Dr. Aileen Friesen will give the 71st annual Menno Simons Lectures at Bethel College Oct. 29-30, focused on a historical topic with current resonance: revolution in Ukraine.
All lectures are in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center, at 7 p.m. Oct. 29, and at 11 a.m. (regular Bethel College convocation) and 7 p.m. Oct. 30.
Opportunity for audience discussion will follow each lecture. They are free and open to the public.
Friesen’s overall topic for her three-lecture series is “The Mennonites in Revolutionary Ukraine.”
Friesen, a scholar of Mennonite and Russian history, was on the Bethel campus in 2018 as a presenter for the conference “Mennonites and the Holocaust.”
She spoke about her research into the contrasting fates of Mennonites and Jews under Nazi occupation in World War II Ukraine, telling a chilling story about the massacre of 3,700 Jews from Zaporizhia in the early spring of 1942, at which at least one Mennonite was present.
A month later, Mennonites gathered to celebrate Easter in nearby Chortitza, rejoicing that after more than a decade of Soviet repression, the Germans had allowed them to reopen their churches and resume “normal life.”