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Toews, Johann J. (1878–1933)

Proper Title

Johann J. Toews fonds

Dates of Creation

[19-], 1932, [ca. 1950], 1980

Physical Description

1 folder of textual records

Biographical Sketch

Johann J. Toews was born on June 25, 1878 as the second oldest son of Reverend Johann Aron Toews (-1898), in the village of Fabrikerweise. Later the family moved to Muntau, Molotschna, south Russia. After his schooling Johann J. Toews became a school teacher in the Molotschna schools for thirteen years. In 1898 he married Susanna Wiens (1873–1937) of Ladekop, Molotschna.

His spiritual gifts were recognized by the church and he was elected and ordained in the Petershagen Mennonite Church and later became a member in the Mennonite Brethren church. He enjoyed his work as a minister of the gospel and also taught some Bible courses.

During the Soviet Regime he was closely scrutinized and interrogated numerous times. He attempted to leave the Soviet Union in 1927, but all his efforts were blocked.

In 1929 he attempted again to flee with his family via Moscow. He was forcibly taken from his family and imprisioned for eight months. His family continued their journey to Canada, but were forced to settle in Brazil. The family never was reunited. Johann was deported to Siberia where he died on February 21, 1933. Elder David D. Paetkau and a Mohamedan priest dug his grave under the evergreen trees of the forest.

Custodial History

The materials in this collection have been donated at various times. The letter from Anna Dyck to Abe Schellenberg, editor of the Mennonitishe Rundschau, states that the sermon “Heimat...” may have been from Toews who was her Bible teacher. The post card was donted by Erica Voth of Clearbrook, BC on February 28, 1992. The published work Die Hebung des Geistlichen. . . was added to the collection by the staff at the Centre.

Scope and Content

The material in this collection consists of a post card written by Toews while he was in prison, a sermon, and a publication. The material is in German. All but the publcation item is in the handwritten German Gothic script.


  • Volume 1052.
  • Described by Conrad Stoesz November 19, 1999.
  • Accession nos. 1992–009.

File List

Volume 1052

  1. Johann J. Toews, Die Hebung Des Geistlichen Lebens in Den Gemeinden, Winnipeg, Manitoba: The Christian Press Ltd. – [ca. 1950].
  2. Post card written by Johann Toews from prsion to his sister dated 28.IV.1932. – 1932.
  3. Sermon “Heimat für Heimatlose”, by Johann Toews. – [19-].
  4. Letter from Anna Dyck to Schellenberg regarding sermon “Heimat für Heimatlose”. – December 18, 1980.
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