Rempel, Hermann Abraham (19th/20th century)
Hermann Abraham Rempel, the first elder of the Mennonite congregations at Karassan in the Crimea, then the founder and elder of the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren at that place. Educated in his parental home of Gnadenfeld and later in the Zentralschule in Halbstadt, he obtained a position as teacher in the Mennonite elementary school at Karassan. At the same time he was a member of the Mennonite school council in the Crimea, but he gave up his calling as a teacher and became a farmer. In 1903 he was chosen preacher and after the retirement of Elder Abraham Friesen he was chosen as elder of the Karassan congregation. His election as elder must have taken place after 1910, since in Friesen's book Abraham Friesen is named as the last elder here in 1910.
Following a Bible conference in 1920 a doubt stirred in Hermann Rempel "whether he had really been born again." One day he turned to Abraham H. Unruh with the words, "I was indeed at least born again when I went to baptism, but my conversion was not normal." Unruh reported later about this: "Later he asked me to go with him to the field. There we knelt down and Brother Rempel on his knees before the Lord judged his entire life down into the smallest detail. Deeply moved he rose from his knees and from that hour there was in him a deep calm assurance, and a sure course in pastoral care." From now on he worked together with the other preachers toward a "revival of his brotherhood." He was oppressed to see that "many members of the congregation lived indifferent lives," and he retired from his office as elder after Unruh had prevented him, when he was still the official elder, from accusing so-called believing members of his congregation of unfaithfulness and publicly challenging them to leave the congregation. He justified his withdrawal from office by saying that he was no longer in a position to distribute the communion emblems to "unconverted persons." After this he left the church "with a large group of like-minded persons" and with them in 1921 founded the "Evangelische Mennoniten-Brüderschaft" in the Crimea, serving as their elder. They built a meetinghouse in the Lustigtal. In the course of time this brotherhood developed into a rather large congregation, "in close working fellowship with the Mennonite Brethren and in Bible conferences also with the Karassan Mennonite church."
In the fall of 1929 Rempel came with his family to the gates of Moscow to emigrate; like many others he was forcibly sent back and went to Memrik. Therewith began for him and his family a difficult road of suffering. In order to maintain his family he had to work in stone quarries and coal mines at Yuzovka (today Stalino in the Donets basin). He, however, did not give up even here in Memrik the ministry to the Mennonite brotherhood. During a vacation he even visited once again his orphaned congregations in the Crimea in order to serve them. Later he was banished to Siberia, to which place his wife voluntarily followed him. Also three of his sons were sent into exile. Of the daughters some probably remained in Memrik. In exile father, mother, and two of the sons, it is definitely known, found a martyr's death and one day also the third son became silent; it is to be assumed that he also became a martyr.
Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911: 709.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: III, 469.
Toews, Aron A. Mennonitische Märtyrer. Winnipeg, 1949: 90 ff.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 298. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Rempel, Alexander. "Rempel, Hermann Abraham (19th/20th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/rempel_hermann_abraham_19th_20th_century.
APA style: Rempel, Alexander. (1959). Rempel, Hermann Abraham (19th/20th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/rempel_hermann_abraham_19th_20th_century.