Showing 20 results

archival descriptions
Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives & Gallery Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization fonds
Advanced search options
Print preview View:

Immigration Movement I Files

  • CA MHCA Volume 1163-1398; 2332-2348; 2352-2383; 3391-3412; 3417-Volume 1163-1319; 3391-3402; 3417:1-6; 1364:1334-1346; 2332-2337;2339; 2341-2348; 2352-2355; 2357-2375
  • Series
  • 1923-1946
  • Part of Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization fonds

The records in these files cover a wide variety of subjects. From these records one can, in part, chronicle some of the early organizational difficulties which the Board experienced. Some of the material relates to the dissatisfaction felt by Mennonites in the United States with Canadian plans to settle all the Mennonites leaving Russia in Canada. Many of the U.S. Mennonites advocated investigating and pursuing settlement possibilities in Mexico.

These files contain a lot of information on the involvement of the Canadian railways in the settlement of Mennonites in Canada during the 1920s. There is extensive correspondence between David Toews and J. S. Dennis as well as between other Board and CPR officials. One folder contains correspondence with Canadian National Railway (CNR) personnel.

The collection also includes much correspondence with organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, which had an interest in the immigration and relief ventures of the Board. Among these are the Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario provincial governments, various federal government departments and officers, the American Relief Administration, the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, the American Friends Service Committee, the German Consulate, the Europaeische Zentralstelle fuer Kirchliche Hilfsaktionen (European Center for Church Relief Projects), etc

Some of the material in the files deals with the conditions faced by the Mennonites in Russia between 1917 and 1939. Included are reports by relief workers who traveled and worked in some of the Mennonite areas. There is correspondence with relatives of people still living in Russia after 1930. Interestingly there are also translations of several Soviet newspaper articles about the Mennonite emigration.

A large part of the material in these files is made up of correspondence with the immigrants themselves. In some cases it deals with troublesome issues such as a recent Russian Mennonite immigrant who wanted to relocate in the United States. The Board was very much opposed to such a move because it felt that the credibility of the immigrants it was sponsoring would be seriously threatened in the eyes of both the Canadian government and the CPR. Another problem area which generated much correspondence was the attempt to get many of the immigrants to pay the debts (Reiseschuld) they owed for their trip to Canada. (Most of the immigrants had credit extended to them for their travel costs.)

This series includes records of the Mennonite Land Settlement Board (MLSB). The MLSB attempted to get the new immigrants settled on suitable farmland. Much of the correspondence is from immigrants who wanted to settle on lands being vacated by the Old Colony Mennonites who were leaving for Mexico. Many also obtained land through the CPR and from other large private landholdings.

Finally this sub-series contains a considerable amount of correspondence between the influential leaders in the emigration movement. Most notable among these are B. B. Janz, A. A. Friesen, and B. H. Unruh.

Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization - Immigration Movement I (1923-1930)

World War II: Military Service and Relief Files

This record series is rather brief compared to the previous series (Immigration Movement I). Most of the correspondence deals with the question of alternative service. Included is correspondence with other Mennonite organizations about this matter. Furthermore, numerous letters are from individuals regarding concrete problems which they were facing in obtaining their conscientious objector status.

Most of the correspondence in the files is with people from the National War Services Boards of the Prairie Provinces. There is also correspondence with the RCMP regarding certain suspected enemy aliens.

A final area covered in these files is the whole area of war relief work. This work was done in cooperation with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Consequently a good deal of the correspondence is with MCC for the years 1939-1946. Other materials relate to purchases of Victory Bonds.

This record series is relevant for researchers studying Canadian Mennonite reactions to World War II. These reactions involved both lobbying for alternative service and doing relief work in those areas devastated by war. The files are also of interest to people who want to study the extent to which Canadian Mennonites participated in the conventional military services of the day. These files would be of some value in examining the attitudes held by public officials and by society in general towards the Mennonites in World War II.

Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization fonds

  • CA MHCA Volume 1163-1398; 2332-2348; 2352-2383; 3391-3412; 3417
  • Fonds
  • 1922-1966

These records can be divided into three eras -- the first migration wave (1922-1930), Pre World War II and War years (1930-1946),and finally, the 2nd migration movement (1947-1964). The records during the first period focus on the Mennonites who left Russia and settled in various communities in Canada through the assistance of the Board. The records of the second period focus more on the need to send relief aid to Russia during a period when immigration to Canada is no longer possible. The records of this period also deal with the questions of war, military service, conscientious objection to war and alternative service. The records of the third period -- a period when the leadership of the Board is under chairman J.J. Thiessen -- focus on help to refugees out of war torn Europe, including re-settlement in South America.

Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization

Immigration Movement II Files

The files in this series contain correspondence regarding credit arrangements with the CPR. The volume of this correspondence is considerably less than it was for the previous migration because the nature of the credit arrangements was very different; hence serious repayment problems were avoided.

Included in these files is extensive correspondence related to immigration concerns. In many cases there were eligibility problems with individuals who wanted to emigrate to Canada from Germany. These people were, by and large, Mennonite refugees from Russia who had made it to Germany during the war. In many cases they had served in the German forces and this caused problems. There were also cases where people did not meet the health standards required for immigration to Canada. Some correspondence pertains to this problem Many of these people went to Paraguay or Brazil instead and later attempted to emigrate to Canada.

Further material in this series relates to the settlement of these refugees in Canada and to the efforts made to find employment for them. In this connection there are files of correspondence with the Manitoba Sugar Company, the Canadian Welfare Council, etc.

In addition these records include many files of correspondence with immigrants, potential immigrants, and immigrant and refugee organizations. A considerable amount of correspondence concerns assistance to Mennonite refugees in Latin America and people's requests for information regarding the whereabouts of their relatives in Germany. Finally these files also contain material regarding relief aid to Mennonites living in the Soviet Union.

These records are very useful for studying Canadian immigration policy in the recent past. This sub-series is also useful for understanding how Canadian Mennonite relief and immigration work led to the formation of a MCC (Canada).

Results 1 to 10 of 20