Otto’s Passion (2018), $20.00
Refuge 31 Films Documentary
Written and Directed by Andrew Wall
Produced by Trevor Suffield and Andrew Wall
Executive Produced by Kyle Bornais, Associate Produced by Korey Dyck
Otto’s Passion is the story of filmmaker Otto Klassen, one of Canada’s most fascinating, prolific and obscure filmmakers.
Otto was raised a Mennonite in Ukraine during the 1930s, surviving Stalin’s repressive Soviet Union and then under Hitler’s invading army during World War 2. Fleeing the destruction of post war Europe, Otto and his family found a temporary home in the jungles of Paraguay before ultimately immigrating to Winnipeg, Canada. It is there, in the basement of the local CBC, where a friend would teach Otto how to edit, write and produce films.
Once established as a filmmaker, Otto was determined to capture the Mennonite story on film. The story of both struggle, tragedy and freedom as he had lived it. It would become Otto’s mission, his purpose and his passion for more than forty years.
Through the Red Gate (2008), $20.00
Out To See Entertainment
Produced and Directed by Moyra Rodger
Written by Dale Drewery
Executive Producers Ruth Derksen Siemens and Moyra Rodger
Peter Bargen was just seven-years-old when he and his family narrowly escaped the Russian Gulag and almost certain death. Those relative who remained in the USSR were not so fortunate. During Joseph Stalin’s reign (1929 to 1953), between 45 and 60 million people, among them thousands of Mennonites, perished through enforced exile, execution, famine and disease.
Now, in a story that crosses continents and binds together generation, the discovery of a cache of rare and long-forgotten letters reveals the terrifying details of the fate of many families.
We have a good selection of use books related to Mennonite history. Contact us at email@example.com or call 1-204-560-1998 to place an order. Shipping, taxes and handling are extra. If you don’t find the book you are looking for – send us an email, the list is a sample of what we have.
List updated March 2020
Books in German
DeFehr, Sara Heinrich. Im Wandel der Jahre (1975) $20.00
Durksen, Martin. Die Krim War Unsere Heimat (1977) $10.00
Epp, Peter. Die Mennoniten in Russland (ca. 1970) $5.00
Gemeinde herausgesetzten Komitee. Dem Herrn die Ehre: Schönwieser Mennoniten Geminde von Manitoba 1924-1968 (1969) $5.00
Janzen, Victor. Vom Dnjepr zum Paraguay Fluß (1995) $10.00
Kawerau, Peter. Melchior Hoffman als Religiöser Denker (1954) $15.00
Klassen, Horst. Die Backnanger Mennoniten: Von Galizien, Preußland nach Württemberg (1976) $5.00
Lohrenz, Gerhard. Damit es Nicht Vergessen Werde: Ein Bildband zur Geschichte der Mennoniten Preussens und Russlands (1974) $15.00
Quiring, Walter. Im Schweisse Deines Angesichts… (1953) $12.00
Thiessen, Franz. Neuendorf in Bild und Wort: Chortitzaer-Bezirk, Ukraine 1789-1943 (1943) $65.00
Doerksen, B. Family Tree of Abraham Doerksen, Regina Hoeppner and Descendants, 1804-1960 (1960) $20.00
Friesen, Rudy. Descendants of Cornelius Friesen (1986) $20.00
Giesbrecht, Agatha. Jacob Harder and Maria Abrams, 1788-1988 (1988) $3.00
Jeffery, Mary Dueck. Aeltester Johann Funk: A Family Tree: with Notes on His Life and Work (1980) $20.00
Klassen Family. The Klassen’s 1744-1995 (1995?) $10.00
Klassen, Johann J. Klassen: A Family Heritage (1980) $25.00
Kliewer, Victor. Kliewer: Genealogie der Familie/Genealogy of the Family Peter Kliewer and Anna Adrian, 1813-1992 (1992) $20.00
Mennonite Genealogy, Inc. A Vogt Family History: The Descendants of Andreas Vogt (1854-1914) and Aganetha (Block) Vogt (1857-1930) (1994) $15.00
Neufeld, Herman A. Mary Neufeld and the Repphun Story: From The Molotschna to Manitoba (1987) $20.00
Sawatzky, Dave and Katherine Schroeder. Karl Hildebrand: Family Tree 1859-1997 (1998) $20.00
Schroeder, Katherine. Karl Hildebrand: Family Tree 1859-1982 (1982) $25.00
Stoesz, A.D. A Stoesz Genealogy: Cornelius Stoesz 1731-1811, Jacob Stoesz 1780-1859, Johann Stoesz 1839-1905 and Descendants (1973) $30.00
Ward, Lynne. David Heinrich Friesen & Family, 1720-2001 (2002) $25.00
Faith and Life
Epp, Frank H. Whose Land is Palestine?: The Middle East Problem in Historical Perspective (1970) $8.00
Kraus, C. Norman. Evangeliscalism and Anabaptism (1979) $1.00
Miller, Paul M. The Devil Did Not Make Me Do It: A Study in Christian Deliverance (1977) $2.00
Redekop, John H. Making Political Decisions: A Christian Perspective, Focal Pamphlet No. 23 (1972) $2.00
Bergen, Peter and Sommerfeld Mennonite Church. History of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church (2001) $40.00
Dyck, John. Bergthal Gemeinde Buch (1993) $25.00
Eidse, Lenore and History Book Committee. Furrows in the Valley: A Centennial Project of the Rural Municipality of Morris 1880-1980 (1980) $65.00
Enns, F.G. Gretna: Window on the Northwest (1987) $25.00
Enns, Mary M. Mia: The Story of a Remarkable Woman (na.) $6.00
Epp, Frank H. Mennonite Exodus (1962) $25.00
Friesen, Helena Goossen. Daydreams & Nightmares: Life on the Wintergruen Estate (1990) $4.00
Friesen, Peter M. The Mennonite Brotherhood in Russia 1789-1910 (1978) $40.00
Friesen, Ted and Elisabeth Peters. Memories of Grigorievka (1998) $21.00 Gleysteen, Jan. Mennonite Tourguide to Western Europe (1984) $10.00 Gnadenthal History Book Committee. Gnadenthal, 1880-1980 (1982) $15.00
Hamm, Peter M. Reflections on my Journey (1993) $5.00
Haury, David A. Index to Mennonite Immigrants on United States Passenger Lists 1872-1904 (1986) $25.00
Herbert Book Committee. Bittersweet Years: The Herbert Story (1987?) $60.00
Janzen, Helen. Memories (1985) $5.00
Klassen, John C. And Jake Krueger. ASM: Alternative Service Memoirs (1995) $20.00
Klassen, Peter J. A Homeland for Strangers: An Introduction to Mennonites in Poland and Prussia (1989) $15.00
Kreider, Robert S. And Rachel Waltner Goossen. Hungry, Thirsty, a Stranger: The MCC Experience (1988) $10.00
Kroeker, Nettie. Far Above Rubies: The Story of Helena Wiens (1976) $8.00
Krueger, Jake. Nostalgic Recollections of Jake Krueger (1994) $8.00
Lutheran-Mennonite International Study Commission, Lutheran World Federation, and Mennonite World Conference. Healing Memories: Reconciling in Christ: Report of the Lutheran-Mennonite International Study Commission (2010) $8.00
Neufeld, Mary. A Prairie Pilgrim: Wilhelm H. Falk (2008) $10.00
Penner, Vic and T.E. Friesen. Altona: A Pictorial History (1990) $15.00
Reimer, Gustav E. and G.R. Gaeddert. Exiled by the Czar: Cornelius Jansen and the Great Mennonite Migration, 1874 (1956) $15.00
Toews, John B. Selected Documents: The Mennonites in Russia from 1917 to 1930 (1975) $20.00
Toews, Julius G. and Lawrence Klippenstein, eds. Manitoba Mennonite Memoires: A Century Past but Not Forgotten (1974) $5.00
Urry, James. None but Saints: The Transformation of Mennonite Life in Russia, 1789-1889 (1989) $25.00
Wright, Gerald. Steinbach: Is there any place like it? (1991) $20.00
Zacharias, Peter D. Footprints of a Pilgrim People: Story of the Blumenort Mennonite Church (1985) $20.00
Zacharias, Peter D. Reinland: An Experience in Community (1976) $25.00
Bargain Books from the CMU Press
Not exactly “hot of the press…” but here are some great books for an even better price!
All bargain books are $5.00
Adolf Ens. Becoming a National Church: A history of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (2004)
Anna Ens. In Search of Unity: Story of the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba (1996)
Esther Epp-Tiessen. J.J. Thiessen: A Leader for His Time (2001)
Esther Epp-Tiessen. Mennonite Central Committee in Canada: A History (2013)
Henry Poettcker. A President’s Journey: The Memoirs of Henry Poettcker (2009)
Lisa Weaver, Julie Kauffman, Judith Rempel Smucker. On the Zwieback Trail: A Russian Mennonite Alphabet of Stories, Recipes and Historic Events (2011)
T.D. Regehr. A Generation of Vigilance: The lives & work of Johannes and Tina Harder (2009)
Text To Terabyte Project
The Text to Terabyte Project is made possible by Otto Klassen’s gift to distribute his films. This is a joint project between the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies and the Mennonite Heritage Archives of Winnipeg. Both centres are national archival centres and have seen demand for services grow. At the same time they are facing new challenges and opportunities with new electronic possibilities.
You can help preserve and make accessible records held at the centres that God’s story in the life of the Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren Community. For a donation of $30 ($25 will be receipted) you can choose of Otto Klassen’s fascinating documentaries. For $60 choose 2, for a $90 donation choose 3 etc. They make great gifts for family and friends.
Otto has over 50 films to his credit in various languages including English, German, Low German and Spanish. The following are currently available.
To participate please contact the Mennonite Heritage Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-204-560-1998.
- Remembering Our Mennonite Heritage
- Prairie Pioneers: The Mennonites of Manitoba (1874-1974)
- Remembering Russia 1914-1927: War and the end of Mennonite Tranquility
- Remembering Russia 1928-1938: Collectivization and Mass Arrest
- The Great Trek: Part 1 (1939-1943)
- The Great Trek: Part 2 (1943-1945)
- The Burden of the Soviet Star
- Pioneers of the Chaco
- Personal Experiences of Mennonites from Russia
Remembering Our Mennonite Heritage
…traces the origins of the Anabaptist-Mennonite movement and the migration of the persecuted Anabaptist believers to Polish-Prussia in the 16th Century. 250 years later, over one half of these Prussian Mennonites respond to an invitation of the Russian Tsars to settle in southern Russia (in what is now Ukraine) during the years 1789 to 1836; and in central Russia from 1853-1870. The “golden years” of this Mennonite Commonwealth came to an end with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. 2007 production, 45 minute DVD.
Prairie Pioneers: The Mennonites of Manitoba (1874-1974)
…is Klassen’s first full-length film produced in 1974. The film recreates various aspects of pioneer life, such as the building of sod huts (zemlin), and the arrival of Russian-Mennonite settlers at the junction of the Red River and Rat River in 1874. It also includes footage of Manitoba Centennial Celebrations of 1970 in various Manitoba Mennonite communities, including the first ever visit of members of the Royal Family – Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Prince Charles – to a Mennonite village in Canada and the visit of rime Minister Pierre Trudeau to Steinbach. 1974 production, re-mastered in 2007, 43 minute DVD.
Remembering Russia 1914-1927: War and the end of Mennonite Tranquility
The Mennonites in southern Russia, present-day Ukraine, had become affluent. They worked hard in their tight-knit communities, bound by a common language and faith. That all changed with the beginning of World War I in 1914. A bloody civil war in 1917, churned through the country and ended the Mennonite way of life. Farms, enterprises and churches were expropriated and families died at the hands of marauding anarchists. As their world crumbled thousands of Mennonites fled to Canada. 2006 production, 43 minute DVD.
Remembering Russia 1928-1938: Collectivization and Mass Arrest
This DVD documents the spiritual battles and sufferings of Mennonites in Soviet Russia from the introduction of the first Five-Year Plan in October 1928 to the end of The Great Terror in 1938. Soviet plans for the complete collectivization of agriculture, and the closing of all churches struck a hard blow to the traditional Mennonite way of life. Thousands fled to Moscow; others into China. Of those who remained, many suffered the fate of exile to the forests and mines of Northern Russia, Siberia, and Kolyma. Hundreds died during the terrible famine of 1933. Thousands of men and even some women were rounded up by the secret police and exiled to labour camps or simply shot. 2007 production, 52 minute DVD.
Note: also available in German
The Great Trek: Part 1 (1939-1943)
Otto Klassen uses rare archival photographs and film footage from the German Bundesarchiv to document the effects of the Soviet-German Non-aggressive Pact (August 1939), the German invasion of the Soviet Union (22 June 1941), and the subsequent two-year occupation of Ukraine on Soviet-Germans and Ukrainians in general and on the Mennonite villages of the Khortitsa and Molochna Settlements in particular. 1992 production re-mastered in 2007, 35 minute DVD.
The Great Trek: Part 2 (1943-1945)
Otto Klassen uses rare archival photographs and film footage from the German Bundesarchiv to document the westward retreat of over 350,000 Soviet-Germans and Mennonites in Fall of 1943, their resettlement in German-Occupied Polish territory, and their eventual flight from advancing Red Army forces in the early months of 1945. 1992 production, re-mastered in 2007, 39 minute DVD.
The Burden of the Soviet Star
After the Russian Revolution, famine, and the Great War, Stalin’s communism was an even harsher burden especially for those exiled to labor camps. The camps were in isolated areas where conditions were notoriously horrible.
Pioneers in the Chaco
The harsh environment of the Paraguayan Chaco did not scare off the Mennonites who moved there from Canada in the 1920s. With their faith they forged a path into the wilderness which others would soon follow. The heirs of these pioneers have been reaping the rewards based on the pioneers’ courage. (45 minutes) (2009)
Personal Experiences of Mennonites from Russia
A presentation of four (4) short Otto Klassen Productions featuring speakers such as Dr. Marlene Epp, Professor of History, University of Waterloo; story-teller Peter J. Dyck, teacher Gerhard Ens and others on Mennonites who experienced trauma and terror during early Soviet communism through to World War II. (45 minutes)