translated from the German by Harvey L. Dyck and Sarah Dyck
© 2014

Under Bolshevik and Nazi rule, nearly one-third of all Soviet Mennonites – including more than half of all adult men – perished, while a large number were exiled to the east and the north by the Soviet secret police (NKVD). Others fled westward on long treks, seeking refuge in Germany during the Second World War. However, at war’s end, the majority of the USSR refugees living in Germany were sent to the Soviet Gulag, where many died.

Path of Thorns is the story of Jacob Abramovich Neufeld (1895–1960), a prominent Soviet Mennonite leader and writer, as well as one of these Mennonites sent to the Gulag. Consisting of three parts – a Gulag memoir, a memoir-history, and a long letter from Neufeld to his wife – this volume mirrors the life and suffering of Neufeld’s generation of Soviet Mennonites. In the words of editor and translator Harvey L. Dyck, “Neufeld’s writings elevate a simple story of terror and survival into a remarkable chronicle and analysis of the cataclysm that swept away his small but significant ethno-religious community.”

The book can be ordered online from the University of Toronto Press:
A direct link to the book
you may need to sign up as a member - it's free   under "Add to Cart"  click on "add to wish list". Then you set up a free account and finish the purchase.

A grandson of Jacob Abramovich Neufeld also has some copies of the book for sale.  Please let cruise organizer Walter Unger (walterunger@ica.net) know if you would like to get in touch with the grandson.

            8.  Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine
by Anne Appelbaum
The book is available from Amazon
During the horrific famine of 1932–3, did Ukrainian peasants die because they were Ukrainians or because they were peasants? This blunt question is at the heart of scholarly debate on the famine: while some believe that the famine was a deliberate attempt to crush Ukrainian nationalism (and thus can be considered an act of genocide), others see it as a product of Soviet agricultural mismanagement and Bolshevik indifference to the peasants’ fate. Harvard Mennonite historian Terry Martin suggests a compromise he calls the ‘national interpretation of the famine’.
Applebaum too deals with both causes. She says it was initially caused by Russian Soviet warring nationalism and then implemented by Soviet agricultural policy. In the late 1920s, the Soviet Union abandoned the New Economic Policy in favour of collectivisation, requisitioning and dekulakisation. The Bolsheviks sought to force peasants to join collective farms. They imposed grain quotas, the yields of which were to finance industrial growth through exports. Requisitioning brigades went into the village to take its produce and employed violence to overcome opposition. Accompanying this was a campaign to liquidate the so-called kulak class, the supposedly richer peasants. Farmers identified as kulaks lost their farms and were exiled to the Soviet Union’s inhospitable regions. Peasants resisted, using methods from violence to hoarding. This created a crisis in Soviet agriculture that led to widespread starvation throughout the Soviet Union.

9.  Nestor Makhno and the Eichenfeld Massacre
by Harvey Dyck, John Staples, John B. Toews
The book may be available from Amazon


This book was published in 2004, after the memorial stone was dedicated in 2001. In it are a llst of the 136 people massacred in Adelsheim, Hochfeld, Paulsheim, Petersdorf, including the 82 massacred in Eichenfeld.

10. Peace and War. Mennonite Conscientious Objectors in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union
          published in 2016 by Lawrence Klippenstein   

$30.00 a copy plus postage can be ordered at email  
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