Classification scheme: 
Hist.Mss. 22.3

Title: Mennonites from Mexico Oral History Project

Dates of creation: 1979

Physical description: 71 cassette tapes

Administrative history: In 1979 the Multicultural History Society of Ontario provided a grant for an oral history project administered by Conrad Grebel College to interview Mennonites who immigrated/returned to Canada from Mexico in the 1950s-1970s. Ronald G. Sawatsky conducted the interviews during the summer of 1979. In all 48 interviews were conducted, primarily in German and Low German languages; some were in English.

Scope and content: A finding aid is available that provides both summaries of the interviews and biographical sketches of the persons interviewed (Finding Aid #5). The introduction to the finding aid provides further background on the project. A print copy of the finding aid is available at the Archives. Release forms for the project are also stored here.

Custodial history: A copy of the tapes were deposited in the Mennonite Archives of Ontario upon the completion of the project; the original tapes in the Multicultural History Society of Ontario collection at the Archives of Ontario. Some additional print items were received in conjunction with the project.

Notes: The interview numbering system of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario is employed. 
The tapes were digitized in 2011.

File list:

7348 Interview, Henry Banman (1912-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, May 17, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 2 tapes (105 minutes in Low German) Went to Mexico in 1922; returned to Canada 1954; permanently in 1962; Photocopies of five books are now in the Conrad Grebel College Library

7343 Interview, Rev. John Banman (1939-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 11, 1979, London, Ontario; 3 tapes (135 minutes in English) Born in Mexico (son of Henry Banman, above). Came to Canada permanently in 1959

7065 Interview, Elfrieda Driedger (1928-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, July 9, 1979, Leamington, Ontario; 1 tape (45 minutes in English) Native Canadian; MCC volunteer working with Mennonite immigrants from Mexico

7333 Interview, Rev. Cornelius F. Dueck (1920-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, May 30, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 1 tape (40 minutes in English). From Manitoba; sent by Evangelical Mennonite Conference to work with Mennonite immigrants in Ontario. Came to Ontario in 1976.

7334 Interview, Cornelius Dyck (1910-   ), by Ron Sawatsky, May 29, 1979, Port Rowan, Ontario ; 2 tapes (120 minutes in Low German) Born in Saskatchewan; went to Mexico in 1926. Returned to Canada in 1960.

7068 Interview, Peter Dyck (1938-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, July 12, 1979, Wheatley, Ontario; 2 tapes (105 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico; came to Canada in 1965

7075 Interview, Henry Epp (1934-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, July 31, 1979, Kitchener, Ontario; 1 tape (50 minutes in English) From Saskatchewan; moved to Leamington area in 1969; involved with Mennonites from Mexico as part of the Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference

7070 Interview, Henry Flaming (1931-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, July 18, 1979, Leamington, Ontario; 1 tape (50 minutes in English) Born in Oklahoma; came to Ontario in 1936. Became a public school principal in 1960s; had many contents with the Mennonites from Mexico in role as educator

7077 Interview, Corny Friesen (1919-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, August 24, 1979, Port Rowan, Ontario; 1 tape (50 minutes in Low German). Born in Manitoba, moved to Mexico in 1923. Returned to Canada in 1956.

7339 Interview, Rev. David D. Friesen (1925-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, June 4, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 1 tape (55 minutes in English) Canadian Mennonite born in Saskatchewan. One of earlier Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference workers in Ontario (1965); worked with Mennonites from Mexico on immigration and citizenship papers. Includes several files of closed cases (CONFIDENTIAL)

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7633 Interview, Rev. David D. Friesen (1925-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, June 12, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 2 tapes (105 minutes in English) 2nd interview. Canadian Mennonite born in Saskatchewan. This tells more of Friesen's own story, as well as the story of hte Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference in Ontario

7079 Interview, Rev. Isaac P.F. Friesen (1904-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, Aug. 8, 1979, Winkler, Manitoba; 1 tape (50 minutes in Low German) Came to Ontario in 1958 to investigate establishing an EMMC church to work with Mennonites from Mexico.

7641 Interview, Nettie Friesen (1927-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, July 5, 1979, Wheatley, Ontario; 2 tapes (80 minutes in Low German). Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1957.

7639 Interview, Peter Giesbrecht ((1917-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, June 20, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 1 tape (45 minutes in Low German) Born in Manitoba; moved to Mexico in 1923. Returned to Canada in 1955.

7071 Interview, Rev. Peter P. Giesbrecht (1922-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, July 25, 1979, Kitchener, Ontario; 1 tape (60 minutes in English) Born in Manitoba. Served as pastor of the Aylmer Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference congregation beginning in 1970

7063 Interview, William H. Giesbrecht (1932-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, July 4, 1979, Leamington, Ontario; 1 tape (50 minutes in English) Born in Manitoba. Came to Ontario in 1969 for work with Mennonites from Mexico

7335 Interview, Richard Hamm (1940-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, May 29, 1979, Langton, Ontario; 1 tape (60 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1965/66

7349 Interview, John B. Harms (1919-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, May 16, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 2 tapes (75 minutes in Low German) Born in Manitoba. Moved to Mexico in 1924. Returned to Canada in 1966.

7638 Interview, Rev. Joseph Jacobsh by Ron Sawatsky, June 26, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 1 tape (45 minutes in English). Born in Poland. Came to Canada in 1950. Pastor at Gottes Gemeinde in Aylmer; 97% of members were persons who were Mennonites in Mexico

7076 Interview, William Janzen (1943-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, August 25, 1979, Waterloo, Ontario; 2 tapes (100 minutes in English) Born in Saskatchewan; grew up in close contact with Old Colony Mennonites; work as staff person for Mennonite Central Committee further involved him in contact with Mennonites from Mexico

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7338 Interview, Isaac Klassen (1951-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, June 13, 1979, Langton, Ontario; 2 tapes (75 minutes in English) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1961.

7073 Interview, George B. Konrad (1922-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, July 26, 1979, Wheatley, Ontario; 1 tape (45 minutes in English) Born in Ukraine, came to Canada in 1926. Member of Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference; on Mennonite Central Committee working with Mennonites from Mexico

7072 Interview, Elsa Koop by Ron Sawatsky, July 26, 1979, Wheatley, Ontario; 1 tape (55 minutes in English) Canadian Mennonite. Involved with community service work with Mennonites from Mexico.

7351 Interview, Abe Loewen (1938-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, May 15, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 1 tape (60 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1952.

7341 Interview, Emil Neukamm by Ron Sawatsky, June 5, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 1 tape (40 minutes in English). Born in Lithuania. Operated tobacco farm in Aylmer area that employed many Mennonites from Mexico.

7346 Interview, Martin Penner (1940-    ), by Ron Sawatsky, May 22, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 2 tapes (110 minutes in Low German). Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1979.

7350 Interview, Cornelius F. Peters (1913-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, May 16, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 2 tapes (115 minutes in Low German). Born in Saskatchewan. Moved to Mexico in 1922. Returned to Canada in 1954. Also contributed photocopy of Diary by Jacob Peters (father of Cornelius), 1915-1934.

7634 Interview, Cornelius K. Peters (1934-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 13, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 2 tapes (120 minutes in English (some Low German)) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1954/55.

7636 Interview, Heinrich Peters (1922-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 27, 1979, Mapleton, Ontario; 2 tapes (110 minutes in Low German) Born in Manitoba, went to Mexico as an infant. Came to Canada in 1956/60. Originally Old Colony minister, later EMMC minister.

7642 Interview, Jacob Peters (1947-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, July 3, 1979, Langton, Ontario;  1 tape (60 minutes in English) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1956; permanently in 1961.

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7066 Interview, Rev. Cornelius R. Quiring (1931-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, July 10, 1979, Leamington, Ontario; 2 tapes (105 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1966. Elected as Bishop of Old Colony Mennonites in Ontario in 1978

7344 Interview, Rev. Peter J. Reimer (1902-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 14, 1979, Port Rowan, Ontario; 1 tape (45 minutes in Low German) Born in Ukraine. Came to Canada in 1926. Had early contacts with first Mennonites coming from Mexico in 1950s

7078 Interview, Rev. Ben W. Sawatsky (1913-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, August 20, 1979, Waterloo, Ontario; 2 tapes (85 minutes in English) Born in Manitoba. Moderator of the Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference. Many contacts in history of conference in Ontario and its work with Mennonites from Mexico

7635 Interview, Rev. Neil Sawatsky (1947-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 19, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 1 tape (45 minutes in English). Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1956. First pastor of the EMMC congregation in Aylmer. Became independent Baptist in 1978

7064 Interview, Aaron Schroder (1939-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, July 5, 1979, Leamington, Ontario; 1 tape (45 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1954/57.

7067 Interview, John A. Toews (1946-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, July 12, 1979, Leamington, Ontario; 1 tape (45 minutes in English) Born in Canada. Was a vegatable grower who employed Mennonites from Mexico

7340 Interview, Heinrich S. Voth (1913-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 5, 1979, Copenhagen, Ontario; 1 tape (55 minutes in Low German) Born in Manitoba. Went to Mexico in 1922. Returned to Canada in 1966/67

7337 Interview, John D. Voth (1942-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 12, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 2 tapes (80 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1969. Deacon in the Sommerfelder Church in Aylmer.

7074 Interview, Aron S. Wall (1940-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, July 30, 1979, Elmira, Ontario; 1 tape (55 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1967.

7332 Interview, Aaron N. Wieb (1928-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, May 28, 1979, Eden, Ontario; 2 tapes (90 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1978

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7347 Interview, Rev. Jacob Wieb (1916-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 18, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 3 tapes (160 minutes in Low German) Born in Manitoba. Went to Mexico in 1926. Returned to Canada in 1955. Old Colony minister.

7342 Interview, Bernhard H. Wiebe (1926-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 6, 1979, Port Burwell, Ontario; 2 tapes (75 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Moved to Belize in 1958 and to Canada in 1978

7640 Interview, Henry Wiebe (1928-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 26, 1979, Lowbanks, Ontario; 1 tape (60 minutes in English (some Low German)) Born in Ukraine; came to Canada in 1948. One of the first to conduct Sunday school among the Old Colony Mennonites in Ontario

7643 Interview, Jacob Wiebe (1911-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 28, 1979, Tilsonburg, Ontario; 2 tapes (80 minutes in Low German) Born in Manitoba. Moved to Mexico in 1922. Returned to Canada in 1954. A founder of the Sommerfelder Church in Ontario.

7069 Interview, Jacob D. Wiebe (1930-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, July 17, 1979, Leamington, Ontario; 1 tape (40 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1964.

7637 Interview, Ramon P. Wiebe (1949-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 25, 1979, Aylmer, Ontario; 1 tape (40 minutes in English) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1971.

7644 Interview, Werner F. Wiens (1930-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, June 28, 1979, St. Williams, Ontario; 1 tape (40 minutes in English) Born in Saskatchewan. Canadian who employed Mennonites from Mexico on vegetable farms

7336  Interview, Peter Woelk (1933-    ) by Ron Sawatsky, May 31, 1979, Port Rowan, Ontario; 2 tapes (110 minutes in Low German) Born in Mexico. Came to Canada in 1974. (17 children!)

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Hours

Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Making an appointment with the archivist in advance is strongly recommended.

Contact

Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238

Email: marchive@uwaterloo.ca