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Kroeker, Johann F. (1871–1933)

Proper Title

Johann F. Kroeker collection

Dates of Creation

1909–1923, 1986–2000

Physical Description

1 folder of textual materials and 7 photographs

Biographical Sketch

Johann F. Kroeker was born on October 13, 1871, in Gnadenfeld, Russia. He attended St. Chrischona Bible School, Switzerland, and Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas, graduating from the academy in 1899. He married Susanna Schowalter of Rittershoffen, Bas-Rhin, France. He, his wife, Anna Funk, and the P.A. Penners were the first General Conference missionaries to India, arriving in Bombay on December 9, 1900.

The Kroekers opened the mission station at Janjgir, erected the first buildings, organized the school, and opened evangelistic work. Because of ill health they returned to Russia in 1909, where he served as itinerant evangelist of the Gnadenfeld Mennonite Church among the Mennonites of Siberia. Once in Siberia he filled many rolls including doctor, obstetrician, teacher, church correspondent, and dentist.

In 1929 the Kroeker’s tried to escape Russia by crossing the Amur river to Harbin China, however they were discovered and exiled to Siberia. Johann Kroeker was imprisoned and died there in 1933. Susanna and her oldest daughter died of starvation in 1941. Three of the Kroeker daughters survived the exile, Lilli, Maria, and Anna. Lilli and Anna married Peter and Walter Friesen.

Custodial History

This material appears to have been sent to the Mennonitische Rundschau in 1986, who in turn passed it on to the Centre. Other materials have been added by the Centre.

Scope and Content

The material in this collection consists of an account written by Johann Kroeker’s daughter about the family. The other significant material in this collection are six photos which include the family and Anna Funk.


  • Volume 995 (file no. 15) and photograph collection 148-01.
  • Described by Conrad Stoesz, February 8, 2000; updated by Conrad Stoesz, July 9, 2007.
  • Accession nos. 2007-026.
  • Finding aid consists of a description and a file list.
  • No restrictions on access.
  • Related materials in other repositories: the Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg.
  • Language: German, English, and French.

File List

Volume 995. File no. 15

  1. Group portrait of workers in India. – 9 x 12 cm. -- [ca. 1909].
  2. Account of the work and life of Johann Kroeker by daughter Lillie (Mimi) Friesen. -- [1986?].
  3. Newspaper clipping "Fanny Crosby’s Ninetieth Birthday”. -- [ca. 1910].
  4. Articles from various publications regarding the life and work of Johann F. Kroeker. -- 2000.
  5. Article from the Mennonitische Rundschau by Johann F. Kroeker. -- 1923.
  6. Profiles of Mennonite Faith, “Annie and the Titanic”, no. 4. -- 1998.
  7. Susanne Kröker–Schowalter 1874–1939. Die erste mennoniten – Missionarin des Elsasses / Jean Hege. 7 pages. -- [200-].
  8. Suzanne Kroeker–Schowalter 1874–1938 (?) Premiere Missionnaire Mennonite D’Alsace / Jean hege, in Souvenance Anabaptiste Mennonitisches gedächtnis, p. 52–63. 2003.


NP148-01 Johann F. Funk
NP148-01:1 Johann F. Kroeker family and friends in India. -- [190-].
This photo is of the Johann F. Kroeker, his ife and 5 children, along with 3 family friends [also missionaries?] in India. Back row, far left is Annie C. Funk. Second row is Johann F. Kroeker, Susanna...9 x 11 cm [b&w].
NP148-01:2 Annie C. Funk holding a small child. -- [190-].
This photo is of Annie C. Funk, missionary in India, holding a small Kroeker child on her lap.
9 x 14 cm [b&w].
NP148-01:3 Post card of Mussoori Band stand. -- [190?].
This photo is a post card sent to Johann F. Kroeker showing the Mussoorie Band Stand, Library, and...
14 x 9 cm [coloured].
NP148-01:4 Large group of people in front of building. -- 1900.
This photo is of a large group of people standing in front of a building, seventh from left is [Johann F. Kroeker?]. Note: A second photo has been partly exposed on this photo. It is of a group of middle aged people posing for a photo.
15 x 10 cm [b&w].
NP148-01:5 Man with donkey. -- 1908.
This photo is a post card sent to Johann Kroeker and is of a Dhobie man from [India?] with his donkey.
14 x 9 cm [b&w]
NP148-01:6 Vaucouleurs. Hotel de Ville. -- 1902.
This photo is of a post card sent to Susanna Kroeker of a brick building.
14 x 8 cm [b&w].


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