Abraham A. Harder, the founder of the Mennonite orphanage at Grossweide, Molotschna Mennonite settlement of South Russia, was born 29 September 1866, at Hierschau, Gnadenfeld district, the son of Abraham Johann Harder (1840-1925) and Anna (Fast) Harder (1841-1898). Abraham, a teacher in the village school, was a son of Elder Johann Harder (1811-1875).
After Abraham had completed his schooling, his parents moved to a farm at Alexanderwohl. He was baptized after catechetical instruction when he was about 21 years old and joined the Alexanderwohl Church, of which his father was a preacher.
When Mennonites began to settle in the Crimea, Abraham A. Harder joined the movement, settling at Neu-Toksaba, about 27 miles from the seaport Evpatoriya. Here Harder and his wife were re-baptized by immersion and joined the Mennonite Brethren Church at Spat, Crimea, near Simferopol, but about 1900 moved back to the Molotschna settlement, making his home at Rosenort. Following an inner call to care for Mennonite orphans, Harder used the proceeds from the sale of his farm in the Crimea to buy a house in Grossweide, which he turned into an orphanage in 1906. In later years a large modern school building with a boys' dormitory was added. Many Mennonite orphans educated here became valuable citizens of Mennonite communities. The orphanage, however, was taken over by the Communists after the Revolution. Mrs. Harder died in an underground hut at Spat, where she and her husband had fled to escape the terror of the Communists. Harder was still living in Tchongrav, Crimea, during World War II and was exiled with many others to Central Asia when the German army invaded Russia. Abraham died in Omsk on 19 October 1941.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 5.05 ed. Fresno, CA:, 2008: #164808.
Hege, Christian and Neff, Christian. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 252 f.
Cite This Article
H., Er. "Harder, Abraham A. (1866-1941)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 30 Sep 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harder,_Abraham_A._(1866-1941)&oldid=95106.
H., Er. (1956). Harder, Abraham A. (1866-1941). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 September 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Harder,_Abraham_A._(1866-1941)&oldid=95106.
Herald Press website.
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