Crimean Peninsula  (p. 104 – 109)


Jacob Hoeppner (1748 - 1826) and Johann Bartsch (1757 - 1821) were the first Mennonites to visit the Crimea. In 1787 they were invited to accompany Catherine II on her tour to the Crimea, her newly acquired territory. They traveled by horse and coach from Berislav and Perekop to Simferopol, Sevastopol and Feodosiya.

During the Crimean War (1854 - 1855) the Mennonites in Chortitza, Molotschna and Bergthal were asked to organize caravans of supply wagons (known as Podwod) for the Russian Army.

The first Mennonite villages in the Crimea were settled during the 1860's. Schottenruh, the first village, was followed a few years later by Annenfeld which was settled by members of the Kleinegemeinde Church. Most of the Mennonite villages were settled after the completion of the railway in 1875. The settlers came from the Molotschna Colony. In 1917 there were about seventy Mennonite villages on the Crimean Peninsula. Karassan, one of the largest villages, had a Zentralschule and a Mädchenschule. Benjamen and Abraham Unruh were born in Philippstal (Temir - Bulat). There was a Bible School in the village of Tschangraw from 1918 to 1924. Johann Wiens (1874 - 1951), Gerhard Reimer (1885 - 1970) and Abraham Unruh (1878 - 1961) taught in that school. One year after the school was closed by the communists these same men founded a similar school in Winkler, Manitoba.