What others say
Dora Dueck, a Mennonite author from Winnipeg, Canada, wrote a series of nice articles about her encounters with women (of the past) on a Mennonite Heritage Tour from Holland to Poland:
- What I like about being a tour-ist
- Death by laundry
- A pioneering eccentric
- If only I were younger!
- "owning" Muenster
- Who was Anneliese Walter?
- Finding our names
- The many, and the one
Rudy Wiens from Toronto, Canada, also joined a Mennonite Heritage Tour from Holland to Poland and wrote this readers article for the Canadian Mennonite:
- Having just read Peter Klassen’s book on the Mennonite colonies in Poland (Mennonites in Early Modern Poland and Prussia, AF), I began contemplating how I might ever get to see some of those places that Klassen describes and the accomplishments of a people bound together in faith and a particularly strong work ethic. Then I saw the short notice in Canadian Mennonite's classified ads announcing the emergence of a new Mennonite Heritage Tours organization, based in the Netherlands, that offered exactly what I was looking for, and much more. Following up on their web site at www.mennoniteheritagetours.eu, I quickly learned that the company is the project of Ayold Fanoy, a student at the Mennonite seminary in Amsterdam. Ayold came into the Mennonite church attracted by its traditional peace position, having been raised in the faith tradition of the French Huguenots, and has hopes of combining a church pastoral position with a global Mennonite interaction ministry based on his travel business. His Tour #3 seemed ideal for my wife and me, a retired couple adventurous enough to want to travel with a company on its first year of touring.
So in early August six of us, including our driver/guide Ayold, set off in a 1.9 litre station wagon to visit churches in the northern Netherlands and Hamburg, the memorials to Menno Simons in Friesland and north Germany, the dazzling sights of ultra-new Berlin, and then the Mennonite homeland of West Prussia, along the Vistula River in Poland from Torun to Gdansk. Familiar Russian Mennonite names were evident on headstones in cemeteries in former Prussian Mennonite villages like Heubuden, Ladekopp, and Orlofferfelde, and pretty churches built by Mennonites are now well-maintained and used by Catholic worshipers, as in Montau and Obernessau, assuring us that God did not leave the land without a witness even after the Mennonites were driven out finally in 1945. Beautiful Danzig was replicated as Gdansk with the prominent Flemish renaissance architecture of the Mennonite, Abraham Block, and we were delighted to eat dinner in the lavish restaurant "Zum Lachs", founded and run by a Mennonite family for hundreds of years. We were duly impressed by the palaces of the kings our ancestors had to deal with in Krakow and Berlin, and the huge medieval fortress they well knew in Marienburg.
Modern history met us everywhere. Reminders of World War II included our emotional visit to Auschwitz and our crossing of the Warthegau, that resting place on the Great Trek in the flight from Stalin's Russia. The church service in Niedergoersdorf in eastern Germany was with Umsiedler who never made it to the West in those days, and the remnants of the destroyed Berlin wall are a marker of profound change occurring in their lifetime.
Every day of the tour was meaningful, time was used efficiently but without pressure, the food and accommodation were rarely luxurious, but always satisfying and comfortable, and the group camaraderie was relaxed and pleasant. Throughout, the tour was thoroughly satisfying for us, and we recommend it to anyone with some historical sensitivity.
Mississauga Mennonite Fellowship