Fonds MHC24 - Herman Rempel fonds

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Herman Rempel fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • 1943-2009 (Creation)

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Physical description

11 cm of textual records

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Herman Rempel was born in 1915 in Altona, Manitoba, a third generation Canadian, descending from Mennonite families that immigrated from Russia in 1875 to settle in the "West Reserve", land granted to the Mennonites by the Canadian Government. His parents were Peter Rempel (1889-1974) and Maria Wiebe (1891-1978).

Herman Rempel grew up on the family farm two miles east of Gretna, Manitoba. He attended the Edenburg School, the Mennonite Collegiate Institute, the Winnipeg Normal School, an the University of Manitoba. He taught school from 1937 to 1943, when he joined the Canadian Active Forces and served overseas for two years. From 1946 until his retirement he worked as a federal public servant.

During the 1970s he did extensive research and reference work on Plautdietsch (Low German language) and its vocabulary, pronunciation and orthography. He published his first Plautdietsch dictionary in 1979 and a revised edition in 1984.

Having lived most of his working life in Winnipeg, he spent his last years in Morden, Manitoba, where he passed away on October 11, 2008.

Custodial history

In 1995 Herman Rempel sent a carton of Low German books and resources to Vernon Wiebe, Hillsboro, Kansas, who had started a small publishing business that wanted to prepare low German educational materials for the Old Colony Mennonites living in Mexico. Vernon Wiebe was informally coordinating a group which became known as "Friends of Low German Scriptures", which included Tony Enns, who had recently begun a position with Mennonite Central Committee Canada in the area of Kandier Concerns, dealing with concerns surrounding Mennonites living in Mexico who migrated there from Canada in the early 20th century. After Vernon Wiebe died in 1996, Tony became a coordinator of the Friends of Plautdietsch Scriptures, and acquired the Herman Rempel materials. A second deposit of materials came from Rempel's nephew Roy Rempel who copied and compiled the writings of Herman Rempel for deposit.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of a transcription of Rempel’s war diary, autobiography, published and unpublished Low German stories and poems including a partial translation of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. The material captures Low German stories, prose, and proverbs and provides context for Rempel’s life experience.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Tony Enns and Roy Rempel


Arranged and described by Alf Redekopp, December 10, 2010, updated by Conrad Stoesz April 26, 2013.

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No restrictions to access

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Inventory File list available

Online version of finding aid available at:,%20Herman%201915%20fonds.htm

Associated materials

Related material: Friends of Plautdietsch Scriptures fonds

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Language of material note

Mainly Low German, some English.

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  • English

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