Pavlodar Mennonite Settlement (Pavlodar Province, Kazakhstan)
Pavlodar Mennonite Settlement is located in the Pavlodar Region, formerly Semipalatinsk Region, Kazakhstan. This settlement was established in 1906 by Mennonites coming from the various European settlements. The first settler to come to this area was David Cornies, who bought the equivalent of three quarters of a section of land on the Irtysh River near the city of Pavlodar. He and his family left Melitopol, Ukraine, on 13 April 1906, and traveled by train to Omsk, Siberia. Here they embarked on a ship and arrived at the city of Pavlodar on 9 May. The distance between Omsk and Pavlodar is approximately 342 miles. The first settlement, Rebrovka, was established on the west side of the Irtysh River on purchased land opposite Pavlodar, which is located on the east side. During the 1920s the village Rebrovka was transplanted to the east side of the Irtysh in the vicinity of the Mennonite villages of Tursun-Bay and Mosde-Kul. The rest of the land was located on the right side of the Irtysh and was obtained through the government free of charge similar to that of the Slavgorod settlement. The land was sandy. When the settlers came they found no trees. They raised wheat, oats, barley, linseed, and watermelons in abundance.
Pavlodar had some advantage over the Slavgorod settlement in that some of the settlers were located only some 15 miles from the city and thus had an easy access to market. During World War I, when the Pavlodar-Kulunda-Slavgorod-Tatarsk railroad was built, contact was established with the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which increased the market and traveling facilities of the settlers considerably. Most of the settlers were poor and the pioneering difficulties were great. The winter was severe and the summer hot and dusty. The Mennonites planted trees around their homes. When P. F. Froese visited the settlement during the summer of 1924 he stated that a Mennonite settlement could be recognized from a great distance. He describes four types of villages in the area. The native Kirghiz population lives during the summer in a special summer aul, and during the winter in a dugout. The Russian village consists of whitewashed adobe houses without any trees or shrubs. The Mennonite houses were also built of adobe or unburned brick patterned after their European architectural styles, but they were surrounded by trees. Most of the surrounding population was Kirghiz.
In addition to Rebrovka there were four groups (uchastki) of villages: (1) TasKuduk was located 15 miles east of the Irtysh near Pavlodar and consisted of Gnadental, Steinfeld, and Halbstadt. (2) Taldy-Kuduk was located 20 miles east of the Irtysh and consisted of Konstantinovka and Rovnopolye. (3) Tursun-Bay, located 50 miles east of the Irtysh, consisted of Nadarovka, Reinfeld (Tchistopolye), and Olgino. (4) Mosde-Kul, located 60 miles east of Pavlodar, consisted of Sabarovka, Sofieyevka, Dominskoye, and Rayevka.
The Mosde-Kul group of villages or settlement was the closest to the city of Slavgorod, which these settlers used for marketing their products after the railroad had been completed by 1918.
The nomadic Kirghiz were accustomed to driving their herds of horses from one place to another. In the early days there were some misunderstandings, but soon they became acquainted and got along well. The Kirghiz would come to the Mennonites begging for bread, which they had never known before, since their diet was primarily confined to meat and milk. Some flour mills were established in the villages. Schools were conducted in every village, and worship services were held in private homes or in schools. The Pavlodar Mennonite Church and the Pavlodar Mennonite Brethren Church often worshiped together.
In 1925 the population of the Pavlodar settlement was 2,736. A report of the administration of the co-operative, named the Cornies-Verband (Der praktische Landwirt (June-July 1926): 8 ff.), gives an insight as to what happened to the settlement during the Revolution and after. It was doubtless very much the same picture as that described in connection with the Slavgorod Mennonite settlement. Even in 1926 only eight of 12 village schools were operating because of lack of teachers, in spite of the fact that the settlement had a Zentralschule in Sabarovka started in 1918, which was supported by private individuals until 1924, at which time the Cornies-Verband took it over (see Pavlodar Zentralschule).
The Cornies-Verband was represented in all villages, and its 450 members constituted 90 per cent of the families. A report states that many had only one horse and some did not even have one cow. The primary objective of the co-operative was to obtain loans through the government to improve the seed and the cattle and do business for the community. Four dairies, one in each of the settlements, were in operation in 1925. The reporter reveals in his concluding remark that the Cornies-Verband was being influenced by the Marxian terminology when he stated, "We would like to urge all readers loyally and without weariness to continue the work of the co-operative so that we can achieve the goal desired by our forerunner, N. J. Lenin." Later all village schools of the Pavlodar settlement were functioning, and the level of the cultural and religious life rose once again.
Some Mennonites from European Russia probably joined the Pavlodar settlement during World War II and after. A letter written by Johann and M. Dück states that the "Memrik Mennonites who were evacuated were sent mostly to Pavlodar and the Altay regions" (Bote (4 April 1956): 7). To what extent these evacuees were placed in the Mennonite villages of Pavlodar is not clear. About conditions in the Pavlodar Mennonite settlement during the late 1950s a letter by Agnetha Boldt revealed that many of those who were exiled during the Stalin regime had died, but those who had survived and were living there were doing well ("es geht ihnen gut") (Menn. Rundschau (2 May 1956): 5).
Anger, Helmut. Die Deutschen in Sibirien . . . Berlin, 1930.
Fast, Gerhard. In den Steppen Sibiriens. Rosthern, 1957.
Froese, P. F. "Durch die Mennoniten-Dorfer in Sibirien." A. A. Friesen collection, Mennonite Library and Archives (North Newton, Kansas, USA).
Der praktische Landwir, (1925-27).
Unruh, A. H. Die Geschichte der Mennoniten-Brüdergemeinde 1860-1954. Winnipeg, 1954: 367.
Unser Blatt (1926-28): passim.
Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius. "Pavlodar Mennonite Settlement (Pavlodar Province, Kazakhstan)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 Jan 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Pavlodar_Mennonite_Settlement_(Pavlodar_Province,_Kazakhstan)&oldid=93254.
Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Pavlodar Mennonite Settlement (Pavlodar Province, Kazakhstan). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 January 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Pavlodar_Mennonite_Settlement_(Pavlodar_Province,_Kazakhstan)&oldid=93254.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 128-129. All rights reserved.
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