The Gift & Book Shop at Mennonite Heritage Village frequently adds new books to the shelves. Here’s a brief look at three of the more recent titles.

1. The Fehrs: Four centuries of Mennonite migration is written by Arlette Kouwenhoven and published by Winco Publishing, whose comments on the book include the following:

“This book follows those Fehrs who have chosen not to leave the Old Flemish (later called Old Colony) way of life and who have always had to weigh their options to overcome the challenges surrounding them, continually moving to new countries, with new opportunities and even more obstacles. They have adapted constantly while always remaining true to what they believe is the only way to practice the Mennonite faith.

“Anthropologist and writer Arlette Kouwenhoven follows their footsteps, describing their whereabouts in Amsterdam, Danzig, the Polish Werder, the villages in the Russian steppes and later the Canadian prairie, to finally arrive in the Mexican desert, where they live today in one of the last communities that refrains from using electricity and cars. The book describes the necessity of their moves, why they made the choices they did and the blessings and dilemmas these choices have brought.”

This 240-page paperback is available for $29.95.

2. A Mennonite Estate Family in Southern Ukraine is written by Nicholas J. Fehderau and published by Pandora Press.

“In a candid fashion, A Mennonite Estate Family in Southern Ukraine, 1904-1924, tells the story of Nicholas Jacob Fehderau, a story strikingly accurate when placed alongside the factual surviving documents of the period. The youngest child, gifted with an amazing memory and a lively imagination, Fehderau recreates the world of his childhood and youth. A fundamental honesty pervades the memoir. Young Nicholas’ alert mind records the many nuances associated with estate life: prejudices, family life, the prevailing piety, the complications of agri-business, and the impact of war, revolution and anarchy.” – John B. Toews.

This 340-page volume also comes in paperback format and sells for $29.99.

3. “Helena: A Peek into the Past is a series of fictional stories based on actual dates, events, and stories she and her sister told their children about, and it depicts what life was like in the early 1900’s.

“Helen Banman, the oldest of eleven children, was born on August 22nd, 1898 in the Mennonite Village of Kleefeld, located on the West Reserve in southern Manitoba. Her parents, Julius and Helena, were poverty stricken immigrants from Russia so the children were farmed out to work for others in order to help out financially. Helen was only ten years old when she went to work as a maid.

“In spite of difficult times throughout her life, her faith in God; her humor; and determination to persevere, built her into a strong woman.”

Helena: A peek into the past is written and published by Nettie Balzer and is available for $24.00.

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About the Author

Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.

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