Friesen, Helena Siemens (1812-1888)

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Helena Siemens Friesen was an outspoken Mennonite pioneer. She was born 15 February 1812 to Clasz (1758-1834) and Catherina (Friesen) (1768-?) Siemens in the village of Rosenort, Molotschna Colony, South Russia and was the youngest of nine children. Helena married Abraham F. Friesen (1807-1891) 19 August 1830. Together they had 11 children, five of which died in infancy between 1838 and 1846.

Abraham was elected as a minister of the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde on 5 January 1846 and served until 1872. In that year Abraham renounced the Kleine Gemeinde led by Bishop Peter Toews over a family scandal for which he and Helena had been blamed. During a two week trip to Molotschna Helena and Abraham had left their son and a hired maid, who was also Helena's niece, in charge of the farm. Not long after it was found that the maid was pregnant and upon investigation into the matter, church leaders determined Helena and Abraham were mostly to blame. Bishop Peter Toews described Helena's response to the church's inquiries as "totally indiscrete and vain." This was not the first time Helena had been admonished by church leaders. Years earlier she had offended them by wearing a new dress to church which did not demonstrate the appropriate "humility and modesty" required of a minister's wife. Eventually Helena and her husband joined the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde led by Elder Abraham L. Friesen that immigrated to the United States in 1874 and settled in Jansen, Nebraska, where Helena Siemens Friesen died 1 September 1888.


Friesen, Ralph. "Totally Indiscreet and Vain: Helena Siemens Friesen 1812-88."  Preservings No. 7 (December 1995): 36-37.

Author(s) Sharon H. H Brown
Date Published March 2006

Cite This Article

MLA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. "Friesen, Helena Siemens (1812-1888)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2006. Web. 17 Nov 2018.,_Helena_Siemens_(1812-1888)&oldid=56503.

APA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. (March 2006). Friesen, Helena Siemens (1812-1888). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 November 2018, from,_Helena_Siemens_(1812-1888)&oldid=56503.

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