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"You are the salt of the earth..." Matt. 5:13

Swiss (Volhynian) Mennonite Cultural and Historical Association Newsletter, Winter 2003, Vol.1-2


Schweitzers lived in Poland around 1791. Now, 200+ years later, we revisit Poland through the eyes of Janine Wedel,* a scholar and publisher on Poland. Wedel lived in Poland for six years and visited after the 9/11 tragedy.

“Naive” is the Polish people’s word for Americans-accustomed to a life of security and ill-equipped to understand the rest of the world. Poles, who have experienced concentration camps, shifting borders, martial law, material scarcities see Americans as unfettered and enviable, but too trusting. “When high-priced pundits were talking up stocks and forecasting an indefinite upward climb of the market, how could Americans have been so gullible?” Anyone raised under communism would see such slogans as “Integrity, Respect, Communication,” as transparent, blatant propaganda.

Wedel cites astonishment by the Polish people that America, “that hallmark of invulnerability ...the world’s only super power could be open to such potent attack by a handful of hijackers with box cutters?” Although initially sympathetic, many Poles are now becoming enraged by US intentions toward Iraq. With corporate scandals sweeping America, Poles perceive new insecurity in America. “Not only was personal safety threatened, but so too were people’s pensions, life savings, and plans for their ‘golden years.’

“My (Polish) friends seemed almost like parents wondering how a child going through puberty would emerge from adolescence. ‘The world is completely changing for them (USA),’ they said. ‘What will Americans be like when they are finally forced to grow up?’”

*Resource: Janine R. Wedel, “Homo Societicus, The Naive American And 11.09”, Anthropology Today, Vol. 18, no. 6. Dec. 2002
J. Wedel- School of Public Policy , George Mason U.
-Wedel, J.R. 2001. Collision and collusion: The Strange case of Western aid to Eastern Europe. NY: Palgrave.
-Wedel, J.R. 1986. The private Poland: An anthropologist’s look at everyday life. NY: Facts on File.
-Wedel, J.R. 1992. The unplanned society: Poland during and after communism. NY: Columbia U. Press.
Check the SMCHA website:


SMCHA is again offering two scholarships in the amount of $500 each to students who are preparing for the ministry or other full-time Christian service. Scholarships are for the 2003-2004 school year. The application deadline is July 15, 2003. Applicants must have membership in one of the six Swiss-Volhynian churches in Kansas or in one of the two churches in South Dakota, or be of Swiss-Volhynian descent.

Applicants may submit a letter of application to Ozzie Goering, Chair, Swiss Mennonite Scholarship Committee, 1810 Iris, Moundridge, KS 67107.

A letter of recommendation from his/her pastor or congregation is required, and the applicant must be accepted or enrolled in an accredited Mennonite institution of higher education or in a Mennonite-related voluntary service position. Those attending Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary or Great Plains Seminary will be given preference.

If you know of persons who may qualify, please encourage them to apply or send such names to the committee. Members of the Scholarship Committee are Ozzie Goering, Alice Suderman and Art Goering. For further information call: 620-345-2384 or 316-283-3815.

-Alice Kaufman Suderman


The Hopefield Cemetery is a true heritage treasure. Efforts should be made to maintain it well and publicize its unique historical role within the Swiss Mennonite extended “family.” (The SMCHA Board is giving this serious thought). Is it registered with the Kansas and national historical sites registries? It would be a great help if one of our knowledgeable elders would write a descriptive piece on the historical role of the cemetery.

It would be useful to link the cemetery’s past with the present and the future. The cemetery has much room for physical expansion. Confirmed descendants of those now buried in the cemetery should be encouraged to consider burial with their forebears- a burial plot and perpetual maintenance of the site through a one-time payment.

Some of the funds could support maintenance and further development of the Hopefield site. -T. James Goering

Hopefield Cemetery Restoration

SMCHA has arranged for restoration of the graves in the Hopefield Cemetery. Persons interested in having graves restored may indicate that by donating to SMCHA. Restoration will proceed on a first restoration-donation basis. Approximate restoration cost may be obtained from Harold Schrag 620 345-8576 or Arnold M. Wedel 316 283-5595

June 3, 2003- Spring Banquet Kummen Essen! Es Is Arich Gut!


-I would like to express thanks for the seminary scholarship. I could not be going to AMBS without the encouragement and financial support of many people. I am a first-year student enrolled in the MDiv program with aspirations of being a pastor, teacher, and missionary. Thank you for your support of my desire to serve the church. With much appreciation for my Swiss heritage, -Joe Sawatzky
-Thank you for financially supporting the seminary and its students. Currently, I am enrolled in the MDiv/MA of Social Work program. Jesse...feels guilty for not paying tuition since I teach him everything I am learning. We must admit that we miss the open skies of KS, but the community at AMBS has welcomed us in and we are very happy to be here. Thank you. -Ruth Harder, Jesse Graber
-I would like to extend my sincere gratitude once again for your financial assistance with my seminary education. I have recently completed my third course with AMBS - Great Plains Extension Program. The education I am receiving is challenging and continues to enrich my ministry at the Eden Mennonite Church of Moundridge, KS. I would like to recommend AMBS course work to anyone with interest and calling from God to pursue ministry. SMCHA scholarships have helped to make it financially possible for me to work on my seminary education while serving in full-time ministry. Thank you and may God bless you in 2003. -Jim Ostlund, Associate Pastor

The Nut Falls Far From The Tree

If the old Chortitza Oak in the Ukraine could speak, we may learn nearly 1000 years of history, including that of Russian/Ukranian Mennonites.

This notable landmark through many centuries has been named “The Mennonite Council Oak” because it is alleged that numerous conflicts and issues were discussed and settled under this tree.

Tragically, this huge tree is now in the process of dying, reportedly because the enlarged hydro-electric dam raised the underground water level. The tree could not adapt.

On a 9/11/97 visit to view this treasure, I picked up a handful of acorns fallen from the only remaining leafed-out branch. Traveling across the ocean in a remote corner of my suitcase, they survived and were planted in Ralph and Evelyn Lehman’s garden. Fortunately, seven acorns sprouted. The seedling sent to MCC in Akron was lost, then found and planted, but did not survive. The other little “Chortitza” Oaks can be found at Kidron-Bethel near the corner of Ivy Drive and Ivy Court, the MCC center at North Newton, Tabor College Campus and the Hopefield Church Monument. The last of the germinated Oak seedlings
will be transplanted in March to a prominent spot in the Bethel College Memorial Grove near The Plainsman Sculpture. Thus, adventurers may enjoy a time of “tree-tripping” to discover and enjoy the “Chortitza” Oaks which will likely hold a place in Mennonite history for many years. -Jacob D. Goering, N. Newton , KS

BEST EVER POPPY SEED ROLLS (by popular request)
Sweet dough:

  • Add 2 packets yeast to 1/2 cup warm water.

  • In separate bowl add 1/2 cup oleo and 2 cups warm (scalded) milk. Let cool. Combine the two bowls.

  • Add 3 eggs, dash salt, 1/2 cup sugar.

  • Beat, adding in 7 cups flour. Let raise to double size.

  • Then pinch off enough for 1 roll.

  • Roll into round pie shape. Put poppy mixture on crust.

  • Then roll into a roll and pinch to stay together.

  • Bake 350 until brown.

Poppy Seed Mixture:

  • 6-7 cups ground poppy

  • 2 Tbls. flour; 2 Tbls. syrup

  • 1 egg; 4 cups sugar; 2 cups hot milk.

  • Mix and bring to low boil.

  • Then cool before spreading on rolled crust.

-(from Alma Nilla Schrag Kaufman)
Nemen Eich, Unt Essen Eich

The Wolves
The wolves run fast, eager to catch the racing horse and sleigh ahead. On this cold winter night on the plains of Russia, the Mennonite wood cutters anxiously contemplate the hungry wolves and the distance across the snow to home and safety.

Gaining ground, the wolves smell the scent of their prey ahead. A little faster, a little closer, ravenous... drooling... lunging...

But wait, what is that object flying from the sleigh...a human? ...certainly a human scent. The pack stops, joyful for their success...only to be fooled by the overcoat thrown from the sleigh.

Now the sleigh is far ahead--too close to the village. The wolves turn away. Another time...
-from Grmo.Barbara -Mrs.Rev. Peter Stucky- via N Paul Stucky

"Bachelor Dan"/Bicycle Dan

It is said that it takes all kinds of people to make a world. As a nephew I believe Uncle Dan Kaufman made the world special because of his unique challenges and responses. Born in 1892 in Freeman, S.D., Dan is remembered as "a rather shy, lonely man". People liked to engage him in conversation. A few invited him to share a meal and to play checkers in their home. Some expressed regret that "so many of the relatives were ashamed of him."

During World War I, Daniel served as a non-combatant in the mess hall at Fort Riley, Kansas, "feeding people instead of killing them". During the Great Depression he lost his modest farm to the bank and also lost much trust in others. For l0 years he worked with Earl Gering at Eldon's Implement in Freeman. "He was a good man and friend", Gering said. Once he tightened a bolt by hand it was clearly there to stay until he loosened it.

Although Daniel was a faithful Bible reader and a member of the 'North Church' , he never returned to church services when he sensed that people laughed because of his dress. (His pants were pinned to keep them safe from the bicycle chain). Men who wanted to have fun found Dan to be an easy victim for their pranks -- one of which was to scare him with white bed sheets on dark nights as he traveled home. (This was in the days when tales of the "White Lady" were rampant). Many who had made fun of Dan recognized their error and changed to do what was right.

Bicycle Dan was different by habit and possibly due to a mental illness. Did Uncle Dan love because neighbors loved him? Or did God give him grace to go the extra mile and do what was beautiful and good? Daniel Kaufman died on Easter Sunday, 4-l5-l974.

In 2000, writer Joel Schwader pondered the meaning of Daniel Kaufman's life. He realized that "the people of Freeman had been his students, and he had taught them with his gentle smile. He never rose in anger to those who made fun of him. All the years he stood on the corner smiling robbed them of their unconcern. He may have been simple. He might have been crazy. But Dan Kaufman set a standard in the community by which people like him would be treated: 'Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these'. He taught the town of Freeman, SD, the meaning of compassion." *

-- Donald D. Kaufman * Schwader, "Freeman & Bicycle Dan", S. DAKOTA MAGAZINE (Sept.-Oct., 2000), p. 53.


“Sauerkraut is fur die Sei”

Der Nachtbar gleicht Sauerkraut. Von dem ist vennich doubt. Ich denk es sis net gifftich, und es saat nix in der heilicha Schrift davon abber Nachtbar ich bleib dabei, “Sauerkraut ist fur die Sei. Vor ess im house dem faul Geruch. Ich findt noe aus, ich geh un such is eppes dodes do im haus. Der yunger boo is gans versaut. Von Kopp zu fuss mit Sauerkraut So (Dietch ve Sauerkraut) sagen sie alle. Er geht abber kens im meiner hals. Mak Kucha odder Bohne Berrogi bin ich dabei. Abber Sauerkraut ist fur die sei. Ya Nachtbar mit dem bleib ich dabei.

Guck mol do, ve dumb sie das macha. Baarfussich schtompa in dem Hoffa, und das soll ich ins Maul stecke. Ich det kraat so lieblich dreck essa. Sauerkraut is fur die Sei. Gookamol jetzt do kummen drei. Naa Nachtbar ich nem das jetzt zurich Sauerkraut is net fur die sei. Sie riechen das un laufen vorbei. -The Schweitzer Bauer

(Are you befuddled? Read on...)

“Sauerkraut is for the Hogs”

My neighbor likes sauerkraut. From this there is no doubt. I don’t think it’s poison and there is nothing in the Bible about it. But neighbor, I’ll hold my ground- sauerkraut is for the hogs. What smells so terrible in this house? I’ll find out.

I’ll go and look. There is something dead here in this house. The youngest boy is completely soused from head to toe with sauerkraut. As “Dutch as Sauerkraut” they sometimes say. But there is none going down my throat. Poppy seed rolls or Bean Berrogi, I’ll hold my ground. But Sauerkraut is for the hogs. Yes neighbor, with this I’ll hold my ground.

Look once how they make it. Bare footed they stomp it in the crock. And that I’m supposed to put in my mouth! I would just as soon eat dirt. Sauerkraut is for the hogs. Look a bit, here come three hogs. No neighbor, I’ll have to take this back. Sauerkraut is not for hogs. They smell it and run right on by. -The Schweitzer Farmer , Maynard Krehbiel

Martin H. Schrag (1919-2000) was an authority on Schweitzer history. His book, “The European History of the Swiss Mennonites from Volhynia,” is considered by many as definitive. His brother, John O., offers this response to the question, “How did Martin come to be a historian of the Swiss Mennonites?”

Martin was a “late bloomer.” So no one would think his first words were “where did we all come from.” We knew we were different from the outside world. In his formative years, he breathed, bathed, worked, in a circumscribed “our people” world.

Schweitzerhood was a vital part of our identification. Martin’s Bethel experience helped him to get out of that box. It seems natural that he would, in post graduate, do research on “Unsere Leit.” His interest in history, 1-W years and his India experience must have inspired him to gather material on the Swiss Mennonites. Writing out of his own heritage, “The European History of the Swiss Mennonites from Volhynia” opened a door of understanding to Schweitzer history before 1874.

(For “Swiss-German” dialect records contact J. O. Schrag Box 3, N. Newton, KS 67117 )

Mennonite Historical & Cultural Association 2002 Membership

Erna Graber Bowman

Paula Goering

Victor Krehbiel

Martha Stucky

George Buhr

Lloyd Goering

Ralph Lehman

N Paul Stucky

Mildred Buhr

Lillie Goering

Evelyn Lehman

Neva Belle Stucky

Edythe Entz

Lisa M Goering

Helen Nachtigal

Wayne Stucky

Connie Wedel Esau

Myron Goering

Harry Neufeld

Elva Stucky

Leanna Goering Fast

Milt Goering

Donna Kaufman Neufeld

Gary Stucky

Arlo Flickner

Orlo Goering

Kristi Neufeld

Gilbert Stucky

Geneva Flickner

Helen Goering

Scott Neufeld-Wall

Helen Stucky

Galen Flickner

Ozzie Goering

David E Ortman

James P Stucky

Doris Flickner

Elaine Goering

Delmer D Ortman

Joanne Stucky

Donna Froese

Verna Goering

Orville Ortman

Josh Stucky

Don Schrag

Virgil Goering

Rich Preheim

Judith Lee Stucky

Mary Gaeddert

Verna Goering

Marlys Preheim

Steven Stucky

Karen Kaufman Gaeddert

Rachel Goossen

Norma Preheim

Vic Stucky

Marla Kaufman Gillmore

Diana Stucky Graber

Leslie Hiebert Rose

Alice Suderman

Art Goering

Harlan Graber

Marilyn Preheim Rose

Marlys Tieszen

Rosella Goering

Kay Graber

Josephine Schmidt

Leann Toews

Beth Goering

Martha Graber

Harold Schrag

Belva Unruh

Delbert Goering

Marvin Graber

Alice Schrag

Myron Voran

Julaine Goering

Betty Graber

Milo Schrag

Mildred Voran

Victor Goering

Pearl Graber

Anne Schrag

Lois Voran

Elizabeth Goering

Milt Grundman

Gordon Schrag

Max Voran

Gladys Goering

Bessie Huxman

Annie Schrag

Peter Voran

Harvey L Goering

Elvera Goering Johnson

J.O. Schrag

Orville Voth

Viola Goering

Roger Juhnke

Esther Schrag

Helen Voth

Homer D Goering

Donald Kaufman

Judy Schrag

Esther Waltner

Melvern Goering

Roland Kaufman

Laura Ann Schrag

Nellie Waltner

Erma Goering

Ruby Kaufman

Willie Schrag

Ann Waltner

Eugene Goering

Stuart Kaufman

Maxine Schrag

Harris Waltner

Wanita Goering

Virgil Kaufman

Dale R Schrag

Scott Waltner

Martin H Goering

Vernelle Kaufman

Delbert Schrag

Arnold Wedel

Evelyn Goering

Ellen Kling

Stella Waltner Schrag

Dolores Wedel

Milo Goering

Sam Krehbiel

Gary Schrag

Homer Wedel

Evelyn Goering

Florence Krehbiel

Joseph Schrag

Marie Wedel

Fern Goering

Maynard Krehbiel

LaVera Schrag

Marie Wedel

J. Hobart Goering

Marlene Krehbiel

Mervin Schrag

Janine Wedel

Lorene Goering

James W Krehbiel

Ruth Wedel Schrag

Kermit Wedel

Jake Goering

Barbara Krehbiel

Peggy Stucky Stein

Kathleen Zerger Wedel

Jay Goering

Ralph Krehbiel

Ben Stucky

Suzanne Wedel

Linda Goering

Leona Krehbiel

Jan Stucky

Violet Wildeboor

Keith Goering

Marlo Krehbiel

Harvey Stucky

Bernice Zerger

Judy Goering

Rick Krehbiel

Erna Stucky

Monte Zerger

Kenneth Goering

Sammy Krehbiel

Lorene Stucky

Ted Zerger

Pres. Arnold M. Wedel, VP. Roger Juhnke, Sec. Waneta Goering, Treas. Jay R. Goering

Ben J Stucky, Gary Stucky, Oswald Goering, Maynard Krehbiel, LaVera Schrag, Wayne Stucky

THANK YOU, contributors and distributors of “Schweitzer Salt”.

orrection: Prof. Keel is at the University of Kansas.

June 3, 2003, 6:30pm at Moundridge Memorial Home, 86 22nd Ave. Speaker is Jerold Stahly, historian.
Preceding the banquet , 5:30 pm, is the Cemetery Directory Bldg. dedication at the Hopefield Church.
Cemetery Committee:

  • Merv Schrag
  • Martha Graber
  • James W Krehbiel
  • Larry Stucky
  • Scott Waltner

-1st Mennonite Church of Moundridge celebrates 125 years; hosts Spring Banquet

SMCHA Annual Meetting, Feb. 2, 2003

Pres. Arnold M. Wedel presided. Discussion:

1. Membership in SMCHA- Should there be life time dues-- $100, $250, $500? Should yearly dues be $25? “Ten dollars (a year) is about what you would pay for one restaurant meal.”

2. SMCHA name- Since there are numerous Swiss Mennonite groups, should “Volhynian” be added to our name? Would that define precisely who we are? Would that be isolating us?

3. Budget- Major increases from 2002 budget:

  • Website Maintenance from $0 to $1,000.
  • Mowing Cemetery from $500 to $1,500.

Newsletter Editors:

  • Donna Kaufman Neufeld
    Box 142, N. Newton, KS67117
  • Neva Belle Kaufman Stucky
    405 NE 24, N.Newton, KS67117
  • Consultant: Arnold M. Wedel

Schweitzer Alert-The SMCHA Board encourages all persons interested in supporting SMCHA projects to join the SMCHA Membership for 2003. (Membership is $10 to treasurer: Jay R. Goering, 2002 Arrowhead Rd, Moundridge, KS 67107)

Ganz gut!
Das Ist Alles

This web page is a “work in progress” subject to continuing change as new material and events come along. Please check it out and send comments or possible items for the Home Page to a Committee member: Jim Goering (, Victor R. Goering ( and Dale E. Schrag ( To facilitate fast and low-cost handling, these items should be sent electronically, i.e., as an e-mail message or file attached to an e-mail. We value you suggestions. Webmaster is Dennis Quiring. -Jim Goering

Newsletter Editors: Donna Kaufman Neufeld    Box 142    N. Newton, KS 67117   ph: 316-283-3373    e mail-

Neva Belle Adamson Stucky   405 NE 24   N. Newton, KS 67117

Consultant- Arnold Wedel      Logo- Kristi Neufeld
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