Today I am remembering……….
My grandfather Diedrich Peters who was forced to join the 167th regiment of the communist army in Russia when he was 21. His one brother was forced into service with the Germans and another with the Czarist army. Grandpa went through boot camp but when it came time to train with rifles he went to his commanding officer and said as a Mennonite with pacifist beliefs he refused to do the training. He was arrested and imprisoned, an experience he said was so terrible he could not talk about it. Eventually an army general, who knew and respected my grandfather, managed to arrange his release and sent him to work in the bakery. Grandpa eventually became the bakery foreman and with the help of two assistants baked bread for more than 60,000 soldiers.
My husband Dave’ grandfather Heinrich Enns (second from right) who was stationed in Moscow as a medic on hospital train #183 during World War I. He cared for the wounded as they were brought from the first aid hospitals on the fighting front to Moscow. In this photo Dave’s grandmother has come to Moscow to consult with her husband and her brothers-in-law about what to do about their family farm which Dave’s grandmother was trying to run herself while the men in the family served on the medical trains. By 1917 Heinrich and the other Mennonite medics were working day and night. They cleaned the trains to ready them for the next batch of wounded as they sped back to the front. My husband Dave’s grandfather Abram Driedger who nearly died of typhoid fever while serving with the Red Cross on the Caucasus front during World War I. He was assigned to pick up wounded soldiers on active battlefields and transport them to hospitals or first aid stations. He served from 1914-1917.