A Homeland for Strangers: An Introduction to Mennonites in Poland and Prussia
Peter J. Klassen. Fresno, CA: Center for M.B. Studies, 1989. 95 pages.
Peter J. Klassen, under the auspices of the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Fresno, California, has written an excellent introduction to the study of Mennonites in Poland and Prussia. This slim volume should interest anyone and everyone who wishes a clearly written and well-organized summation of this subject. Valuable maps (often conspicuously absent in brief introductions) and outstanding photographs throughout this book illuminate the text and keep the interest of the reader.
Klassen begins with a concise explanation of the historical context of Mennonite settlement in Prussia. He then describes each of the settlements in the Vistula-Nogat Delta, along the Vistula, and those in areas which were later incorporated into the Soviet Union. After a single-page summation of the “new hopes” and “new homes” of Mennonites leaving Poland and Prussia, Klassen finishes with a fascinating description of the cities and countryside of Poland today. Appendices listing alphabetically the Mennonite settlements in Poland and Prussia, the pertinent dates concerning the history of settlements, and travel information for those wishing to visit modern-day Poland round out this informative and attractive volume.
In his foreword, the author promises that “a more complete monograph, based upon extensive archival sources, is currently under preparation.” I will be looking expectantly for this more complete work. In the meantime, I heartily recommend the present book as preparation for the one to come.