© Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Last updated October 28, 2009)
Johann F. Kroeker was born on October 13, 1871, in Gnadenfeld, Russia. He attended St. Chrischona Bible School, Switzerland, and Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas, graduating from the academy in 1899. He married Susanna Schowalter of Rittershoffen, Bas-Rhin, France. Johann, Susanna, his wife, Anna Funk, and the Peter A. & Elizabeth Penner were the first General Conference Mennonite Church missionaries to India, arriving in Bombay on December 9, 1900. The Kroekers opened the mission station at Janjgir, erected the first buildings, organized the school, and opened evangelistic work. Because of ill health they returned to Russia in 1909, where he served as itinerant evangelist of the Gnadenfeld Mennonite Church among the Mennonites of Siberia. Once in Siberia he filled many rolls including doctor, obstetrician, teacher, church correspondent, and dentist. In 1929 the Kroeker's tried to escape Russia by crossing the Amur river to Harbin China, however they were discovered and exiled to Siberia. Johann Kroeker was imprisoned and died there around 1932. Susanna and her oldest daughter died of starvation between 1938 and 1941. Three of the Kroeker daughters survived the exile, Lilli, Maria, and Anna. Lilli and Anna married Peter and Walter Friesen.
This fonds consists of reports from the mission field in India published in the Christlicher Bundesbote (1901-1909), correspondence with the Mennonite Mission Board (1902-1909), Susanna (Schowalter) Kroeker's diary (1925-1925), and family letters (1932-1953). A significant letter is the last letter written by Johann F. Kroeker from exile to his wife in 1932. The documents are photocopies of the original and in many cases also include transcriptions and / or English translations.
Inventory file list
Johann F. Kroeker fonds, Centre for MB Studies (Winnipeg)
Helen Kornelsen fonds (Volume 5430)
These materials were collected by Helen Kornelsen while researching the Kroeker family history.
German and some English
Described by Alf Redekopp, October 2009.
None to access
Helen Kornelsen, Watrous, Saskatchewan
Acc. No. 09-052
- Clippings from the Christlicher Bundesbote (report of mission work in India) written primarily by John F. Kroeker (1901-1909. At least one item is written by P. A. Penner and one by Anna Funk (who later died on the Titanic).
- J.F. Kroeker correspondence with Mennonite Mission Board (1902-1909) [photocopies of original, plus English typed transcriptions or translations]
- Susanna (Schowalter) Kroeker diary (1907-1925) [ photocopies of German originals]
- Susanna (Schowalter) Kroeker diary (1907-1925) [English translation]
- More family letters including the last letter that John F. Kroeker wrote to his wife in 1932, as well as letters addressed to Lilli & Peter Friesen and family. (1932-1953). [photocopies of originals plus handwritten transcriptions]