Reimer, Adolf A. (1881-1922)

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Adolf Abram Reimer: preacher and teacher; born 1 October 1881 in Wiesenfeld, South Russia, to Abraham Jacob Reimer (27 December 1853, Gnadenfeld, Molotschna, South Russia - 27 August 1918, Prochladnaja, Kabardino-Balkariya, Russia) and Emma (Kalweit) Reimer (June 1858, Kowna, Poland - 24 October  1923, Prochladnaja, Kabardino-Balkariya, Russia). He was the eldest of seven children in the family. On 1 January 1905, he married Sara Goossen, daughter of Heinrich Johann and Anna (Funk) Goossen, in Alexanderthal, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Russia. The couple had six children of their own and also fostered two sisters, the children of Adolf’s sister. While he was conducting a ministry in Kiev, he contracted typhus and died of the disease on 18 May 1922. He was buried four days later, on 22 May 1922, in the Alexandertal cemetery.

In his early years, Adolf attended school first in Wiesenfeld and then at the Halbstadt Zentralschule. After completing his basic education, Adolf Reimer trained to become a teacher. In 1899, he began work at a small school in Wiesenfeld, where he spent three years. During this time, he spent two summers studying Russian in Kharkov, and he also began preaching in Russian churches.

Reimer grew up in a family of preachers; his maternal grandfather, Martin Kalweit, a Russian Baptist minister in Tiflis, and his father were both preachers, and his father also worked as a colporteur, distributing Bibles and other religious literature. Adolf decided to follow their example, preaching and teaching at first with the financial support of a mission society and sending back reports which later appeared in the Friedensstimme magazine. In these articles, he wrote about his experiences of preaching in cities such as St. Petersburg and Kharkov, as well as the estates of the Russian nobility and also in prisons. He also preached in factories, Russian villages, and in Russian congregations that needed help and encouragement. 

In 1910, after his financial support was withdrawn due to opposition from the government, Reimer began teaching at the St. Petersburg Bible School. During the First World War, while completing his alternative service, Adolf preached to the soldiers he encountered. On his return home, he and his family moved to Alexandertal. Both his father and his maternal grandfather were shot and killed in 1918 because of their preaching and Bible distribution activities, but Adolf continued to speak about his faith wherever he could. During the Civil War, he preached to both Red and White Army soldiers, often to large groups at once. His work continued during the famine, when he visited many Russian churches. In the last four months of his life, he visited several large churches in Kiev. When he contracted typhus, however, he returned home, where he died after four days. 

Adolf Reimer was a dedicated preacher and teacher who used his speaking skills to reach many people in Russia before and after the Revolution. Although his ministry was cut short by his early death, he had a profound impact on both his own community and on the people around him.


Dueck, Abe J. "Adolf Reimer: Proclaiming the Good News to the Destitute." Mennonite Profiles. Web. 2 July 2013.

Goossen, H. H. Adolf Reimer: Ein Treuer Bote Jesu Christi unter Deutschen und Russen. [Yarrow, B.C. : Goossen, 1960].

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 4.19 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2005: #857953.

Penner Sperling Genealogy. "Funk-Goossen Family."

Toews, Aron A. Mennonite Martyrs: People Who Suffered for Their Faith 1920-1940. Winnipeg, MB: Kindred Press, 1990: 184-187. Available in full electronic text at:

Toews, John B. Perilous Journey: The Mennonite Brethren in Russia, 1860-1910. Winnipeg, MB: Kindred Press, 1988: 61-62. Available in full electronic text at:

Author(s) Susan Huebert
Date Published July 2013

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MLA style

Huebert, Susan. "Reimer, Adolf A. (1881-1922)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2013. Web. 19 Sep 2020.,_Adolf_A._(1881-1922)&oldid=163493.

APA style

Huebert, Susan. (July 2013). Reimer, Adolf A. (1881-1922). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 September 2020, from,_Adolf_A._(1881-1922)&oldid=163493.

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