Hardship, Resistance, Collaboration: Essays on Dutch Mennonites during World War II and Its Aftermath

Published: October 29, 2021

Occasional Papers no. 28 (2021)

“An engaging and critical study of Dutch Mennonites during the 1940s, Hardship, Resistance, Collaboration investigates the diverse Mennonite reactions to German occupation during and after World War II, making important recent scholarship available in English for the first time. Dramatic Mennonite attempts to help Jews, including scores of children, escape deportation and death are well documented, as is the painful failure of leadership and moral clarity that valued toleration of wildly divergent individual views within the church above a united voice against racially motivated exclusion and murder. A unique final chapter describes mixed attempts to revive a Mennonite peace witness by conscientious objectors to the Dutch war on Indonesia, 1945–49, when the tables were turned and it was the Dutch government wielding power in oppressive ways. Beyond telling the story of Dutch Mennonites in their most tumultuous decade of the twentieth century, this volume provides a useful model for reclaiming both the good and the bad in a church’s history as part of developing a path forward in reconciliation and in truth.”

–Mark Jantzen, Professor of History, Bethel College, Kansas; author of Mennonite German Soldiers: Nation, Religion and Family in the Prussian East, 1772–1880

“This collection of essays makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the history of Dutch Mennonites and their congregations during the Second World War and beyond. Through its thoughtful analysis of this difficult period, the authors demonstrate the multitude of responses, including resistance and collaboration, of this small Christian community.”

–Aileen Friesen, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Winnipeg; author of Colonizing Russia’s Promised Land: Orthodoxy and Community on the Siberian Steppe

About the authors

Alle G. Hoekema (b. 1941) worked as a missionary in Pati, Indonesia, became a Mennonite pastor in Alkmaar and Haarlem, and then taught at the Doopsgezind Seminarium (Mennonite Seminary) in Amsterdam and as an associate professor of missiology at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. He has published articles and books (including his dissertation) about aspects of Christian theology in Indonesia and contemporary Dutch Mennonite history.

Gabe G. Hoekema (b. 1943) worked as a Mennonite pastor in Friesland and then in Aalsmeer, served as chairperson of the Doopsgezinde Vredesgroep (DVG, Dutch Peace Group) and of several ADS committees, and presently is (unsalaried) secretary of the ADS Board. He has published a volume with spiritual texts and several articles in church magazines about aspects of Mennonite life in the Netherlands.

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