In West Prussia Mennonite immigrants from Holand founded the village of Orloff in 1550 in what was then Polish territory; until the collapse in 1945 it was still inhabited by Mennonites who belonged to the Ladekopp congregation. Mennonites from this village were among the first immigrants to Russia, who in 1789 founded the Chortitza settlement in Ekaterinoslav province, Ukraine. In later settlements the Mennonites frequently transferred the name of the home village to the new one, as they did in the settlement of Deutsch-Wymysle founded in 1762 in Poland, which in 1905 numbered 105 members and 51 children.
One of the oldest villages with this name in Russia is Orloff (Ohrloff) in the southwest of the Molotschna settlement in the province of Taurida. It was founded in 1807 by 21 Mennonite families from West Prussia and developed into one of the most important Mennonite communities in South Russia. The number of families had grown to 127 by 1910 in spite of emigration to daughter colonies, and the population to 548. The Orloff congregation, to which the neighboring villages of Tiege, Rosenort, and Blumenort belonged, had a membership in 1905 of 980, with 508 children. Johann Cornies was instrumental in having one of the first Zentralschulen built here in 1848, which was later replaced by a splendid new building (picture, Mennonitisches Lexikon III: 156). In 1908 a girls' school was opened here, and in 1910 a hospital (picture, Mennonitisches Lexikon III: 157). From 27-29 September 1894 representatives from all the Mennonite congregations in Russia met in conference here, in which it was urged that a theological division be added to the Zentralschule (Ediger: 55). A village in the Rückenau settlement of the Mennonite Brethren in the province of Taurida in 1860 was also named Orloff.
After the introduction of universal military duty in Prussia in 1848, one hundred Mennonite families in West Prussia received from the Russian government the permission to immigrate and to settle on the middle Volga in the province of Samara. Here they founded the Am Trakt settlement in 1855, which grew to 10 villages, and the Alt-Samara settlement (Alexandertal) in 1859 with 8 villages, one village in each settlement receiving the name Orloff. In the province of Kherson Mennonites from the Molotschna settlement founded the Zagradovka settlement in 1871, with 16 villages, one of them bearing the name of Orloff. Here a Zentralschule was built. In 1911 the village had a population of 297.
In the province of Ekaterinoslav, volost Golitsinovka, Bachmut district, the Memrik settlement came into being in 1885, with 10 villages on the Woltchya, a tributary of the Samara, which flows into the Dniepr. The settlers were Mennonites from the Molotschna, who built the village Orlovo (originally called Bahndorf) with (1910) 189 inhabitants. Besides agriculture they were engaged in cattle raising, especially the German red cow.
After 1907 Mennonite settlements were also made in Siberia. The largest settlement in the province of Omsk was Slavgorod (formerly Barnaul), with 58 villages, one of which was called Orloff (map, Mennonitisches Lexikon I: 126). And in the Tchunayevka settlement near the city of Omsk a village was given the name Orloff.
In South America the name Orloff in the Fernheim colony was given a village in Paraguay, which was settled in 1930 by Mennonite refugees from the Russian Amur region; in 1935 the village had 20 families.
Christlicher Familien Kalender. Halbstadt, 1914.
Dirks, Heinrich. Statistik der Mennonitengemeinden in Russland Ende 1905 (Anhang zum Mennonitischen Jahrbuche 1904/05). Gnadenfeld: Dirks, 1906.
Ediger, Heinrich. Beschlüsse der von den geistlichen und anderen Vertretern der Mennonitengemeinden Russlands abgehaltenen Konferenzen. Berdyansk, 1914.
Epp, D. H. Die Memriker Ansiedlung. Berdyansk, 1910.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: III, 309 f.
Mennonitisches Jahrbuch, No, 10. Berdyansk (1914).
Neuer Haus- und Landwirtschafts â€“ Kalender. Odessa, 1913.
Quiring, Jakob. Die Mundart von Chortitza in Süd-Russland. Munich, 1928.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 83-84. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Hege, Christian. "Orloff." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/O759.html.
APA style: Hege, Christian. (1959). Orloff. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/O759.html.