Ohrloff Mennonitische Zentralschule was the first secondary school established among the Mennonites in Russia. It was founded in 1820 by an educational society (Schulverein) headed by Johann Cornies, the great Mennonite organizer and colonizer. The first site of the school, which at that time had only one classroom, was between the villages of Ohrloff and Tiege in the Molotschna settlement in the Ukraine. In 1847 the school building burned down, the following year Johann Cornies died, and the school remained closed till 1860, when it was reopened in a new building at Ohrloff.
Like all other Zentralschulen in the Molotschna and its daughter settlements, the Ohrloff school had a three-year course of study, in contrast to this type of schools in the Chortitza settlement, where the course of study was four years. The first teacher was Tobias Voth, whom Cornies invited to come from Prussia. Because he could teach only in the German language and was not strict enough in his school discipline, Cornies dismissed him after seven years of service. He was followed by Heinrich Heese, another pioneer of education among the Russian Mennonites, who also came from Prussia. He had studied Russian for several years and now at the wish of Cornies this language was introduced into the curriculum of the school. Heese taught for 15 years, then also disagreed with Cornies, left the school, and went to Chortitza, where he founded the Chortitza Zentralschule. After its reopening in 1860 the Ohrloff Zentralschule had three classrooms with three teachers. Its curriculum supplied a very substantial higher elementary education. Some prominent teachers of the school were Hermann Janzen, P. H. Ediger, P. J. Wiens, J. Janzen, and especially Kornelius Unruh and Johann Bräul, two of the most prominent schoolmen among the Russian Mennonites.
In 1912 the school was moved into its new beautiful modern building. But soon, with the advent of World War I and after it the Russian Revolution, the Communist regime took over the school and it ceased to be a center of Mennonite education.
Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga." 1911.
Cite This Article
Gerlach, Horst. "Ohrloff Mennonitische Zentralschule (Ohrloff, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 4 May 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ohrloff_Mennonitische_Zentralschule_(Ohrloff,_Molotschna_Mennonite_Settlement,_Zaporizhia_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=76581.
Gerlach, Horst. (1959). Ohrloff Mennonitische Zentralschule (Ohrloff, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 May 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ohrloff_Mennonitische_Zentralschule_(Ohrloff,_Molotschna_Mennonite_Settlement,_Zaporizhia_Oblast,_Ukraine)&oldid=76581.
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