Wednesday 16 May 2018

Visiting the Chortitza colony - part 1

A Mennonite house built in 1909 in Franzfeld (now part of Nikolaipole). It is currently the home base for a couple from Manitoba who are working with young adult orphans on a demonstration farm.

Former Mennonite Secondary School in Nikolaifeld (now also part of Nikolaipole). The building is still being used as a school.

Former teachers' residence on school grounds

Old barn on school grounds

Former Mennonite church, now used as the school gym.

The village of Neuendorf (now Shirokoye), where my paternal grandparents lived before coming to Canada.

Former village school building, now abandoned

Mennonite house

A former Mennonite house-barn, now used as a storage shed

Mennonite house, still in use

Neuendorf cemetery

A Mennonite headstone in the old Neuendorf cemetery

A drive through Neuendorf

The location of the Chortitza railway station. From here my paternal grandparents left for Canada on June 22, 1923.

The old oak tree in Chortitza. It is in poor condition now.

The former Chortitza girls' school. It is still being used as a school.

The former Chortitza secondary school

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Visiting the Molochna colony - part 2

Victor pointing out an inscription on a Mennonite gravestone at the Ohrloff cemetery

The Heinrich Reimer mansion in Juschanlee, on the site of Johann Cornies' experimental farm.

The mansion is now used as a hospital.

Old windmill ruin at Alexanderkrone

The village of Kuruschan where the Harder orphanage had a farm

Fields in Kuruschan, where the orphanage farm was located

A drive through Grossweide

The site of the former orphanage in Grossweide. A school is now located on the site. When we arrived around 6:30 pm, there were two ladies sitting on the bench. Our guide talked to them, and it turned out that one of them was the principal of the school. They unlocked the school for us and gave us a tour!

The main school building

The woodworking shop

The school museum

In the centre, the lady in charge of the school museum, and to her right, the school principal


The sun was setting by the time we left Grossweide.

Visiting the Molochna colony - part 1

We had arranged for Victor Penner, a Ukrainian with Mennonite roots, to take us around the former Mennonite colonies of Molochna and Chortitza. I can't imagine a more knowledgeable or enthusiastic guide then Victor.

The first day we visited the Molochna colony. We left our apartment around 9 am and didn't get back until 10 pm.

Sign at the city limits of Molochansk (Halbstadt)

Former Mennonite church in Petershagen not far from Halbstadt. It was restored in 1999 and is now again used as a church and is also home to some elderly people from the surrounding village.

The former Girls' School in Halbstadt, now home to the Mennonite Centre.

Entryway at the Mennonite Centre

Dining room at the Mennonite Centre.

This picture of the orphanage in Grossweide was hanging on the wall.

The former Mennonite secondary school in Halbstadt

H. H. Willms flour mill in Halbstadt. The building is not in use now.

The driveway to the Lichtenau train station. It was from this station that my maternal grandparents left for Canada on June 23, 1924.

Lichtenau train station

A memorial bench at the front of the Lichtenau train station

Lichtenau train station