Classification scheme: 

Title: Peter and Kaethe (Peters) Neufeld family fonds

Dates of creation: [19--]-1946

Physical description: 8 cm of textual records ; 137 photographs (negatives) ; 66 photographs (postcards) ; 3 photographs (prints)

Biographical sketch: Peter F. Neufeld (1918-1999) was born in Paulsheim, Molotschna, South Russia to Gerhard and Maria (Friesen) Neufeld. In 1926, as the family was planning to emigrate to Canada, Peter experienced the violent death of his father at the hands of bandits. The family arrived in Canada later that year, settling near Vineland. Peter was a conscientious objector during the Second World War and served at the Montreal River Alternative Service work camp. Kaethe Peters (1921-2013) was born in Davlekanovo, Ufa, Russia to Rev. Abram A. and Helena (Duerksen) Peters. The family immigrated to Canada in 1926, settling first in Manitoba and later in Vineland. Kaethe and Peter Neufeld married in Vineland in 1942. The couple farmed and were active members of Vineland United Mennonite Church.

Custodial history: Donated by son Dave Neufeld in 2019

Scope and content: This fonds contains family letters, photographs, books and other documents collected by Peter and Kaethe Neufeld from the Neufeld and Peters families.

Notes: See also: Interview of Otto Giesbrecht and Peter Neufeld, September 30, 1974 by David Fransen, Alternative service in World War II oral history project, Hist.Mss.22.1/2.
Original archival description created 2020 by Laureen Harder-Gissing.

File list:

Series 1: Peter F. Neufeld

  1. Correspondence re Alternative Service, 1941-1946
  2. Montreal River autograph book, 1942
  3. Lists of conscientious objectors at Montreal River, Nov 1941-Mar 1942 (Group 4), Dec 1941-Apr 1942 (Group 5)
  4. Negatives of photographs taken by Peter Neufeld at Montreal River, 1941-1942

Series 2: Johann Neufeld

Biographical note: Johann Neufeld (1902-1981) was a brother to Peter F. Neufeld.

  1. Weihnachtswunsch folders, [ca. 1915]
    Note: These ornate "Christmas wish" folders housed poems inscribed by children and presented to their parents on Christmas morning. The children were expected to recite the poem from memory before receiving their Christmas presents.  See: Voth, Norma Jost. Mennonite Foods & Folkways from South Russia. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 1990 (vol. 1), p. 79.

Series 3: Anna Peters

Biographical note: Anna Peters (1881-1939) was born in Ladekopp, South Russia to Abram and Anna (Kroeker) Peters. She trained as a nurse in 1905. She joined the Mennonite Brethren church and went to England in 1907 to train as a missionary. From 1909-1913 she was a missionary in India. Returning home due to illness, she worked in hospitals and during the Russian Revolution joined a Mennonite Brethren mission group. Following an attack on the group which she survived, she returned to Ladekopp. In 1923 she immigrated to Canada with her brother Gerhard. She died in Vineland, Ontario in 1939. Anna Peters was an aunt to Katie (Peters) Neufeld.

  1. Obituary for Anna Peters, 1939
  2. Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily: Genesis-Ruth. London, Morgan and Scott, [1898?].
    Note: Only volume one of this five volume series was retained by the Archives. Inscribed on flyleaf: "Anna Peters. With love from Kate M. French. August 10, 1912." Peters received these books while in India.
  3. Handwritten transcription of passage copied from Our Daily Homily (vol. 5)
  4. Russian Bible belonging to Anna Peters, 1907
  5. Two photographs of Anna Peters, [ca. 1907]

Series 4: Gerhard A. Peters

Biographical note: Gerhard A. Peters (1880-1935) was born in Ladekopp, South Russia to Abram and Anna (Kroeker) Peters. He had a varied career as a minister and teacher, and was well-traveled. After teacher training, he taught for six years at the Alt Halbstadt elemetary school. He then went to Moscow to study and work for a Swedish import business. He then traveled to Kansas to visit relatives and teach at Bethel College. He also visited California. Teaching stints at a Mennonite school near Khiva, Uzbekistan and Germany followed. During the First World War, he served as chaplain to an Alternative Service forestry camp (Forstei) near St. Petersburg. In 1917, he returned to teaching at Halbstadt and worked as secretary for the American Mennonite relief kitchens effort. Arriving in Canada with his sister Anna in 1923, he served as a pastor in Saskatchewan, a newspaper editor, and the director of a home in Winnipeg for young Mennonite women working in the city. In 1926 he married Helena Thiessen. The couple moved to Vineland in 1931 where they worked a small farm. Gerhard A. Peters was an uncle to Katie (Peters) Neufeld.

  1. Obituary and biographical notes on Gerhard Peters by Helene Peters, 1935
  2. Poems by Gerhard A. Peters, [19--]
  3. Correspondence (postcards), [predominantly between 1910 and 1914]
  4. Books by Gerhard A. Peters:
    Gedichte. Scottdale, Pa: Mennonite Pub. House, 1923.
    Wehrlos? Scottdale, Pa: Herald Publishing House, 1923.
    Die Hungersnot in der mennonitischen Kolonien in Süd-Russland, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Molotschna-Kolonie und die Amerikanisch Mennonitische Hilfe (A.M.H.) wie sie ein Mennonit aus Russland gesehen hat. Scottdale, Pa: Mennonite Pub. House, 1923.
    Note: Copies of books by Gerhard A. Peters are located in the Milton Good Library.
  5. Photographs and postcards
    1. Bethel College (Kansas) and area, and Fresno, California, [ca. 1912]
    2. Wilhelmsdorf, Germany, [ca. 1914]
    3. Alternative Service in Russia (Forstei service and hospitals), [between 1914 and 1917]
    4. Gerhard A. Peters, [19--]
    5. Miscellaneous photographs, [19--]

Series 5: Miscellaneous

  1. Christmas and Easter greetings postcards
  2. Christliches Vergissmeinnicht (book for recording birthdays, etc.)
  3. Funeral photograph of Peter Dueck of Heirschau, Molotschna, 1926
    Note on back of photograph: "Peter Dueck, Heirschau. Grandpa Neufeld's friend murdered two weeks after Grandpa Neufeld."


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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
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