Series Photo col. 658 - Siegfried Janzen slides refugee camp in Gronau, Germany

Gronau West Germany sign Villa used for Camp headquarters in Gronau Villa used for Camp headquarters in Gronau Camp staff Bombed out building across the street from the villa Ruins in the city of Munster MCC car in front of ruins in the city of Munster Ruins of Hamburg Air raid shelter City of Munster rebuilding Munster dome with three cages Schuetzenhof (transit camp) Camp administrative office with refugees Central kitchen with head cook Mrs. Brown making zwieback In the Larder - camp ration bread delivered by British Army.
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CA MHC PP-Photo col. 658


Siegfried Janzen slides refugee camp in Gronau, Germany


  • 1945-1950 (Creation)

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107 photographs: col. (slides)

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Siegfried Janzen (1920-2005) was born to Jacob K. Janzen and Martha Schmidt in the Russian Mennonite village of Orloff, Zagradowka. His parents were house parents for the Bethania Mental Hospital 1912-1920 in Alt-Kronsweide, Chortitza Colony. The family immigrated to Canada in 1927 and settled in Larid, Saskatchewan. In 1940 they moved to a fruit farm near Gimsby, Ontario. Here the family was active in the Vineland Mennonite Brethren church.

In 1942 he served as a conscientious objector performing alternative service at Calk River, Ontario and later served as a farm worker. In 1945 he married Margaret Wiebe and they had four daughters. Siegfried and Margret volunteered with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and were assigned to work in post World War II Europe. Their first post was in Holland distributing food and clothing to refugees. In 1947 they were reassigned to work at the refugee house at Gronau, Germany on the Dutch, German boarder. For three years they directed the processing of over 10,000 refugees fleeing from repatriation to the Soviet Union. The refugees hoped to immigrate to Canada but the process was not easy. The Janzens set up a hospital to help people pass the medical requirements to enter Canada. The newspaper Unser Blatt and Der Mennonit were established to help these displaced people build their sense of community and help in the reunification of families. Siegfried and Margret served under C.F. Klassen, European Commissioner for Refugee Aid and Resettlement with MCC.

In 1950 Siegfried and Margaret returned to North America and he attended Tabor College, Kansas. They returned to Ontario where Siegfried worked as a youth worker in the Vineland Mennonite Brethren church between 1952-1954. Here he worked at building closer ties between young people and Mennonite Brethren missionaries working abroad. The family then moved to Nova Scotia where he found work as a stone mason. In September 1985, at the age of 65, he became the pastor of the Petitcodiac Mennonite Church. He was also active in prison chaplaincy. In 2004 he was awarded the Taylor Award by the Correctional Service of Canada and the National Volunteer Association.

Siegfried Janzen died 2 August 2005 in Moncton, New Brunswick.

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