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Dyck, Elfrieda (1917-) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Dyck, Elfrieda (1917-)

Historical Note:

1914        Peter Dyck born in Russia to Mennonite parents.

1917    Elfrieda Klassen born in Russia to Mennonite parents.

1920’s Uncertain of their future, many Russian Mennonites emigrated to Canada, among them the Klassen and Dyck families.  Elfrieda received nurse’s training in Canada and was asked to serve with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Europe.

1942    Elfrieda traveled to England in 1942, where she met Peter Dyck, also a worker with MCC. Together, Peter and Elfrieda managed a boy’s home in England.

1944    Peter and Elfrieda were married.  As the Allied Armies had victory on the European continent, relief organizations began work there, including MCC.  Volunteers were needed in Holland to distribute aid, and Peter and Elfrieda went.

Amidst relief work, MCC found Mennonite refugees from Russia attempting to enter Holland.  Peter and Elfrieda were on the forefront of assisting these Fluechtlinge (refugees).  Word came through the American Army that more Mennonites were in Berlin.  Peter and Elfrieda eventually began working with the thousands who waited in Germany to emigrate to Canada.  Canada would not accept all the refugees, but Paraguay and other countries in South America did.  Peter and Elfrieda are remembered among Mennonites particularly for the Berlin Exodus, when the Russian Mennonites traveled from Berlin through the Soviet sector of Germany to the seaport.  They also then led and were on several of these sea passages from Europe to South America, where the Mennonite refugees from the Soviet Union found new homes.

Peter and Elfrieda supported the work of MCC later as they lived in Akron, Pennsylvania.  Peter is a storyteller, and his telling of the Berlin Exodus has been a source of oral history and the faithfulness of God among Mennonite people.  They now live in Scottdale, Pennsylvania.

Sources: Invenetory of collection at Mennonite Church USA Archives, Goshen, Indiana.
Note Author: Reuben Miller, archival intern 1998.

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