Mennonite-Polish Studies Association

Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Mennonite-Polish Studies Association emerged from two earlier efforts.

In 1991, Peter J. Klassen at California State University in Fresno started the Mennonite-Polish Friendship Association to place a historical marker on the former Mennonite church building in Gdańsk, at the request of the congregation currently using the building, and to foster additional interest in Polish-Mennonite commemoration. Over the next two decades, the Association supported a special issue of Mennonite Quarterly Review (1990) on the Polish Mennonite story, supported cemetery clean-ups in Poland, sponsored tours from North America to Poland led by Klassen, distributed news and information about projects related to Polish Mennonite history, encouraged Polish museum exhibits and student work related to Mennonites, sponsored conferences in the Vistula Delta (1997, 2002), and built a network of personal contacts among those interested in Polish Mennonite history. In addition to Peter J. Klassen, Paul Toews and Alan Peters were also involved in many of these activities.

In 2003, Mark Jantzen and John D. Thiesen at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, started a Vistula Mennonite Studies Project to promote publications about Polish Mennonite history and to collect archival documentation to provide North American researchers with greater access. An English translation of H. G. Mannhardt’s The Danzig Mennonite Church: Its Origin and History from 1569-1919 in 2007 and Wilhelm Mannhardt’s The Military Service Exemption of the Mennonites of Provincial Prussia in 2013. Major archival projects included the acquisition of microfilms of the village records of Heubuden/Stogi from the Gdańsk archives, posting scans of many Vistula Mennonite church record books, and scans of Vistula Mennonite property records (collected by Glenn Penner of Guelph, Ontario, Canada).

With the retirement of Peter J. Klassen, these two previous efforts were merged into a new Mennonite-Polish Studies Association, which continued to encourage the study and awareness of Mennonites in Poland and the Vistula valley, to foster understanding between Mennonites and Poles, and to inform an English-reading audience of activities related to the Polish Mennonite story, such as museum exhibits and research projects.

Additional Information

Address: Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College, 300 East 27th Street, North Newton, KS 67117-1716

Phone: 316-284-5304


Author(s) John D Thiesen
Date Published August 2018

Cite This Article

MLA style

Thiesen, John D. "Mennonite-Polish Studies Association." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2018. Web. 28 Sep 2022.

APA style

Thiesen, John D. (August 2018). Mennonite-Polish Studies Association. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 September 2022, from

©1996-2022 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.