American Mennonite Relief

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In his letter to Soviet officials on 9 September 1921, A. J. Miller, director of American Mennonite Relief, explained the nature and purpose of the organization. Miller stated that the AMR "is an unofficial, volunteer, American organization for social service. It maintains a base at Constantinople where relief supplies are ready for prompt shipment to Russia to be received and distributed by the American Mennonite Relief organization."

The AMR was a special organization set up under the Mennonite Central Committee to distribute relief in Russia. It operated during the entire Russian famine period, working under its agreement of 1 October 1921, with the Moscow government and under the agreement with the Soviet Republic obtained by the American Relief Administration (ARA) with which and under which organization AMR carried on its relief activities up to the time of the closing of the ARA in 1923. A resolution of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) on 1 August 1925, called for the closing of the work of the AMR on 1 October, but the organization was not disbanded until 1926.

The agreement between the AMR and the Soviet Republic contained 19 points. Point one stated that the AMR, within the limits of its resources and facilities, would supply "food, clothing, and medical relief to the needy civilian population, especially women and children and the sick, regardless of race, religion, or social or political status." Although the preamble of the agreement had expressed the desire of the American Mennonites to give impartial aid "in the regions where their coreligionists are suffering from the effects of the famine" and although most of the aid was given in the Mennonite settlements of southern Russia, the purpose of AMR was to give relief wherever it was needed.

The total disbursements made by the MCC for Russian relief during the years of the AMR amounted to $1,292,825.65. Among the American Mennonites who participated in the work of the AMR in Russia were A. J. Miller, Clayton Kratz, P. C. Hiebert, O. O. Miller, Arthur Slagel, C. E. Krehbiel, G. G. Hiebert, Mr. and Mrs. D. M. Hofer, P. H. Unruh, H. C. Yoder, and Dan Schroeder. A. J. Miller was director of the AMR throughout its history.


Hiebert, P. C. and O. O. Miller. Feeding the Hungary, Russian Famine 1919-1925. Akron, PA, 1929.

Author(s) Melvin Gingerich
Date Published 1955

Cite This Article

MLA style

Gingerich, Melvin. "American Mennonite Relief." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 24 Jul 2024.

APA style

Gingerich, Melvin. (1955). American Mennonite Relief. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 87-88. All rights reserved.

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