Intimidation - Page 2

Jacob Gerbrandt, a Mennonite minister, took up the cause of the teacher in Drake. He wrote a letter to the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix in response to an article on the incident. Gerbrandt felt that the article was biased. Gerbrandt begins by giving his reason for writing. (Read full article)

“Sir: It was my intention to entirely refrain from participation in this controversy, thinking the less oil poured on turbulent waters the better, but your persistence in maliciously insulting the majority of the Canadian citizens of Drake, as well as some in the city of Saskatoon, demands a response.”  

He then explains why there were so many Mennonites in Drake, as well as why they spoke German.

“During the years 1923 to 1929 our numbers at Drake were considerably augmented by new settlers from Poland and Russia. This fact particularly, has necessitated the conducting of short term German-English Bible schools, not only at Drake but in other Mennonites communities as well, since the German language is a common medium of intercourse among Mennonites, so that the proper relationship between the home and church may be maintained. If you have any knowledge of human mentality, you should know that the learning of a new language is practically out of the question for the average adult of mature years.” 

Then he responds to the accusation that the school may not have been just an innocent Bible school. The men who visited the school claimed there was only one Bible and the teaching was not religious.

“Apparently these men do not know a Bible when they see it. At any rate there wasn't one among them competent to judge whether the teaching was of a religious nature or not, if, as they claim, it was all in German.” 

Gerbrandt also disputes the claim that the townspeople had asked the Mennonites to stop teaching in German.

“Not a single member holding a responsible position in our church was approached before the raid. If these so-called ‘loyal citizens' had made their grievances known in gentlemanly manner, the school could and would have been discontinued.”

Compare this to an article that is not quite as understanding of the Mennonite position.