Buller, Isaak Peter (1897-1938?)

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Isaak Peter Buller: accountant and administrator; born 14 November 1897 in Tiege, Zagradovka Mennonite Settlement, South Russia, to Peter and Helene (Regehr) Buller. He was the second of six children in the family, which included two boys and four girls. On 18 December 1921, he married Helena Kroeker, daughter of Klass and Maria (Friesen) Kroeker. The couple had six children, one of whom died in her twenties. Isaak was arrested on the night of 3 December and imprisoned in Kronau. When many of the inmates of the prison were shot about a month later, Isaak was likely among the men who were killed that day, although this was never confirmed.

As a child, Isaak likely attended the local school, and at some point after he finished his basic studies, took courses in accounting. In September 1915, he volunteered for medical alternative service (Sanitätsdienst), working on hospital trains on the German front, transporting the wounded from the war zone to Moscow. He served until the end of the war and then returned home to Tiege in 1918.

During the next months, the Zagradovka Mennonite Settlement was the target of attacks by bandits led by Nestor Makhno. Buller’s father, Peter, was murdered in a raid on 29 November 1919. Isaak was slashed in the neck with a sabre but survived and eventually recovered. Later, he moved to Alexanderfeld, where he worked as an accountant for a sunflower processing mill until he was released due to some financial discrepancies in his documents. He returned to Tiege, where he spent a summer working for his brother Peter as a watchman for a collective farm’s fruit garden. In his spare time, he produced crates for the cheese factory which his brother was managing. His next employment was as an administrator for the hospital in Tiege, and in time he worked as a bookkeeper at the local collective farm.

On 18 December 1921, Isaak married Helena Kroeker, daughter of Klaas and Maria (Friesen) Kroeker from Gnadenfeld in the Zagradovka Mennonite Settlement. The couple had six children, born between 1923 and 1938. The youngest, who was born eight months after Isaak’s arrest, never met her father. Isaak was arrested during the night of 3 December 1937 and taken to prison in Kronau, where he apparently went on trial. The reason for his arrest is uncertain, but he was likely accused either of having German sympathies or of theft.

Although there was insufficient evidence to convict Buller, he was kept in prison for a month. Early in 1938, all of the inmates of the prison were shot, likely including Isaak, since his family never heard from him again. In 1943, Helena and her children joined the Great Trek to Poland and later moved to Germany, where one of the daughters died. Eventually, the whole remaining family moved to the Volendam Colony in Paraguay and then to Canada, where most settled in the Winnipeg area. 

Isaak Peter Buller was dedicated to his family and community, using his skills to benefit others. Despite the difficulties he encountered in life and his tragic death, he was an example for his family and community.


Buller, Helmut, nephew of Isaak Buller, son of Peter Buller, personal and family information.

Buller, Klaus, son of Isaak Buller, personal and family information.

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 6.05 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2010: #217231.

Huebert, Helmut T. 1937: Stalin’s Year of Terror. Winnipeg: Springfield Publishers, 2009: 209-211.

Lohrenz, Gerhard. Zagradovka. Echo Historical Series, English translation. Winnipeg: CMBC Publications, 2000: 94, 109.

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

Cite This Article

MLA style

Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. "Buller, Isaak Peter (1897-1938?)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2011. Web. 14 Nov 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Buller,_Isaak_Peter_(1897-1938%3F)&oldid=94128.

APA style

Huebert, Susan and Helmut T. Huebert. (January 2011). Buller, Isaak Peter (1897-1938?). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 November 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Buller,_Isaak_Peter_(1897-1938%3F)&oldid=94128.

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