Katharine (Goerzen) Peters fonds, 1924-1936, 6 cm
Katharine (Goerzen) Peters was born on 5 November 1933 at Crossfield, Alberta, the daughter of David and Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen. She married Ed Peters on 22 July 1956. They were the parents of four children, Deloris, b. 28 August 1958, Douglas, b. 23 December 1960, Diane, b. 17 February 1963 and Bruce, b. 7 April 1966. Katharine (Goerzen) Peters’ parents came to Canada in 1924. They lived briefly in Tofield, Namaka and Acme, all in Alberta. In 1927, they moved onto a farm west of Acme and east of Crossfield, Alberta. Katharine’s father, David Goerzen, was the only member of his immediate family to come to Canada. Katharine’s mother, Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen and Susanna’s sister, (Katharine’s aunt), Anna (Wiens) Duerksen were the only members of their immediate family who came to Canada. Other members of the Goerzen and Wiens families remained in the Soviet Union where they endured very difficult times. They wrote many letters to their relatives, David and Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen in Canada. Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen gave these letters to her daughter, Kathy (Goerzen) Peters who transcribed and then translated them.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of 151 letters written by members of the Goerzen and Wiens families who remained in the Soviet Union to their relatives, David and Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen, who were living in Canada. The letters provide much information about conditions and experiences of family members in the Soviet Union in the late 1920s and early 1930s. They are arranged by correspondent and then chronologically.
Source of Acquisition
Gift by Katharine (Goerzen) Peters
62 letters, written between 1924 and 1933, by Maria (Dueckman) Goerzen, living in the Soviet Union, to her son David and his wife Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen, who were living in Canada.
29 letters, written between 1924 and 1936. by Anna (Goerzen) Fast, living in the Soviet Union, to her brother, David, and his wife Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen, who were living in Canada.
32 letters, written between 1924 and 1933, by Heinrich Goerzen, Peter Goerzen and Maria (Goerzen) Regehr, living in the Soviet Union, to their brother, David, and his wife Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen, who were living in Canada.
28 letters, written between 1924 and 1933. by Johann Johann and Susanna (Dyck) Wiens, living in the Soviet Union, to their daughters, Susanna (David) Goerzen and Anna (Gerhard) Duerksen, who were living in Canada.
Katharine Peters also provided the following background genealogical information about members of the Goerzen family.
Maria (Dueckman) Goerzen, (4 November 1859-23 August 1933) lived in Soworowka, Molotschna and Kalantarowka, USSR. She wrote letters to her son, David Peter Goerzen (21 January 1894-17 November 1975) and his wife Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen, (5 October 1899-1992).
I. David Peter Goerzen was Maria (Dueckman) Goerzen’s only child who came to Canada. He and his wife Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen arrrived in November 1924, and lived with the Joe Burkholders in Tofield, Alberta, until the spirng of 1925. They then moved to the Namaka Farm and from there to Acme, Alberta, in the fall of 1925. In March of 1927 they moved onto their own farm west of Acme and east of Crossfield. They stayed there until their retirement in 1958 when they moved to Calgary.
Maria (Dueckmann) Goerzen’s other children, listed below, remained in the Soviet Union.
II. Heinrich Goerzen, b. 6 May 1882, d. 1940, in an Archangel concentration camp. Married Helena (Voth) Goerzen on 4 October 1910. Heinrich was “taken” (circa 1938) and transported north to the White Sea area. He died there of a stroke a few years later. His wife and 2 surviving children were transported to the Kustanaj Area (circa 1941). Helena died in Khasakstan on 17 April 1979. Heinrich and Helena (Voth) Goerzen’s children included:
1. Johann Goerzen, b. 31 August 1911; married Liese Pankratz in June 1951. Johann, Liese, and daughter Tina (Enns) made it to Germany (circa 1990).
2. Helena, b. 28 September 1918, died of T.B. 26 December 1938 just before her father was sent to Archangel.
3. Tina, b. 23 March 1922; married Peter Enns, 4 March 1948.
4. Anna, b. 29 March 1927; died 1 August 1929.
III. Peter Goerzen, b. 22 November 1886; died April 1968 in Kyemenaukau, married Katharina Voht who died in 1921. Peter went through a period of imprisonment, then exile for 6 years. This family was banished to Central Russia (circ 1941). Their children were:
1. Tina, b. 1914, married in 1936 to Abram Fast
2. Peter, b. 1916; married in 1945 to Maria Goerzen
Peter Goerzen’ second marriage: Anna Kruger, 1895-1984. Their children were:
1. Hans, b. 1922, died 1926
2. Heinrich, b. 1925; married 1948 to Kaethe Rehan. Heinrich later served as Elder of theMennonite Brethren Church in Karaganda Karaganda.
3. Anna, b. 1927; married Willie Rauleder in 1948
4. David, b. 1929; married Tina Wiebe in 1950
5. Hans, b. April 1933; married Justina Friesen in 1958.
Some of Peter’s children are in Germany.
IV. Anna (Goerzen) Fast’s husband died of typhus in December of 1920, leaving her with 4 sons and a daughter. 4 children had died earlier. Her brother David had helped her following the husband’s death, when she returned briefly to their orginal farm in the Terek settlment. The family was banished to Khasakstan where Anna died of malnutrition or starvation in 1943. The Fast children included:
1. Peter Fast, b. 12 January 1908, married 27 November 1930 to Sophie Hiebert. Sophie died just before their removal to the Khasakstan region at the begining of the war. Peter remarried in November of 1946 to Sophie’s sister Liese. Liese died in 1986.
2. Abram Fast, b. 30 March 1909, married in the fall of 1925 to Liese Tarske.
3. Johann Fast, b. 15 September 1910; married 2 February 1926 to Nela Schroeder. Both died in separate work camps of Trudarmee in 1943.
4. Heinrich Fast, b. 14 March 1912; married in 1933 to Anna Martens, who died in Khasakstan about 1960. Heinrich died in the work army in 1945.
5. Helena (Regehr) Fast, b. 13 September 1914; Married 29 March 1936 to Peter Regehr. She, along with her husband and 3 children, all starved during the war.
V. Maria (Goerzen) Regehr, b. 1 February 1892; married Jacob Regehr in 1927. She was murdered in 1933 while out trying to get food for the family. Jacob and Maria (Goerzen) Regehr’s children were:
1. Jacob, b. 1928; married Lydia Bernhard in the 1953.
2. Maria, b. 1931; married Johannes Wagner in 1953.
Katharine Peters provided the following background genealogical information about the Johann Johann and Susanna (Dyck) Wiens family, the parents of Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen and grandparents of Katharine (Goerzen) Peters. They wrote letters to their two daughters living in Canada.
Johann Johann Wiens, born 1871, Huttertal, Militopol Kreis, died 1932, Kalantarowka, Kaukases. Married Susanna (Dyck) Wiens, born 9 December 1874, Alexandertal, Taurien, died September 15, 1930 Kalanatarowka, Kaukasus. They were the parents of two daughters who married and emigrated to Canada.
1. Anna (Wiens) Duerksen, born 1896 at Peterhof, Cherkower Gov., came to Canada October 1926 to her husband Gerhard Duerksen’s aunt Giesbrecht and later lived at Warren, Manitoba and then St. Anne and Steinbach, Manitoba. Gerhard Duerksen passed away due to a farm accident, circa 1946. Anna then moved to B.C. but reutrned to Manitoba where she died at age 78. Gerhard and Anna (Wiens) Duerksen were the parents of:
-Anna (Pete Bergman) both deceased. 5 children
-Jacob (Mary Braun) Jake deceased. 4 children
-Woldy (Lydia Regier) both deceased. 7 children
Menno (Frieda) Menno deceased. 4 children.
George (Nettie) Kamloops, BC 2 children.
2. Susanna (Wiens) Goerzen, born 1899, Peterhof, Cherkower Gov., came to Canada in 1924 to Tofield, then Namaka; Acme or Swalwell and, in 1927, to Crossfield. They came with infant son David; later had more children.
Other siblings that stayed in Russia included:
3. Johann, born 1898. He never married, moved about, and was notheard of after 1936.
4. Elizabeth, born 1901, married Johan Harder, 1924, died in Russia
5. Helena, born 1907, married Heinrich Janzen, 1928, died in Russia.
6. Katharina, born 1910, married Peter Klassen, 1931, died in Germany.
7. Heinrich, born 1912, maried Susa Hiebert, 1938, He was sent into the Trudarmee in 1941. His brother Nickolai arranged for him to come to his family in Karaganda. A few years later he died in a coaldmine accident. Heinrich’s wife and 2 children were sent to the interior in 1941, One child died. Later his widow and 2 children made it to Germany, circa 1990.
8. Margareta, born 1914, married Jacob Hiebert, 1938, died in Germany.
9, Nickolai, born 1917, married Rita Frick, 1944. He was also sent to Karaganda but was too ill to be sent to the Trudarmee. He survived and later helped his sisters. He visited his sisterrs in Canadaa in 1969 and died in Germany.
Other relatives mentioned in the letters:
Johann Johann Wiens’ brother Heinrich, Michelshelm, Memrik.
Johann Johann Wiens’ brother Nickolai, Winkler, Manitoba
Johann Johann Wiens” cousins: Heinrich Albrecht, Mrs. Peter Penner, Klassens.
Susanna (Dyck) Wiens’ brothers: Peter, Heinrich and Johann, all in America.
Susanna (Dyck) Wiens’ sisters. Mrs Johan Redekopp, Ontario, and Mrs Katharina Tieseen, Winnipeg.
Susanna (Dyck) Wiens; brother Wilhelm, Grigorovka
Susanna (Dyck) Wiens’s sister Helena (Epp) Herzenberg.