Anchors in Ukraine

When we visited Ukraine our guide Victor Penner helped me find the gravestone of my great-greatgrandfather Daniel Paul Peters in a Mennonite cemetery in Nikolaipol.

In this photo, you can see Daniel (1844-1905) with his wife Agenetha Friesen (1848-1919) and three of their thirteen children. The boy to his father’s right is my great grandfather Paul Daniel Peters.

My great-great grandfather’s tombstone says he rests in God and was born August 31, 1844, and died on September 17, 1905. Then at the top of the tombstone is an anchor, something I saw on many Mennonite gravestones in Ukraine.

The anchor earrings I bought in Ukraine

I always buy a pair of earrings or a necklace as a souvenir when I travel, and to remember my trip to Ukraine, I chose a pair of anchor earrings because they reminded me of the anchor on my great-great grandfather’s gravestone.

Photo of the Mennonite Memorial in Zaporizhzhia from the Facebook page of Werner Toews

I wasn’t sure however why the anchor symbol was chosen but I found out yesterday when John Longhurst wrote an article in the Winnipeg Free Press about a Mennonite memorial that has just been built in Zaporizhzhia Ukraine.

Photo from the Mennonite Heritage of Khortytsia Facebook page

The new memorial contains fifteen Mennonite gravestones and many of them also have an anchor on them.

Photo from the Mennonite Heritage of Khortytsia Facebook page

And right in the very centre of the memorial is a large anchor. Werner Toews, who spearheaded the memorial project, suggests in the Winnipeg Free Press article that the anchor on gravestones symbolizes the idea that your life has been anchored in your religious faith.

So now I know why there was an anchor on my great great grandfather’s tombstone and what it meant.

Other posts………

He Brought The Past to Life

The Disappeared

A Mennonite on the Titanic


Filed under Family

4 responses to “Anchors in Ukraine

  1. I see that you and my wife share the same ancestry (Daniel Peters, 1844-1905). I enjoyed the blog post on the anchor, and will make note of this in my records. I would be interested in copies of photos you have on the Peters family

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What kind of photos are you interested in?


  3. That’s interesting. I have photos of refugee graves in Schleswig-Holstein with anchors. I thought it referred to the fact that the refugees had crossed the Baltic seeking shelter.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandy Krantz

    I was told the anchor was a religious symbol….”Anchored in Faith” There are several verses in the Bible that refers to “anchoring”.

    Liked by 1 person

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