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Oberschulze (German for mayor or executive official) was the highest officer of the district or county (German, Gebietsamt; Russian volost) in the Mennonite settlements in Russia, Manitoba, Mexico, and South America. Each village had a mayor (Schulze) and all the villages of a single Mennonite settlement were administered by the Gebietsamt, of which the Oberschulze was the head. The position of the Oberschulze in civic matters was parallel to that of the elder in the spiritual realm (see also Government of Mennonites in Russia).

The Oberschulzen of Chortitza were Peter Siemens, 1801-1805; Nikolai Krahn and Peter Siemens, 1808-1823; Isaak Töws, Jacob Penner, Peter Löwen, and Jacob Bartsch, 1832-1838; Jakob von Kampen and Jacob Bartsch, 1841-1854; Johann Siemens, Jacob Dyck, Jakob Hamm, and Heinrich Martens, 1869-1872; Jakob Braun, Isaak Lehn, Peter Andres, and Johann Hildebrand, 1881-1887; Franz Thiessen, Peter Dyck, Heinrich Fröse, Kornelius Martens, Peter Koop, and Jacob Wiebe, 1905-1908; Johann Hübert and Jakob Wiebe, 1909.

Molotschna Oberschulzen were Klaas Wiens, 1804-1806; Johann Klassen, 1806-1809; Gerhard Reimer and Johann Klassen, 1812-1815; Peter Töws, Gerhard Enns, Johann Klassen (Orloff), Johann Klassen (Tiegerweide), and Johann Regehr, 1833-1842; Abraham Töws, 1842-1848; David Friesen, 1848-1865; Franz Dyck, 1865-1867; Abraham Driedger and Kornelius Töws, 1868-1873; Abraham Wiebe, 1873-1879; Peter Dück and Klaas Enns, 1882-1885; Johann Enns, 1885-1889; Klaas Enns and Peter Neufeld, 1889-1899; Franz Nickel, 1899-1906; Dietrich Dyck, 1906-1910.

In 1870 a new district was organized known as "Gnadenfeld," where the following served as Oberschulze: Wilhelm Ewert, 1870-1871; Franz Penner, 1871; Peter Ewert, Gerhard Fast, and David Unruh, 1878-1887; Gerhard Dürksen, 1887-1904; Jacob Dürksen, 1904-1910.


Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911: 678 ff.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius. "Oberschulze." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 24 Mar 2017.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Oberschulze. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 March 2017, from

Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Kitchener, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 14-15. All rights reserved.

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