This book portrays one of the most dramatic episodes in recent Mennonite history. Set against the background of the early Soviet era in Russia, it narrates the story of a small religious and ethnic group caught in the tenacious grasp of political upheaval and social change. Having devoted a century of toil to the country whose patronage attracted them early in the nineteenth century, the Russian Mennonites faced a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions after 1917. Progressively uprooted by the cross-currents of revolution, they began a struggle for survival in which every alternative offering even a vague promise of a better future was explored.
Lost Fatherland stresses the economic, social, cultural, and religious aspects related to the ultimate failure of the Mennonite dialogue with communism. Once convinced Russia held no future for them, the colonists formulated plans for mass emigration. The story of the exodus was one of endurance, fortitude, patience and faith. For many the movement was overshadowed by the constant threat of failure. It ended in heartbreak for the majority of settlers, for only one quarter of the Mennonite minority in Russia managed to find a new home in Canada.
John B. Toews (PhD, University of Colorado) is Professor of Church History and Anabaptist Studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. His other books include Perilous Journey: The Mennonite Brethren in Russia, 1860-1910 and The Diaries of David Epp, 1837-1843.