Stories.Mennonites.Kazun.1

Stories

Mennonites in the Kazun-Secymin area:

memory from a vanished world

 

1. Early Neighbours

 

10 generations ago, the maternal ancestors of the Ksiazyk established in Mazovia welcomed a Mennonite Community in the Kazun-Secymin area. The first Mennonite families arrived in 1773 and developed their farming activities until 1945. In many families of this region, the memory of the Mennonite Community was transmitted through anecdotes and childhood memories.

 

The Mennonites were previously living near Płock, on the other side of the Vistula River. Originating from Dutch settlements of the Lower Vistula, they spoke plautdietsch, a Low German dialect. Their hamlet was named Kazun Niemecki because the word Niemiecki means “Germans” in Polish. Hence, the sobriquet Niemcy given to them by the locals. In other parts of Poland, Mennonites were also designated as Olędrzy or Holendry, in reference to their Dutch ancestry. They came to Kazun with farming contracts to establish a colony in wastelands, reclaim the forest and develop cultivation along the left bank of the Vistula River. Some families were also farming in Markowszczyzna, Secymin and Wilków. Old maps report small settlements in Mała Wieś, Gać and Dąbrowa.

 

When they arrived, the Mennnonites did not get the best lands but they were skilled farmers and made the most of the tramps and sandy soils along the river. The floods of the Vistula River in 1813 and 1844 have devastated cultures and affected many families. Located closer to the river, Mennonites farms were the first to be washed away. Later, with the construction of an elaborated system of ditches, levees, tailing dikes and causeways, the Niemcy contributed to protect the area. Their work benefited to all the population and should be better acknowledged. Historians report that the Mennonite Community grew from 15 families (67 people) in 1795 to 41 families (314 people) in 1827. In the late 1830’s, the Mennonite Community in Kazun and nearby villages had some 325 people – a significant number.

Church records highlight that the Krzyna family is one of the oldest reported in Głusk. 10 generations ago, Adam Krzyna and his son Grzegorz (1743-1805) experienced the arrival of the first Mennonite Communities in the Kazun-Secymin area. Grzegorz established in Stara Dᶏbrowa during the last decade of the 18th century. His son Jan (1797-1855) bought a property in Dᶏbrowa and the family extended to Dąbrówka. Contacts between the Krzyna family and the Mennonites were sustained over seven generations until 1945. This schematic view mentions the settlements of the Mennonite Community (in green) from old maps.

More Stories

Mennonites in Kazun: memory from a vanished world

LINKS

 

Architecture:

http://holland.org.pl with a remarkable catalogue

 

Cooking:

http://www.mennonitegirlscancook.ca

 

Plautdietsch and Proverbs:

Mennonite Low German Proverbs from Kansas - Isaias J. McCaffery

 

Collection:

http://www.theratzlaffs.net

 

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Key words:

Mennonites Deutsch Kazun

Dutch colonies

Mennonite settlers

Mennonici Kazuń Niemiecki

Kolonizacja Olęderska

Osadnicy olęderskiekie

Holendrzy - Olędrzy

Kazuń Niemiecki

Wilków Niemiecki

Secymin Niemiecki

 

This series is a reminiscence of the Mennonite Community in the Kazun-Secymin area with no historical pretentions. Mennonite People were Polish subjects and Polish citizens as any other members of the Polish population. However, for a better understanding, we use the words “Catholics”, “Poles” or “Polish farmers” to designate the native local population.

Mennonite Proverbs

 

"Tiet es Jeld"

Time is money

 

"Voll moakt fuul"

Full makes lazy