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Featured Article: "Ens, Gerhard (1922-2011)"

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Gerhard Ens (1922-2011)

Gerhard Enns: teacher, minister, and radio broadcaster; born 4 August 1922 in Gnadenthal, Baratov Mennonite Settlement, Ukraine, to Gerhard (1893-1990) and Helen (Sawatzky) Ens (1894-1992). He was the eldest child in the family. Together with his parents, he immigrated to Canada in 1923. In 1950, Gerhard married Annie Niebuhr (8 February 1923 – 24 April 2015), with whom he had five children. He lived for much of his life in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he worked as a teacher, editor, and radio host for a Low German program. He died at Donwood Manor Personal Care Home in Winnipeg on 13 February 2011.

Although he was born in the Soviet Union, Gerhard Ens spent most of his life in Canada. Together with his family, he moved to Reinland, Manitoba in 1923, where they spent the next 11 years living in a renovated machine shed. Gerhard studied at a one-room school in Reinland for eight years before completing the next two years in Gnadenthal and the final years of schooling at the Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, Manitoba. He attended Normal School in Winnipeg to become a teacher, later studying in summers to achieve his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education.

During the Second World War, Gerhard Ens worked on farms for some time before transferring to Portage la Prairie to work as an orderly in the hospital there. He lost his teaching certificate due to his status as a conscientious objector but was later able to get his license back when he appealed to his local government official.

In 1946, Gerhard Ens went to teach at the Mennonite Collegiate Institute, where he had taught before the war. He worked there for the next 31 years, including ten years as the principal of the school. During a summer school session in Winnipeg, he met Anni Niebuhr, daughter of Johann Niebuhr and Anna Krahn. They married on 19 August 1950 and settled in Gretna, where their five children were born.

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