Rieger, Eva Berger (1883-1966)

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Eva Berger Rieger, Mennonite pioneer and amateur writer, was born on 8 June 1884, the oldest child of a poor Catholic family in Karlsdorf, Hungary. With hopes of finding a better life in Canada, she and her brother Martin attempted to leave Hungary in 1903. They managed to cross the border into Austria but once there, Martin, being of military age, was sent back. It was at this point that Eva was forced to make the biggest decision of her life. She decided to go on alone to Canada where she found her way to Winnipeg, Manitoba. While working in domestic service in Winnipeg she spent weekends visiting with friends in Steinbach, Manitoba and it was here that she met her future husband Sebastian Rieger (1883-1949) who had also emigrated from Hungary. They were married by a Catholic priest in Winnipeg on 18 November 1907 and made their home in Steinbach. Together they had six children, three sons and three daughters.

Although Eva had been baptized as an infant and raised in a Catholic home, she found herself without a church community in Steinbach. This created a personal spiritual struggle for Eva which led her to start visiting local churches. Her struggle came to an end on 5 January 1919 when she visited the Bruderthaler Church (later to become the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren). She loved the beautiful singing and was deeply moved by the sermon. Then on the way home by horse and sleigh "suddenly she felt herself surrounded with a beam of light. She felt lifted up and transferred to the heavenly kingdom." This conversion experience led Eva and her husband to eventually join the Bruderthaler Church where they remained faithful members for the rest of their lives.

Eva wrote poems throughout her life reflecting on her many experiences. In 1939 Eva returned to Hungary to visit her family. After returning from Europe in 1939 she decided to write the story of her life and faith journey including her poems as a legacy for her children. Eva’s inspiring story, “Erinnerungen und Erfahrungen von Frau S. Rieger, Steinbach, Manitoba ("Memories and Experiences"), was published in 1940. Eva Berger Rieger died on 17 October 1966.


Rieger, Henry. "Eva Berger Rieger (1883-1966)." Preservings No. 10 Part I (June 1997): 61-63.

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

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MLA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. "Rieger, Eva Berger (1883-1966)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2006. Web. 16 Nov 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Rieger,_Eva_Berger_(1883-1966)&oldid=77253.

APA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. (June 2006). Rieger, Eva Berger (1883-1966). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 November 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Rieger,_Eva_Berger_(1883-1966)&oldid=77253.

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