Gerhard Kornelius Plett: minister; born 19 July 1892 in Hierschau, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia, to Kornelius Julius Plett (18 January 1859 - 31 October 1895) and Margaretha (Sperling) Plett (25 November 1860 - 31 October 1914). He was the third of seven children in the family. In 1913, he married Elisabeth Kroeker (2 February 1893, Nikolaidorf, Molotschna, South Russia - 18 September 1972, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), daughter of Peter and Katharina (Schroeder) Kroeker, in Nikolaidorf, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement. The couple had eight children, Anna, Susie, Margaretha, Elisabeth, Kornelius, Heinrich, Gerhard, and Peter, and also cared for Elisabeth’s brother’s children. Gerhard was arrested in 1931 but returned to his family in 1936; however, he was arrested again on 20 October 1937 and sent into exile, where he disappeared and was never heard from again.
As a child, Gerhard likely received his education at the local school in his village. He was converted in his early years, was baptized, and was accepted as a member of the Landskrone Mennonite Church, where his uncle Gerhard Plett was the elder. In time, Gerhard was also accepted as a minister of the Landskrone congregation. In 1913, he married Elisabeth Kroeker of Nikolaidorf, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement. The couple settled in Hierschau, where they raised their own four girls and four boys, in addition to caring for Elisabeth’s brother’s children after their mother died. In 1924, Elisabeth became seriously ill and almost died, but she eventually recovered.
Because of Plett’s position as a minister, the Soviet authorities came onto the yard one day in 1931, took all of the family’s belongings, and disenfranchised Gerhard. In August of that year, he was arrested. His eldest son, Kornelius, was forced to transport his father to the prison on a wagon, and later Elisabeth was able to visit Gerhard only on four occasions. She was left alone to care for the children, the youngest of whom was only five months old. While in prison, Gerhard was severely tortured before being tried and sentenced to five years in exile. He was able to return home in 1936 but was rearrested on 20 October 1937 and was sent way for another term of exile. He was never heard from again and likely died in his place of exile.
In 1941, Gerhard and Elisabeth Plett’s four sons were deported, likely sent eastward. Elisabeth, together with her four daughters, escaped on the Great Trek, but somewhere along the way she was separated from three of them. She and her daughter Anna eventually reached Canada and settled in Hepburn, Saskatchewan. Two other daughters eventually reached Canada and the United States, while the fourth remained in Russia, together with two of the sons. Another son had disappeared and the fourth had died.
Gerhard Kornelius Plett was a dedicated minister who suffered for his faith and his involvement in the church. Through his work in the Landskrone church and his personal life, he was an example of faithfulness and commitment for future generations to follow.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.06 ed. Fresno, CA:, 2011: #764970.
"Elizabeth Plett." Die Mennonitische Rundschau 41 (11 October 1972): 12.
"Elizabeth Plett." Der Bote 39 (3 October 1972): 7.
Plett Family information.
Toews, Aron A. Mennonitische Märtyrer: der jüngsten Vergangenheit und der Gegenwart, 2 vols. [Abbotsford, B.C.]: Selbstverlag des Verfassers, 1949-1954: v. II, 93-95.
|Helmut T. Huebert|
|Date Published||March 2011|
Cite This Article
Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. "Plett, Gerhard Kornelius (1892-1937?)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2011. Web. 23 Feb 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Plett,_Gerhard_Kornelius_(1892-1937%3F)&oldid=84070.
Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. (March 2011). Plett, Gerhard Kornelius (1892-1937?). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 February 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Plett,_Gerhard_Kornelius_(1892-1937%3F)&oldid=84070.
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