Koejemans, Anthoon Johan (1903-1982)
Anthoon Johan "Koej" Koejmans, communist and later Mennonite commentator on public affairs, whose idealism led him to become a member of the Communist Party in The Netherlands at age 17. In 1929 he became editor of the Dutch Communist daily paper, De Tribune, and during World War II editor-in-chief of the illegal paper De Waarheid (1943; The Truth). As a member of the party executive (1944) he was responsible also for dialogue between communists and Christians. A change in party organization at the beginning of the "Cold War" (December 1947-January 1948), led to his being relieved of all responsibilities including membership in the party "senate."
In 1955 he renounced his membership in the Communist Party. In 1958 he was baptized in the Mennonite church in Amsterdam by Frits Kuiper. In a statement requesting his reception as a member of the Amsterdam congregation he wrote, "I know that especially the Mennonites in the Soviet Union have been subjected to extreme persecution. I cannot separate myself from that fact by saying 'I did not know about it. I am guilty of the suffering and death of untold numbers there. I feel that my request to join your congregation will help mitigate a small fraction of my guilt. . ."
He continued the communist-Christian dialogue in his books, searching and evaluating. His book God in Berlin, however, is not critical enough about the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). He served as a member of the Amsterdam Mennonite church council (1960-1966) and, together with others, founded the paper In dit Amsterdam, serving as coeditor from 1961 to 1968. Koejemans was a warm Christian brother whose concerns centered particularly in truth and justice. He was convinced that we are living in revolutionary times, but that victory will ultimately come through Jesus Christ himself.
Books and articles by A. J. Koejemans after 1955:
Van "ja" tot 'Amen.' Amsterdam, 1963, 2nd edition. An autobiography.
Jezus in Magnitogorsk. Amsterdam, 1964.
Doperse ketterijen. Amsterdam, 1965. Collected speeches and articles.
David Wijnkoop. Amsterdam, 1967.
God in Berlijn. Amsterdam, 1973.
Mennist . . . Merkwaardig. Kollum, 1977.
"Ten Doopsgezinde patriot in West-Brabant en de geboorte van de eerste Nederlandse grondwet." Doopsgezinde Jaarboekje (1983), published posthumously.
See also Oosterbaan, A. "Anthon Johan Koejemans." Doopsgezinde Jaarboekje (1983).
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 495. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Welcker, J. M. "Koejemans, Anthoon Johan (1903-1982)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K63.html.
APA style: Welcker, J. M. (1987). Koejemans, Anthoon Johan (1903-1982). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/K63.html.