Martens, Kornelius K. (1880- ?)
Kornelius K. Martens, a Russian Mennonite Brethren teacher and elder, was born 15 November 1880, in Wernersdorf, Molotschna, South Russia, the oldest of the five children of Kornelius Johann Martens and Helena (Wolf) Martens. After his father's death his mother married David Huebert of Margenau, who had four sons. To this second marriage eight children were born. On 3 July 1903 K. K. Martens married Sarah Friesen, a daughter of Julius Friesen of Waldheim, Molotschna. They had eight children. Of these Kornelius and Sarah were teachers, Tusnelda a physician, and Elfriede a nurse. After the death of his first wife, Martens married (6 July 1934) Anna Klassen, a daughter of David Klassen of Ekaterinoslav. Martens received his education in the Gnadenfeld Zentralschule, the Normal School in Halbstadt, and the University of St. Petersburg, besides much private study. He was a member of the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church. In 1914 he was ordained for the ministry and later he became the elder (bishop) and leader of the MB Church of Sparrau.
After completing his course at Halbstadt Martens taught a village school in Siberia for three years. In 1903-1912 he taught school at Ignatyevo; he founded a Zentralschule in Nikolayevka. Following that he continued his education in St. Petersburg (1912-1914). In 1914-1922 he served as teacher and rector (principal) of the Gnadenfeld Zentralschule. During the time of his residence in Gnadenfeld he was also inspector of the schools of the volost of Gnadenfeld. For two years he was the "Oberschulze" of the volost. In 1922 he was forced to resign from his teaching and rectorship, because he refused to join the Communist organization. He then moved to Grossweide, where he began farming. While he resided there, he became a member of the Church Commission (KfK), having been elected at the General Conference (Bundeskonferenz) in Moscow in 1925. He was elected as editor, treasurer, and secretary of the Mennonite paper Unser Blatt, which was published in Melitopol. For this paper he wrote a number of valuable articles. His other writings could not be published, because the printing of Christian books was prohibited at that time. Only a few of his poems, such as "Die letzte Nacht im Vaterhause" and "Die alte Weide," have found their way into some of the American papers. Martens also had an active part in the work of the printing association "Raduga" of Halbstadt. In the cause of nonresistance he was one of the official representatives of the Mennonites.
In 1930 Martens and his family were forced to leave their home in Grossweide and to seek refuge in various villages. Two years later he was asked to teach German and Latin at the University of Stalino, Donbass. On 6 August 1937 he was arrested and after one year he was sentenced to a ten-year exile in Siberia. Shortly before the arrest he said, "Soon my turn will come and my whole crime is that I have faithfully served my Lord and Saviour." He was not heard from after 1938.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 513-514. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Huebert, G. D. "Martens, Kornelius K. (1880- ?)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M37813.html.
APA style: Huebert, G. D. (1957). Martens, Kornelius K. (1880- ?). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M37813.html.