Mont des Oiseaux (Alsace, France)
Mont des Oiseaux (German, Vogelsberg) was the location of a Mennonite children's home in Northern Alsace located within a few rods of the German border near the village of Weiler some three miles (5 km) from Wissembourg, commonly called the Weiler Children's Home. In the summer of 1945 the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) , with the help of several French relief organizations, opened the Weiler Children's Home under the direction of Mme. Roger Georges, for the purpose of giving good food and care to approximately forty undernourished or temporarily homeless war-suffering children between the ages of two and six years. As soon as conditions permitted, the MCC sent food, clothing, and American personnel to the home. The home was surrounded by a beautiful forest which provided unusual opportunity for educational and recreational activities.
In the spring of 1947 Mme. Georges was replaced by an American representative, Mary Byler. During the years that followed, a state-recognized kindergarten was opened, summer Bible camps were organized for children between the ages of 7 and 14, and the main building was enlarged and equipped with modern conveniences. More significant than these physical changes, however, were the changes in the nature and purpose of the work. With time, the need for war relief naturally decreased and the home, trying always to help where the need seemed die greatest, found itself caring for children from divorced or separated parents, illegitimate children, or children whose parents were ill. Increased attention was given to the mission opportunities these homes and children presented.
In 1951 the "Association Fraternelle Mennonite," an official organization of the French Mennonite churches, purchased the children's home property for 6,000,000 French francs (approximately $17,142) plus a 25 per cent sales tax. Then followed a five-year period of transition as Mennonite Central Committee help decreased and French participation increased. By the fall of 1956 the home was operating independent of MCC help (except for continued shipments of food and clothing) and under the direction of Regina Nussbaumer, Basel, Switzerland. It was probable that within the near future the home receive mentally retarded children in order to meet what appeared to be the most urgent need and also in order to receive increased governmental financial support.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 742. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Classen, Mary Byler. "Mont des Oiseaux (Alsace, France)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M6555.html.
APA style: Classen, Mary Byler. (1957). Mont des Oiseaux (Alsace, France). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M6555.html.