← Back to Personal Papers

Fehderau, Nicolai J. (1904–1989)

Proper Title

Nicolai J. Fehderau fonds

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

12 cm of textual material

Biographical Sketch

Nicholas J. Fehderau, son of Jakob and Maria Fehderau, was born in 1904 in the Militopol District, South Russia. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Neu Halbstadt, Molotschna where Nicholas received elementary, secondary, and commerce education as well as some pedagogical training. During the difficult years of revolution and famine, Nicholas lost his father. As a result, he had some difficulty with faith issues but he made a new spiritual beginning during a revival, and was baptized in June 1924. In the same year, he immigrated to Canada and found work on a farm. In 1925, he settled at Kitchener, Ontario, where he remained for the rest of his life. He married Louise Martens in June, 1929.

Even as a young boy, Fehderau loved music. He was a charter member of the Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church and directed the church choir from 1931 to 1958. He copied many choir songs, eventually setting them from Ziffern to notes. One collection of these songs was bound and entitled "Ausgewaehlte Chorlieder." Eventually, he had to make the shift from German to English choir selections. Fehderau’s choir served in many places other than their home church and also performed in special musical evenings, often with a cantata. Under Fehderau’s direction the choir began a radio broadcast once a week, with speakers F.C. Peters and J.J. Toews. Fehderau contributed much to music-making among the Mennonite Brethren in Ontario. Nicholas Fehderau died in November, 1989.

Custodial History

Material arrived at different times, most of it from son Harold Fehderau in 1991, and some from daughter Eleanore Fast of Winnipeg in 1996 and 1999. Some material was submitted to the Mennonitische Rundschau for publication by Nicholas J. Fehderau in 1988 and subsequently transferred to the archives from these publication offices. Another item was received from Peter Letkemann in 1998 who received it from Fresno. This item had originally been given to the Center for MB Studies (Fresno) by I.G. Neufeld.

Scope and Content

The Nicholas J. Fehderau collection consists primarily of records that grew out of his musical involvements such as memorabalia, choir lists, programs presented by the Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Choir, and lists of songs sung by the choir. Much of Fehderau’s choir library is dispersed among the music collection at Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. The fonds also contains autobiographical articles written by Fehderau and published in the Mennonitische Rundschau, and extensive memoirs of his experiences in Russia 1904 to 1924.


  • Volume 946.
  • Title based on contents of fonds.
  • The accession numbers are 1991–3, 1996–31, 1998–060 and 1999–001.
  • Related material: English translation of N.J. Fehderau’s From the Heights into the Depths. (1997)
  • Related material: Photo collection NP194-01-22 to 32, from the Anne Wiebe manuscript collection; includes photos of immigration documents; NS20-01-01 and 03.
  • Updated by Yvonne Snider-Nighswander February 21, 2012.
  • No restriction on access.

File List

Volume 946

  1. "Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben in Suedrusland in den Jahren 1918–1919." Introduction and parts 1–8 from the Mennonitische Rundschau. – 3 January 1979 to 25 April 1979.
  2. Memorabalia materials in honour of Nicholas J. Fehderau.
  3. "Er fuehret mich auf rechter Strasze" from the Mennonitische Rundschau. – 31 October 1989 – 28 November 1989.
  4. "Revolution und Buergerkrieg" submitted to the Mennonitische Rundschau. – 4 pages. – 1988.
  5. "Chor der MB Kirche in den Jahren 1928–1931" and to 1958. Fehderau’s recollections of his years with the Kitchener Choir.
  6. Preface to VI Teil Song Collection. – 1949.
  7. Indexed lists of songs sung with the Kitchener Choir.
  8. List of Kitchener choir members. – 1931–1957.
  9. Six record books of songs sung. – 1931–1962.
  10. Two Choir Albums.
  11. Inventory of Nicholas J. Fehderau’s choir library donated to Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies.
  12. Programs presented by the Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Choir, 1931–1958.
  13. "Skizzen aus meinem Leben vor waehrend – und nach der Revolution in den Jahren 1904 – 1924" / von N.J. Fehderau. – 205 pp.
  14. /15. "Aus der Hoehe in die Tiefen : Erinnerungen aus meiner Kindheit und Jugendjahren in Sued Russland 1904–1924". – 871 pp.
← Back to Personal Papers