Nickel, Abraham D. (1887-1935)
Abraham D. Nickel, an elder of the Mennonites of Russia, was born 29 October 1887 in Steinfeld, a village in the Gnadenfeld district of Taurida, South Russia, the fifth child of David D. Nickel and Margaretha Dück of Grossweide. His father was the teacher of the village school in Steinfeld, and was later the elder of the Rudnerweide Mennonite Church. He was educated in the Zentralschule in Gnadenfeld, and the teacher-training courses at Halbstadt, and in his 18th year became a teacher, an office he held for 14 years. On 22 May 1906 he was baptized by his father upon the confession of his faith. In 1912 he married Katherina Käthler of Ebenfeld in South Russia. They had seven children. During World War I he was drafted to serve the state as bookkeeper of a medical corps.
In 1922 Nickel was chosen by his congregation to the ministry and in 1927 to the eldership, and was ordained by his father, whom he succeeded. In 1924 he moved to Grossweide, the neighbor village to Rudnerweide, where the church was located, and from here he served the congregation as its last elder. In 1934 the church was closed and taken over as a clubhouse by the Soviet government. Then all religious services were forbidden and he in consequence had to leave his church work in January 1935. At that time the Rudnerweide congregation ceased to exist. The shepherd was overpowered and the flock scattered.
In 1923 Nickel became ill with inflammatory rheumatism, which crippled both feet. At first he was able to move about with crutches, but later he had to be carried to church in a chair. In this way he served his church until the end. Deprived of all rights and means of subsistence by the Soviet government, he and his family suffered severe hunger. In 1935 he escaped to the Caucasus with the aid of some friends and found a place of refuge in the village of Sablya near Dolinovka. There he developed an intestinal cancer and died on 3 June 1935.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 869. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Nickel, J. D. "Nickel, Abraham D. (1887-1935)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N5352.html.
APA style: Nickel, J. D. (1957). Nickel, Abraham D. (1887-1935). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N5352.html.