Leaving and Staying

November 15, 2019 Volume 43 Issue 12 | Mennonite migrations always have two kinds of stories – the ones who left, and the ones who were left behind. This circa 1926 photo shows three older women standing on a train platform in Altona, Manitoba, bidding farewell to family members who are leaving for Paraguay (Helen Harder Stoesz, front row left; the others remain unidentified). Migrations often broke up families and communities. The stories we tell are often focused on those from our own community, depending on whether you were the one leaving or the one left behind. Was the decision to stay or leave a personal choice or a forced choice? How did choice to leave or to stay affect different lives? How did their lives and faith develop differently after separation? Did the one group judge the other for their decision? What do you think? 

Mennonite Heritage Archives, Jake Peters photo collection.  Written by Dan Dyck, MHA volunteer.

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