A.A. Wiens Speaks at Farwell for Couple
Mennonite Relief Aids Many Needy Nations
Population of 480,000 Mennonites in the world make up 1/40 of one per cent of world population. A.A. Wiens, provincial Mennonite relief committee secretary stated in an address on Mennonites and their activities.
He spoke at a farewell given Mr. and Mrs. David Quopp who left Yarrow recently to aid in relief work in Europe in Mennonite Central Committee.
Among the Mennonite there are about 19 different religious denominations, but they are united into the Mennonite Central committee which has headquarters in Pennsylvania.
During the war, relief work was done in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Spain, China and Paraguay. As soon as the war ended, the biggest relief program in Mennonite history was started.
About $13,500,000 has been spent on clothing, food parcels and money orders sent by Mennonites in Canada and the United States. Many thousands of refugees and displaced persons have been assisted.
Today Mennonites have 245 workers carrying on relief work in Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Hungary, Palestine, Poland, Ethiopia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Philippines, Porto Rico, China and Japan.
The speaker pointed out that gifts made by Mennonites in Canada and United States amounted to only about 3 cents per person per day. Through these small donations, the work of the last five years has been accomplished.
About 11,000 homeless Mennonites have through the Mennonite Central Committee been established in new homes.
"To help needy people, disregarding of creed denomination is the only way to minimize the misfortune of many nations as to prevent future disaster," the speaker asserted.
Although there are Mennonites on all seven continents, the largest group is in North America.
Canada has 110,000; the United States, 180,000; Mexico, 10,000; and South America, 12,000.
European division shows Holland has 70,000; Germany, 15,000; France 2,000; Switzerland, 2,000.
In European sector of Soviet Russia there were formerly 40,000 Mennonites, 30,000 of whom were displaced persons during the war. About 10,000 are believed to be in British, American and French zones of Germany. Greater part of them, through aid of Mennonite Central committee found new homes in Canada, United States, Paraguay and Uruguay.
In Asia many are found in Siberia where they have been sent by the Soviet government to work in slave labour camps. Others are in various parts of Siberia. Total Russian Mennonites are estimated at 40,000.
There may still be remnants of Mennonite settlements in Turkestan where they lived before the Russian revolution in prosperous communities. Some young men enlisted in French Foreign Legion and others went to live in China, but since the revolution, most of the Mennonites from China have come to the United States.
In Palestine, near Jerusalem, several hundred lived in two communities, but were driven out during the war between the Arabs and Israelites. They were taken by British armed forces to the island of Cyprus and from there emigrated to Australia.