Menno Simons lecturer at Bethel College to speak on “Mennonites in Revolutionary Ukraine”


by Bethel College and available here

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.”

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