Zagradovka Mennonite Settlement (Kherson Oblast, Ukraine)

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Zagradovka (Sagradovka, Sagradowka), a Mennonite settlement in South Russia, situated on the Ingulez River ca. 60 miles (100 km) slightly northeast of the city of Kherson, consisting of ca. 60,000 acres of excellent soil. It was purchased from Leo V. Kochubey in 1871 for the landless by the Molotschna Mennonite settlement. Eventually 16 villages were settled on this land in 1872-1883, with 182 acres for each family.

The villages were Alexanderfeld, Neu-Schönsee, Friedensfeld, Neu-Halbstadt, Nikolaifeld, Orloff, Blumenort, Tiege, Altonau, Rosenort, Münsterberg, Gnadenfeld, Schönau, Steinfeld, Reinfeld, and Alexanderkrone. Nikolaidorf, which was settled in the vicinity but purchased by independent means, considered itself as belonging to the Zagradovka settlement except administratively. About 1908 this village was sold to Russians.

Most of the Zagradovka settlers were poor; the first years were difficult, but by 1900 most of them were moderately well-to-do and had spacious and well-built homes surrounded by lovely trees and gardens, with well-kept fields and green meadows on which cattle and horses of good breed were fed.

During the first years the settlers had to haul their grain by wagon and over very poor roads to Beryslav on the Dnieper, a distance of about 50 miles (80 km); in 1890 a railway was built to within about 13 miles (20 km) from the center of the settlement and in 1916 another to within about 6 miles (10 km).

By 1914 agriculture was flourishing; industry had been begun: Siemens in Blumenort and Wiebe in Orloff manufactured farm implements; a large and modern flour mill was in operation in Tiege; Alexanderfeld and Neu-Schönsee had smaller mills; several other small factories were in operation. A post office "Tiege," later renamed "Kochubeyevka," and a bank had been opened in the village of Tiege. Each village had its own public school. In 1895 the settlement built a Zentralschule with three classrooms in Neu-Schönsee, which was renovated in 1912, besides three homes for the teachers and one for the caretaker. The settlement constituted an independent administrative unit, with headquarters in Tiege. In 1877 the volost erected two impressive buildings in Tiege - a drugstore and a medical center.

There were three churches in Zagradovka: (1) Nikolaifeld Mennonite Church in Nikolaifeld, completed in 1891, with a membership of 1,241 in 1922; (2) Tiege Mennonite Brethren Church in Tiege, erected in 1888, membership of 427 in 1922; (3) Orloff Evangelical Mennonite Church in Orloff, organized in 1907 with 63 members, built in 1914; its membership in 1922 was 214.

Daughter settlements organized by Zagradovka, on rented land each with two villages, were Suvorovka in the Caucasus, 1897; Piessarev, near Beryslav, 1903; Trubetskoye, near Beryslav, 1904. Hundreds of families left for Siberia, where the government had granted them an area of 605,060 acres.

World War I stopped all progress. The Revolution brought ruin. In 1919 several thousand irregulars under Makhno committed fearful atrocities in seven of the villages. A great deal of property was taken or destroyed, and many homes burned to the ground; 206 individuals were murdered and many maimed. In the famine some 329 persons starved to death.

In 1921-1941 the Soviets exiled into uninhabited regions or concentration camps 448 individuals. When World War II began the men were deported to the east; most of them were able to return, but 301 had not been heard from by 1959. By 1941, 720 families, or 54.1 per cent of all the Mennonite families of the settlement, had been deprived of their head. At the retreat of the German army all the remaining settlers left; about 3,500 were evacuated to the west. Most of them eventually were overtaken by the Russian army and sent to the northern regions, mainly in Asiatic Russia. Zagradovka as a Mennonite settlement had ceased to exist. The last elder of the Mennonite church here, Heinrich Voth, survived the hardships and sufferings and resumed his ministry. He was the chief if not the only active Mennonite elder in Russia in 1953.


Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft Raduga, 1911: 423-427, 462-465.

Friesen, Peter M. The Mennonite Brotherhood in Russia (1789-1910), trans. J. B. Toews and others. Fresno, CA: Board of Christian Literature [M.B.], 1978, rev. ed. 1980.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 83.

Lohrenz, Gerhard L. Sagradowka: A History of a Mennonite Settlement in Southern Russia. Winnipeg: CBC Publications, 1947.

Neufeld, Dietrich. Mennonitentum in der Ukraine; Schicksalsgeschichte Sagradowkas. 2nd ed. Emden, 1922.

Author(s) Gerhard Lohrenz
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Lohrenz, Gerhard. "Zagradovka Mennonite Settlement (Kherson Oblast, Ukraine)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 27 Sep 2023.,_Ukraine)&oldid=170921.

APA style

Lohrenz, Gerhard. (1959). Zagradovka Mennonite Settlement (Kherson Oblast, Ukraine). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 September 2023, from,_Ukraine)&oldid=170921.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1015-1016. All rights reserved.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.