Niebuhr, Hermann Abramovitch (1830-1906)

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Hermann Abramovitch Niebuhr, a Mennonite industrialist in Russia, was born 24 July 1830 in the village of Kronstal in the Chortitza Mennonite settlement in South Russia. His grandparents had immigrated from West Prussia in 1789 and  were as poor as all the rest of the Mennonite settlers at that time. Hermann Niebuhr was the oldest of 14 brothers and sisters. His parents were well-to-do, owning two full farms, each of 175 acres, and two windmills. When he was only eight years old he was taught by his father the milling process with a windmill; but this type of milling did not satisfy the alert boy, and so at the age of 19 years he left his father's business to become a miller on a treadmill. He remained here in service for four years and then with his father's help bought a treadmill of his own in Chortitza. This date is considered the date of the founding of what became the great firm of H. A. Niebuhr and Company. In 1853-1872 Niebuhr owned alternately wind and treadmills, or sometimes both at the same time. Not until 1872 did he build a large steam-driven mill, and in 1882 the second one. In 1879 his only son Jacob entered the father's business. Hermann Niebuhr died at Chortitza 20 August 1906.

When Hermann Niebuhr died he left 10 windmills and motor-driven mills, of which the largest,in the city of Alexandrovsk, ground 7,000 pood (ca. 125 tons) of wheat and the smallest 1,000 pood (18 tons) daily. After Niebuhr's death the milling business of eleven mills passed to the heirs as a corporation and continued to work with great success. Thirteen years after the death of the founder in the autumn of 1919, when the entire business became nationalized, the heirs owned besides this milling business (valued at 5 million rubles and the largest in all Russia) about 46,000 acres of land, on which there were eight farms and six additional mills of various sizes; they also owned a banking house which during World War II was enlarged into the Chortitzaer Kommerzbank with a capital of 5 million rubles, a stone quarry with 451 acres of land near the station of Yanzezo, which contained valuable granite (also with a capital of 5 million rubles), and a sanatorium "Alexanderbad" near Kitchkas on the Dnieper with 432 acres of land which was furnished with a capital of 1,000,000 rubles. The sanatorium, with three Berlin physicians at the head, was modernly equipped and could take care of 250 patients. During World War I the income of the Kommerzbank and of the stone quarry was withheld by the czarist government in consequence of the general hatred against the Germans. In 1919 the entire work was nationalized.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 225.

Author(s) David H Epp
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Epp, David H. "Niebuhr, Hermann Abramovitch (1830-1906)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 2 Mar 2024.,_Hermann_Abramovitch_(1830-1906)&oldid=144487.

APA style

Epp, David H. (1957). Niebuhr, Hermann Abramovitch (1830-1906). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 March 2024, from,_Hermann_Abramovitch_(1830-1906)&oldid=144487.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 873. All rights reserved.

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