Schönwiese (Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine)
Schönwiese, a former Mennonite village, which became a suburb of Alexandrovsk (now Zaporizhia) on the Dnieper in 1911. After the destruction of Neu-Kronsweide, Schönwiese was the center of the Kronsweide Mennonite Church, with a church (erected in 1862) and a school. The settlement was founded on the "beautiful meadow" on the Moskwa, a tributary of the Dnieper, in 1797, by seventeen families of stragglers in the great emigration from West Prussia in 1789. They were given such large advances by the Russian government that they were able to build small homes the first winter in Russia.
It was a very important center for all the German settlements in Russia. Geographically the place offered many advantages with Alexandrovsk, a railroad center, in the north and the wide navigable Dnieper in the west. The largest milling firms and factories for the manufacture of mowers in all Russia were located in Schönwiese, all with Mennonite owners.
From the first, the milling industry here did a thriving business. In the 1850's and 1860's a dozen German windmills stood in a close circle. Peter Bock became a widely noted builder of mills, and employed as many as 50 workers in his factory; he supplied the entire Ukraine with wind- and treadmills. The settlers of Schönwiese at first engaged in agriculture and sheep raising, but soon found industry more profitable. They sold most of their land, keeping only the Dnieper lowlands. During World War I, when liquidation threatened, they sold even this land, about 3,240 acres, to the town of Alexandrovsk. Schönwiese suffered severely during the war and the Revolution, especially because it was the seat of a number of very prosperous Mennonite firms: Lepp and Wallmann, A. Koop, Hermann Niebuhr, Hildebrandt and Priess, and J. Badowsky (Lutheran). During the Civil War the front passed over Schönwiese 23 times, and all industry was halted. Not until the Soviet government had restored order could work be resumed, but then the plants were nationalized.
Among the older leaders there were some striking personalities. One of these was the minister Andreas Vogt (1854-1914). Since the Lutherans and Roman Catholics of the town had had no pastor for decades, "Uncle" (Ohm) Vogt helped all with their spiritual problems. Kornelius Hübert (1835-97) was a teacher, chorister, and faithful counselor in all kinds of spiritual and material, legal and commercial matters. A pupil of Heinrich Franz, he taught the village school for twenty years. (For later developments, see Zaporizhia.)
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 477. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Epp, David H. "Schönwiese (Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S36834.html.
APA style: Epp, David H. (1959). Schönwiese (Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/S36834.html.