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Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives & Gallery
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125th Anniversary of Mennonites in Manitoba: 1874-1999

This film is of the celebration held at the Forks in Winnipeg on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Mennonites in Manitoba. In 1874 Russian Mennonites came down the Red River on river boats and landed at the Forks in Winnipeg to get supplies and then traveled back up the Red River and disembarked near current day Niverville, Manitoba to begin settling.

The celebration included a re-enactment of the river boat coming to the Forks with actors dressed in period costume. This event was planned by a special ad hock committee of the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society (MMHS).

50 Year Freedom Jubilee: Praise God for Canada

This production was created on the occasion of the 50 year anniversary of the coming to Canada of Mennonite survivors of the horrors and terror of World War II in 1948. The production was intended as a souvenir video of the 50 year celebration of their freedom in Canada. Filmmaker Otto Klassen begins the production with scenes from the 1985 Mennonite Monument dedication to the 20th century victims of war, followed by a recording of the celebration which saw 900 people gather under a tent on August 15, 1998 at the Mennonite Village Museum to remember and give thanks.

Guest speakers included Peter J. Dyck, veteran Mennonite Central Committee worker telling the stories of his involvement in Berlin in 1948 and historian Marlene Epp who spoke of the contributions women made to the survival of roughly 13,000 Mennonites who emigrated to North and South America. Throughout the address by Epp, Klassen creates a collage of scenes of war using archival war footage acquired from the German archives.

The video also captures a second celebration event which took place the following day, August 16, 1998, in the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg which featured the Jubilee Singers led by Dr. John Martens, Dr. Harry Loewen, former Chair of Mennonite Studies, University of Winnipeg, Dr. Johanness Reimer of Germany as well as Peter J. Dyck and Marlene Epp. Politicians bringing greeting included MLA Jack Penner and MP David Iftody. Entire list of speakers: Dr. Peter Dyck, Agnes Dyck, Elvira Derksen, Dr. Marlene Epp, Dr. George K. Epp, Hon. Jake Epp, Rev. Gerhard Ens, Rev. Jake Harms, Hon. David Iftody, Rev. Hermann Lenzmann, Dr. Harry Loewen, Peter H. Peters, Hon. Jack Penner, Dr. Johannes Reimer, Viktor Sawatzky, Jacob R. Wiebe.

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