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Unger, Abraham (1825–1880)

Proper Title

Abraham Unger fonds

Dates of Creation

[ca. 1880], [194-?], [ca. 1990], 1996

Physical Description

1 folder of textual records and two black and white photographs

Biographical Sketch

Abraham Unger was born January 6, 1825 to Heinrich Peter Unger (1786–1855) and his second wife Margaretha Sawatzky (1795-1871). Abraham Unger was elected elder of the Einlage Mennonite congregation in the Chortitza colony, south Russia in 1859/1860. He was at the forefront of the movement which led to the formation of the Mennonite Brethren church. On March 4, 1862 he was baptised by immersion which set a precedent for all others wanting to join the church. He was in dialogue with J.G. Oncken, a Baptist preacher in Hamburg. Under Unger’s influence immersion became the only acceptable mode of baptism for the Mennonite Brethren church. Communion was extended only to those who had been baptised in this fashion.

Abraham Unger married Katharina Martens (ca. 1862- ) and they had four children together.

His leadership in the church was not without controversy. There always was tension between him and other leaders in the congregation. He retired from his position as elder in 1876, but remained one of the most influential people of the congregation.

Custodial History

This collection was begun by the Centre as various people deposited items related to Abraham Unger. The photographs were lent to the centre by Wendy Dueck and her daughter Naomi of Kleefeld, Manitoba in 1992, to make copies. A photocopy was taken of the larger picture of the sons of Abraham Unger. The portraits of Unger and his wife were photographed and placed in the photograph collection. The genealogical charts were originally made by Irmgard Schroeder and Richard Thiessen and deposited in 1992. The most recent item added to the collection came from James Urry of New Zealand consisting of an 1870 report by Unger which was transcribed and published in an 1996 journal article.

Scope and Content

The material in this collection consists of photographs of Abraham Unger and his family, genealogical charts and a report from Unger published in 1870.


  • Location: textual: volume 1078, photo NP25-07-62.
  • Described by Conrad Stoesz November 19, 1999.
  • Accession nos. 1992–031,1996–034.

File List

Volume 1078

  1. Photocopy of a photograph of Abraham Unger’s sons, Einlage Russia. – [ca. 1880].
  2. Copy of genealogical chart of Abraham Unger by Irmgard Schroeder. – [194-?].
  3. Copy of genealogical chart of Abraham Unger by Richard Thiessen. – [ca. 1990].
  4. Transcription of: Unger, “Communication from Rev. Unger in S. Russia”, in, The Freeman: A Journal of Religion, Literature, Social Science and Politics, February 25th 1870, pp.147 – 148. – 1996.
  5. Pictures and negatives of Abraham Unger and his wife, originally taken in ca. 1870. – 1996.
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