The Peace Exhibit Committee at Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach will be putting up another statue this fall, this one a tribute to Mennonite martyrs. Spokesperson Abe Warkentin explains it is part of a three-phase project.

"We're working at putting up a statue of Dirk Willems who was an Anabaptist martyr who died for his faith in Asperen, The Netherlands almost 500 years ago. That is the second stage in our project. The first stage was the conscientious objectors' monument that is in place at the museum now. The third phase will be the interpretive centre, which will give much more detail in regards to the entire peace position of the Mennonite Church."

Warkentin says the new statue will depict the famous painting of Dirk Willems saving his captor from drowning. Willems was later executed for his faith. He adds Willems was one of thousands of martyrs.

"There have been an estimated two-four thousand people who died roughly 500 years ago after the Reformation. In a way, it's interesting too that while we concentrate on that, there are also people dying for their faith now in other countries. We don't want to forget that either."

Warkentin says they have attained the services of a very well known sculptor who will create the work in bronze.

"The sculptor is very well known Manitoba sculptor Peter Sawatzky. He has put up some of the larger monuments in Winnipeg including the one with the caribou at the corner of Portage and Main."

Elbert Toews, chair of the Peace Exhibit Committee says the statue will cost more than $100,000. He says they are seeking donations to pay for the statue as well as toward the future construction of an interpretive centre which is expected to cost several hundred thousand dollars.