Witmarsum (Krauel Mennonite Colony, Santa Catarina, Brazil)
Witmarsum, the central one of the three (the other two Gnadenthal and Waldheim) civil districts (villages) into which the Krauel Mennonite Colony in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, founded in February 1930, was divided. Witmarsum can be considered the capital of the Krauel Colony since it was the seat of the co-operative store (Cooperacion Agricola Witmarsum), the Zentralschule (each village had an elementary school), the hospital (established 1935, new building 1937), the creamery, and the starch factory; there was, however, no central seat of government. Each village had its own Schulze, while the Oberschulze or mayor of the entire settlement continued to live on his own farm in his home village. David Nikkel, the Oberschulze during most of the Krauel Colony history, did not live in Witmarsum. The two churches in the Krauel Colony, the Witmarsum Mennonite Church and Witmarsum Mennonite Brethren Church, first worshiped in the school buildings. In 1948 the Mennonite Brethren meetinghouse was built in Witmarsum; of the two Mennonite meetinghouses, the main one was built in Witmarsum in 1950.
The economic enterprises in Witmarsum consisted of two milk assembly and separating plants, a slaughterhouse and equipment, a large starch factory, two sawmills, a feed and flour mill, an electric generating plant, the colony co-operative store and all equipment. There were in addition a number of individually owned services, such as saddlers, shoemakers, blacksmiths, woodworking shops, and a small leather goods factory. Witmarsum originally had 70 of the 150 Krauel families. By 1934, the high point in Krauel population, Witmarsum had 341 of the 846 in the entire colony. There was little concentration of Krauel population, since families occupied farm tracts of 40-100 acres scattered along a 12-mile stretch of the 154 to 2 mile wide Rio Alto Krauel Valley. When the Krauel Colony was dissolved in 1952, Witmarsum also disappeared as a Mennonite settlement. Other settlers moved in, but it is not known whether the name was retained.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 967-968. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Bender, Harold S. and H. L. B.. "Witmarsum (Krauel Mennonite Colony, Santa Catarina, Brazil)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/witmarsum_krauel_mennonite_colony_santa_catarina.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. and H. L. B.. (1959). Witmarsum (Krauel Mennonite Colony, Santa Catarina, Brazil). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/witmarsum_krauel_mennonite_colony_santa_catarina.