Voth, Andreas (1821-1885)
Andreas Voth, a Mennonite Brethren educator in Russia, was born in 1821 at Brenkenhoffswalde, Brandenburg, immigrated to Russia with his parents in 1834 and settled in Gnadenfeld in the Molotschna Mennonite settlement. Voth had a better than ordinary education, with Wilhelm and Friedrich Lange and Heinrich Franz as his teachers. He served as a village teacher at Pastwa and Halbstadt. In 1853 he left teaching to enter business, but though he was not very successful in business and was burdened by it, he still spent much of his time and energy sacrificially. He rejected the office of minister, feeling himself unworthy of it, but served as a deacon. Voth possessed special gifts for mediation. He mediated between the ministers and teachers, between teachers and Russian officials, and between the Mennonite body and the Russian government. In all circles he enjoyed respect and confidence. His service as chairman of the Molotschna school board 1871-83 was very fruitful. He created a fund of 2,000 rubles for promising young men who wanted to prepare for teaching. Under his leadership the entire school system was reformed. The Halbstadt Zentralschule added a two-year pedagogical course for village teachers, followed later by other Zentralschulen. Voth founded the first secondary school for girls in his own home and at his own risk. He also played an essential role in revitalizing the teachers' conferences. When he retired from the board the Molotschna settlement and its subsidiaries had a unified program of instruction. In 1877 the Russian government gave him a medal in recognition of his educational work. Unfortunately, in his good nature, Voth allowed himself to be used as a tool by the wealthier landowners to try to secure special favors for them from the government at St. Petersburg. For this he was severely censured by the government minister. He vowed that he would never again act in that capacity. In consequence these men abandoned him, disregarding the great sacrifices he had made. He died on 17 June 1885, an economically ruined man. He had laid the foundations upon which Klett and Heese were able to build the educational system to new heights.
Braun, Peter. Der Molotschnaer Mennoniten Schulrat, 1869-1919. Zum Gedanktag seines 50jährigen Bestehens. Wladimir Suess, ed. Goettingen: Der Goettinger Arbeitskreis, 2001.
Friesen, P. M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911: 494, 646, 648.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 442.
Cite This Article
Braun, Abraham. "Voth, Andreas (1821-1885)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 Oct 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Voth,_Andreas_(1821-1885)&oldid=146320.
Braun, Abraham. (1959). Voth, Andreas (1821-1885). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 October 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Voth,_Andreas_(1821-1885)&oldid=146320.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 857-858. All rights reserved.
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