Did you know?
– Mennonites have lived longer in Poland than Ukraine and Canada combined (1535-1945)!
– Poland borders Germany and Ukraine.
– The Mennonite region was part of Prussia, a German state that lasted 500 years, but the boundaries often changed with Poland.
– Prussians are not related to Russians.
– It was in Prussia that the Low German dialect was developed as a bridge language between Dutch and German.
– Many Mennonites, but not all, began migrating to Russia when they were banned from buying more land in the late 1700s.
In the last 30 years, there have been numerous Canadian Mennonite tour groups visiting Poland. Many think of only visiting the places Mennonites lived in Ukraine, but it is highly recommended to see Poland along the way. Nine of the top ten attractions in Poland were around when the Mennonites moved in. The land hosts a beautiful collection of medieval towns, squares, castles and cathedrals which Mennonite forefathers would have seen. There is still a large remnant of the primeval forests that once covered much of Europe, now available to be enjoyed on its many bike paths. Just another way for Canadian Mennonites to connect with their ancestral past.
Len Loeppky will be hosting one more tour to Poland and Ukraine this September. He has done 16 tours and is well connected with local guides who know the Mennonite story. He even provides some custom research for each guest, including their genealogy, and plans the itinerary accordingly. In my interview with him, he said these trips “give me insight into their faith, work ethic, variety of skills and contributions…it gives you pride in your ancestry when you see how they developed the landscape, constructed homes, schools, hospitals, businesses, that are still visible and in use after 100’s of years. The tour provides a glimpse into the past that pictures and books are not able to portray. An excellent investment with memories that will never be erased.”
If you want more info you can email him: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tourmagination also offers similar meaningful trips around the world.