Andres, Peter Jakob (1878-1937?)

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Peter Jakob Andres: farmer and businessman; born 2 March 1878 in Mariawohl, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia, to Jakob Andres and his wife, whose name is not known. In about 1900, Peter married Katharina Penner (19 June 1880, Rudnerweide, Molotschna, Russia - 25 December 1963). The couple had 11 children, six of whom died young. Peter and his family were exiled to Siberia in the early 1930s but were able to return home, where Peter lived in hiding for several years. He was arrested again in August 1937, presumably sentenced to exile, and never heard from again.

As a child, Peter lived in Mariawohl, Molotschna, where he likely attended the local school. He continued to live in Mariawohl after his marriage to Katharina Penner, likely in about 1900. Their first child, Anna, was born in 1903 and their youngest, Luise, was born in 1922. The Andres family was considered to be wealthy; they owned and ran a farm, and Peter also owned a small lumberyard as well as selling foreign-built agricultural machinery and running a flour mill.

Through his business activities, Andres was well known in the Mennonite community. He and his wife made their house available for evangelistic services and Bible conferences, and they provided economic help to poor ministers of the Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, should they wish to move to Canada. In the end, some of these funds were used to send food packages to the Andres family during the famine of 1921-1923.

With the implementation of collectivization and other Soviet policies in the early 1930s, Peter Andres, his wife and children, and at least three other families in Mariawohl were labeled kulaks and were forced off their land. Peter was disenfranchised, and without any rights, he had very few opportunities for employment. Peter, Katharina, and their children were exiled to Siberia, to the tundra of the far north. The two youngest children, Lina and Luise, died along the way to their place of exile.

Soon, Peter realized that it would be impossible for the family to subsist where they had been sent, and he and his family fled back to their old home region. Here he virtually went into hiding for several years, working as a watchman for farmers’ fields, where he protected the crops from thieves and crows.

Despite all of their precautions, Peter and his family were eventually found by the authorities. One of Peter and Katharina’s daughters, Susanna, was jailed and then sentenced to hard labor in exile. Peter was picked up at his place of work in August 1937, kept in prison in Melitopol for some time, and then presumably sentenced to exile. His family never heard from him again. In 1943, Katharina attempted to escape with one of her daughters and a grandson but was caught and sent to Siberia. She died there in December 1963 at the age of 83.

Peter Jakob Andres was a dedicated businessman who used his wealth to benefit the church and the other people of his community. Throughout the difficult circumstances of his life, he found ways to benefit his family and the people of the community, becoming an example of endurance for future generations.


Andres Family information.

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.06 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2011: #431421.

Huebert, Helmut T. 1937: Stalin’s Year of Terror. Winnipeg, MB: Springfield Publishers, 2009: 204-205.

Huebert, Helmut T. Molotschna Historical Atlas. Winnipeg, MB: Springfield Publishers, 2003.

Janzen, H. H. "Lebenslauf des Ehepaares Peter Andres." Der Bote (5 May 1964): 7.

Janzen, Rudy H. and Erich L. Ratzlaff, ed. By God’s Grace: Rev. H. H. Janzen Was Who He Was. Scarborough, ON: Rev. R. H. Janzen, 1988.

Die Mennonitische Rundschau (13 August 1980): 28; (6 November 1991): 24, 25.

Toews, Aron A. Mennonitische Märtyrer: der jüngsten Vergangenheit und der Gegenwart, 2 vols. North Clearbrook, BC: Selbstverlag des Vefassers, 1949-1954: v. I, 226-228.

Author(s) Susan Huebert
Helmut T. Huebert
Date Published February 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. "Andres, Peter Jakob (1878-1937?)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2011. Web. 2 Oct 2023.,_Peter_Jakob_(1878-1937%3F)&oldid=115031.

APA style

Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. (February 2011). Andres, Peter Jakob (1878-1937?). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 October 2023, from,_Peter_Jakob_(1878-1937%3F)&oldid=115031.

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