Sudermann, Jakob Jakob (1852-1918)

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Jakob Jakob Suderman: estate owner and philanthropist; born 15 March 1852 in Berdyansk, South Russia, to Jakob and Eva (Unruh) Sudermann. He was the third oldest in a family of one girl and five boys. Jakob married Anna Schroeder on 29 April 1875. The couple had six children, two of whom died in childhood. Jacob was shot and killed on 18 February 1918 in Halbstadt, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia.

In early life, Jakob Jakob Sudermann received an education in his hometown, and he married into a wealthy family. In about the mid-1880s, he and his wife bought an estate of about 3000 dessiatines in the Apanlee estates, near the Molotschna Mennonite Settlement. By 1908 the size of the estate had doubled to 6002 dessiatines. There, Jakob raised purebred cattle and grew crops such as wheat. After a conversion experience, Jakob and his family became involved in church work, holding services for the local congregation at their home and participating in annual week-long seminars for ministers and teachers.     

Additional involvements included helping to fund the Allianz movement, assisting in establishing the educational board of directors called the Schulverein, acting as president of the Mennonite Forestry Service, and helping to establish the Bethania Mental Hospital (Nervenheilanstalt) in Alt-Kronsweide, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement. In 1910, Jakob joined the board of directors of a new nursing and deaconess school in Neu-Halbstadt, the Diakonissenheim. In addition, he helped found the school of commerce, the Halbstadt Kommerzschule, and he donated funds to the school as well as serving as chairman of its supervisory board.

When the Russian Revolution and Civil War came to the Molotschna settlement, Jakob Sudermann and his family left their estate, fearing for their lives. Revolutionaries looted the estate and later occupied Halbstadt, where the Sudermann family was staying. Jakob was arrested on the night of a literary event, and the next day, several other men were taken as well. They were taken to a small cell at the municipal office. Some of the men were soon shot, but others joined them until there were twelve men in the cell. Jakob encouraged his fellow prisoners, praying with them and reading to them from a New Testament one of the prisoners had brought with him. On 18 February, five of the prisoners were shot and killed, including Jakob. The remaining prisoners were released the following day.

Jakob Jakob Sudermann was a leader in his community, using his skills in many different areas to help enhance the lives of the people around him. Even in the last days of his life, he continued to help others, and he was remembered as a man of great faith.


Huebert, Helmut T. Mennonite Estates in Imperial Russia. Winnipeg: Springfield Publishers, 2005.

Author(s) Susan Huebert
Date Published January 2009

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MLA style

Huebert, Susan. "Sudermann, Jakob Jakob (1852-1918)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2009. Web. 19 Sep 2021.,_Jakob_Jakob_(1852-1918)&oldid=132983.

APA style

Huebert, Susan. (January 2009). Sudermann, Jakob Jakob (1852-1918). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 September 2021, from,_Jakob_Jakob_(1852-1918)&oldid=132983.

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