February 7, 2020 Volume 43 Issue 17 | This four-story home and its surrounding outbuildings, pictured in 1923, was the residence of D.S. Russek, a wealthy banker in Chihuahua, Mexico. His firm, David S. Russek and Company was a significant player in the efforts to sell land to Mennonites from Canada. Russek was heir to Hacienda Santa Clara – one of seventeen haciendas covering the vast Terrazas estate, which covered almost half of Chihuahua. Russek and other heirs were eager to sell their land, which was at risk of confiscation under land reforms promised by revolutionary leaders. The Russek bank, reputedly the largest in Chihuahua, failed in late 1923 due to political instability in the country. Mennonite depositors at the San Antonio branch lost several hundred thousand pesos. Partial restitution was made when the Russek organization handed over a block of land of almost four square kilometers to its Old Colony creditors.
Sources: Image – Mennonite Archival Image Database, Cornelius Krause collection; Content: They Sought a Country, Harry Leonard Sawatzky