Benzien, Karl (19th/20th century)

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Karl Benzien, a deacon of the Baptist Church in Dirschau in West Prussia, left his industrial activities in West Prussia and came to the Chortitza settlement in Russia in 1868 as a farmer. Here he found an open door into the Mennonite Brethren Church in Einlage, where believers of the new evangelical movement were eager to be ministered to by Baptist missionaries, and also to benefit by the exceptional organizational ability of Karl Benzien. On 10 July 1868 he was asked to preside at a meeting and directed their efforts in organizing the Einlage Mennonite Brethren Church, at which time the duties of the various officers of the church were defined. On 14 July 1868 at another business meeting of this new group, Benzien also presided at the election of their first elder, Abraham Unger.

Benzien also took active interest in missionary activities among the native Russians, particularly among the Ostyaks (Khants), who lived under conditions similar to those of the Eskimos in the Omsk district on the northern shores of the Ob River (see Ob Mission). With his heart burdened for these natives, he returned repeatedly to the Mennonite circles in Southern Russia to extend the "Macedonian call" in behalf of these needy people. He found a wide-open door for such activities among the Mennonite Brethren and Mennonites. He inspired Johann Peters with his wife and his sister, Helene Peters, as well as Dr. and Mrs. Paul Beer and Johann Keller, to accompany him, beginning the work in the northern Siberian territory of the Ob River among the Ostyaks. He himself continued in this work with evangelistic activities and the distribution of the Bible and Christian literature even as late as 1924.


Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga," 1911: 776.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 164.

"Ob Mission." Unser Blatt 3, 24, 216, 242.

Author(s) Jacob J Toews
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Toews, Jacob J. "Benzien, Karl (19th/20th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 10 Jun 2023.,_Karl_(19th/20th_century)&oldid=107124.

APA style

Toews, Jacob J. (1953). Benzien, Karl (19th/20th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 10 June 2023, from,_Karl_(19th/20th_century)&oldid=107124.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 275. All rights reserved.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.