Baerg, Abraham Abraham (1890-1937?)
Abraham Abraham Baerg: teacher and minister; born 16 January 1890 in Bijuk-Busau, Crimea, South Russia, to Abraham and Maria (Dueck) Baerg. He was the third of 11 children in the family. He was baptized on 7 June 1910 and joined the Bijuk-Busau Mennonite Church. Shortly after the First World War, he married Anna Dueck of Neukirch, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, south Russia. The couple had six children, four girls and two boys, five of whom survived to adulthood. Abraham worked as a teacher and farmer, as well as serving as a minister in the Neukirch Mennonite Church. In 1937, he was arrested and exiled to Arkhangelsk (Archangel), far north on the White Sea. His family never saw him again, and he is presumed to have died there.
As a child, Abraham attended school in Bijuk-Busan, where his father served as a minister in the church, before going to Ohrloff in the Molotschna Mennonite Settlement for three years of Zentralschule. After his graduation, he studied to be a teacher and then obtained a position in Borongar, Crimea. In 1917, he married Anna Dueck from Neukirch. She was the daughter of Peter Dueck, who was a Vorsänger (song leader) at the Neukirch Mennonite Church. Abraham gave up teaching so that he and Anna could live in Neukirch, where they bought some land and began to farm.
In 1930, Baerg was elected minister at the Neukirch Mennonite Church. As a result, he was disenfranchised, losing all of his rights as a citizen, particularly employment opportunities. Later, he also lost his farm. In 1932, the Baergs lived in the Neukirch church warden’s house. Abraham tried to earn a living using his two horses as a team to help out on the neighboring collective farm, but his income was low. Despite increasing difficulties, he continued preaching and recorded that in 1932, he often preached in both the morning and afternoon services each Sunday.
Over the next years, Baerg continued to experience difficulties due to his position as minister in the church. Between January and June of 1933, he was fined 1,000 rubles, an amount he could not pay. The children lost their rights to attend the local school, and the family lived in poverty. In 1934, when the Baergs were forced to leave Neukirch, they went to live in Gross-Tokmak. On 25 January 1937, Abraham was arrested and sent to Dnepropetrovsk for trial. He was exiled to Siberia for an eight-year sentence. The last trace of him was from Arkhangelsk on the White Sea, where he presumably died.
Two of Abraham and Anna Baerg’s sons, two daughters, and a son-in-law were deported in 1941. Anna, two of her daughters, and a granddaughter escaped to Germany, where they stayed until they were able to move to Canada in 1948. Anna died in Leamington, Ontario in 1954.
Abraham Abraham Baerg was a dedicated minister who suffered many hardships for his faith. Despite all of the difficulties he encountered, he remained faithful to his calling and was an example of endurance for his family and the community around him.
Baerg Family information.
Busau Mennonite Church records.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.05 ed. Fresno, CA:, 2010: #532294.
Huebert, Helmut T. 1937: Stalin’s Year of Terror. Winnipeg: Springfield Publishers, 2009: 206.
Die Mennonitische Rundschau (6 January 1954): 14-15.
Toews, Aron A. Mennonitische Märtyrer: der jüngsten Vergangenheit und der Gegenwart, 2 vols. [Abbotsford, B.C.] : Selbstverlag des Verfassers, 1949-1954: v. I, 304-308.
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MLA style: Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. "Baerg, Abraham Abraham (1890-1937?)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2011. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/baerg_abraham_abraham_1890_1937.
APA style: Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. (January 2011). Baerg, Abraham Abraham (1890-1937?). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/baerg_abraham_abraham_1890_1937.