Allgemeiner Mennonitischer Kongress (Russia)
The Allgemeiner Mennonitischer Kongress was the name of an organization of all Mennonites in Russia to represent their economic and cultural interests. This Kongress came into being immediately after the Revolution in 1917 through the efforts of the Molotschnaer Mennonitische Verein. The first and only Kongress convened in Ohrloff, Molotschna, 14-18 August 1917. A total of 198 delegates took part, representing the various Mennonite settlements, groups, and interests. Benjamin H. Unruh was elected first chairman and Johann Heinrich Janzen functioned as recording secretary.
Reports were heard from representatives of the various Mennonite settlements, the young men in alternative service, etc. Lectures were given on matters pertaining to the new provisional government, the ownership of land, agriculture in general, the Mennonite schools, etc. The delegates worked in four sections—political, cultural, legal, and organizational. It was decided to establish a permanent Allgemeiner Mennonitischer Kongress to regulate and administer the public civic matters of all Mennonite communities similarly to the Bundeskonferenz in the spiritual realm. Lawyers, engineers, farmers and university-trained educators and theologians discussed vital questions of this crucial day on a high level. Approximately 75 percent of the delegates had secondary school training, of whom 15 percent had university training. The matter of education, the men in alternative service, and the relationship of the Mennonites to the new Kerensky government were some of the major concerns of the Kongress. The Kongress would very likely have become the most important organization of the Mennonites of Russia if political developments had not doomed it to a premature death.
The newly founded Kongress never convened again for several reasons: the civil war made an all-Russian Mennonite meeting impossible for years; later the Verband der Bürger Holländischer Herkunft for the Ukraine and the Allrussischer Mennonitischer Landwirtschaftlicher Verein for the rest of Russia were organized; and the radical communistic course of the new government made the Kongress impossible.
<Protokoll des Allgemeinen Mennonitischen Kongresses in Ohrloff,Taurien, vom 14,-18. August 1917. Reprinted in Mennonitische Warte (January 1938 ff.)
Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius. "Allgemeiner Mennonitischer Kongress (Russia)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 17 Oct 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Allgemeiner_Mennonitischer_Kongress_(Russia)&oldid=132602.
Krahn, Cornelius. (1955). Allgemeiner Mennonitischer Kongress (Russia). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 October 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Allgemeiner_Mennonitischer_Kongress_(Russia)&oldid=132602.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 60-61. All rights reserved.
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