Peter Kornelius Peters: farmer; born 23 June 1886 in Paulsheim, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia, to Kornelius Peters. On 19 January 1921, Peter married Katharina Dirks, daughter of Gerhard and Margareta (Unruh) Dirks. The couple had five children, three girls and two boys, of whom only the boys survived childhood. Peter was arrested in the autumn of 1937 and exiled to the Novosibirsk region, where he died of starvation on 4 March 1938.
While Peter was still quite young, his father died, and Peter took on many of the responsibilities on the farm, as his mother apparently did not remarry. Peter was converted at an early age and he and his wife joined the Lichtfelde Allianz Church in 1922. During the First World War, he served in the Forsteidienst, first in Oryol and then in Kostroma, preparing logs for sawmills. Later, he was involved in road construction until he was released from the service in 1917. On 19 January 1921, Peter married Katharina Dirks in Paulsheim, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, where they operated a farm. During the famine of 1921-1923, Peter’s mother lived with them, and they were very grateful to receive a food package from the United States.
In April 1928, a commission came to the area and imposed huge fines on Peter and the other farmers, much more than they could afford, especially after some of the crops had been ruined by a storm. Since they could not pay the required sum, Peter and two other farmers were arrested and imprisoned in Halbstadt. They were released three days later on payment of a fine. In 1929, Peter went to Moscow in an attempt to obtain permission to emigrate, but he was unable to obtain the necessary documents and returned home.
On 1 March 1931, the police surrounded the home of Peters and his family, searched the house, took everything they could, and ordered the family to leave. Together with his wife and two sons, Peter traveled by wagon to Nikolaidorf and then to Franztal, where they found a place to stay. Peter managed to find work in the neighboring town of Nelgovka, helping with the crops.
However, on 23 August 1933, Peters was arrested again and taken to prison in Gnadenfeld. After a few days there, he was sentenced to six years of exile and was disenfranchised. He was transferred to a prison in Melitopol, where he became ill. When he was able to work again, he was sent to work on the White Sea Canal in Murmansk, was released due to ill health, was arrested again, and was sent to prison in Tashkent. He was released again and eventually moved with his family to the Caucasus region and later back to Paulsheim. Peter was arrested again in the autumn of 1937 and sent to the Novosibirsk region, where he died of starvation on 4 March 1938. Katharina eventually reached Canada, but both of her sons settled in Russia.
Peter Kornelius Peters is an example of the many people who suffered in Russia. Although his life ended tragically, he was an example of faithfulness for his family and the people around him.
GRANDMA = GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.06 ed. Fresno, CA:, 2011: #1023652.
"Katharina Peters." Die Mennonitische Rundschau (16 October 1974): 11.
Toews, Aron. Mennonitische Märtyrer: der jüngsten Vergangenheit und der Gegenwart, 2 vols. [Abbotsford, B.C.] : Selbstverlag des Verfassers, 1949-1954: v. II, 195-198.
|Helmut T. Huebert|
|Date Published||April 2011|
Cite This Article
Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. "Peters, Peter Kornelius (1886-1938)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2011. Web. 14 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Peters,_Peter_Kornelius_(1886-1938)&oldid=96003.
Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. (April 2011). Peters, Peter Kornelius (1886-1938). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Peters,_Peter_Kornelius_(1886-1938)&oldid=96003.
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