Wiens, Bernhard B. (1873-1952)

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Bernhard B. Wiens: teacher, committee member and writer; born 10 October 1873 in Muensterberg, Molotschna, South Russia as the first of nine children born to Bernhard Wiens (1854-1922) and Katharina (Huebert) Wiens (1854-1908). Baptized in 1890, he became a member of the Mennonite Church. On 13 January 1896 he married Helena Enns born 28 September 1876 in Schoenwiese , South Russia, daughter of Isaac and Helena Enns, died 28 December 1948 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Bernhard and Helena Wiens had three children. Bernhard B. Wiens died 7 August 1952 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Bernhard Wiens became a teacher in 1894, teaching for one year on a sheep estate before receiving a teaching position in Neu-Schoenwiese in 1895. In 1899 he began to teach in the village of Ladekopp, Molotschna, South Russia. Through a lot of hard work in lesson preparation he soon became known as one of the best pedagogues of the Molotschna Mennonite settlement. He was awarded a silver medal by his school board. Bernhard was called to teach at the Musterschule (model school of best practises) associated with the Halbstadt Zentralschule (secondary school) in 1910. During this period, he was in charge of establishing a retreat centre for teachers on the southern coast of Crimea. At the time of the Russian Revolution he was called to teach at the military school’s teachers training program, as instructor of social development. In 1922, in order to survive, he tutored four fourth-year students of the commerce school. In 1923 he got a teaching job in the Osterwick School.

In 1924 B.B. Wiens and his family immigrated to Canada and first lived in Vineland, Ontario, for one year before settling and living in Waterloo, Ontario from 1925 to 1939 . During the 15 years in Ontario; he was the chairman of the local Mennonite Immigration Committee, he was provincial collector for the CPR travel debt incurred by the Mennonite immigrants that came from Russia between 1923-1930, he was a member of the Central Mennonite Immigration Committee (ZMIK), a member of the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization, and a founder of a mutual aid and burial society. Bernhard Wiens also participated in the founding of the Bethesda Home in Vineland. Then in 1939 at age 64 he and his wife moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where his son, minister Jacob B. Wiens and his wife, had been called to establish a church and also be the houseparents for the Mary Martha Girls’ Home.

B.B. Wiens wrote numerous articles that were published in Der Bote between 1924 and 1952. In addition to the reports and articles related to his work on the various immigrant organizations, he also wrote and published articles under the pseudonym of either “E.K.” or “Ernst Kantig” perhaps implying that he saw himself seriously on the edge.

Bernhard B. Wiens died at age 78 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Former students and colleagues remembered him for his forward-looking aspirations and intentional way of teaching, and these qualities also described his character in the rest of his life activities.


“Familiennachrichten: B.B. Wiens.” Der Bote (13 August 1952): 6.

“Familiennachrichten: B.B. Wiens.” Der Bote (20 August 1952): 6.

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 17-09 ed. Fresno, CA: " California Mennonite Historical Society, 2017: #469361.

Author(s) Alf Redekopp
Date Published December 2017

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Redekopp, Alf. "Wiens, Bernhard B. (1873-1952)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2017. Web. 14 Aug 2020.,_Bernhard_B._(1873-1952)&oldid=156109.

APA style

Redekopp, Alf. (December 2017). Wiens, Bernhard B. (1873-1952). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 August 2020, from,_Bernhard_B._(1873-1952)&oldid=156109.

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