15 July 2018

15 July 1804: Lindenau, Molotschna Founded

Location of Lindenau on Karl Stumpp's "Map of German Settlements
 in the Zaporozhye Region," AHSGR map #21.
When Tsar Alexander II issued his manifesto inviting foreigners to settle in the Black Sea area of Russia, in late February 1804, Mennonites were among the first groups to take him up on the offer.  Skilled farmers settled the Chortitza and Molotschna colonies.

On this day, 15 July 1804, just five months after South Russia was opened for settlement, the Molotschna colony of Lindenau was founded about 13 kilometers southwest of Halbstadt. The 11 founding families of this Mother colony were from West Prussia. The primary occupation in the colony was agriculture, but by just before the Russian Revolution, about half the population were craftsmen.

Plat map of Lindenau from 1941. See the text below.  Source: http://chort.square7.ch/FB/D0680p.html

Text on the plat map:
"This plan was drawn by H.J. Neudorf according to a sketch made by P. Kroeker of Vancouver, B.C.  Lindenau was one of the first villages that was established in 1804 on the left bank of the Molotschnaja River. The residents of this village prospered. They had their own church, their own schools, had a Four Mill, a store and other businesses. The first World War, the Revolution of 1917, the Typhoid epidemic and famine brought severe complications and adverse conditions to the Mennonites. The villagers lost their religious, educational, and economic freedom that they had previously enjoyed. Because of these circumstances some decided to leave Russia and emigrated to Canada in the 1920's. The remaining villagers were evacuated in 1943 and resettled in Germany. Thereafter Lindenau ceased to exist as a mennonite settlement."

According to GAMEO (Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online): "During and after the Revolution the village suffered severely. The collectivization was accomplished in 1929. Many of the farmers were sent to Siberia as kulaks. This continued till the outbreak of World War II. In 1941, when the Germans approached, most of the male population was sent to Siberia. The remaining families continued farming in groups of four to five until they were evacuated westward when the Germans retreated in 1943. Some of them reached Canada, but most of them were returned to Russia."

Photo of the school in Lindenau. Source: http://chort.square7.ch/FB/D0680p.html

Photo of the ruins of the school in Lindenau. Source: http://chort.square7.ch/FB/D0680p.html

Lindenau still exists today and is known as Lyubymivka, Zaporiz’ka, Ukraine.

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