Letter to Jacob Gerbrandt from Bishop David Toews February 3, 1941.

Canadian Mennonite Board of Cololonization fonds, Mennonite Heritage Centre vol. 1322 file 933.

English Translation:

[Translated letter to Jacob Gerbrandt 3 Feb. 1941]


Rosthern , Sask.

Feb. 3, 1941


Rev. Jacob Gerbrandt

Drake, Sask.


Dear Brother Gerbrandt:-


I regret that I have to write to you today, but I consider it my duty. I was in Regina on Saturday and Sunday, regulating the Sunday services. On Saturday morning I wanted very much to speak to Justice Embury in reference to the Amendments and the way they have been issued. I felt it would be good to have clarification on them with him.


After a long wait, he saw me and said abruptly, “One of your men is in serious trouble.” He mentioned Drake and Erhard Schroeder's name and I understood him to say that Erhard Schroeder had gotten into difficulties. But then he mentioned your name. He had before him a full set of minutes as supplied by the police. He spoke angrily about religious instruction in German in the church, and then he began to speak about you. He read the individual items to me. What seemed to be very important was that a certain ______ had reported about you that your were counseling the young men to disregard the notices from the Registrar. Mr. Embury was very excited and angry. He wants to send the full Minutes to Ottawa and recommend that you be arrested. I told him repeatedly that I could not imagine you to give such advice to the young men, but he maintained that the testimony proved it. I asked whether it would not be advisable that I write you, so that you could come and answer for yourself before him. He replied that he did not wish to see you.


I am not sure that I should give you this warning, but I believe it is good if you know. In thinking about it, I sense it would be good for you to look up your representative in Ottawa and explain to him. Maybe something could be worked out. I don't mean that we bypass the laws, but you should have the opportunity to defend yourself against this charge.


I may not have the name _______ correct, but upon asking who the man was, this name was given (at least I heard it that way), but it may be similar, but ends with “by”.


Hoping that the whole matter will be resolved, I remain with a brotherly greeting.

David Toews

Response to David Toews from Jacob Gerbrandt February 7, 1941.

Canadian Mennonite Board of COlonization fonds, Mennonite Heritage Centre vol. 1322 file 933.

English Translation:


[Translated letter from Gerbrandt to David Toews re Drake 7 February 1941]


Drake, Sask. Feb. 7, 1941


Rev. David Janzen

Rosthern , Sask.




Dear Brother Toews!


I thank you sincerely for yours of the 3 rd (Feb.) with the unpleasant report. I really don't know how to respond to that. It seems possible now to desecrate our churches, forcibly close our schools and indulge in all kinds of insolent activities, and still be identified as heroic. It also seems that regardless of how right we are, we lose out in the police investigations.


I am enclosing a letter in English which explains my position. It has been my honest effort to represent our cause to the best of my knowledge, and to stand by our youth with counsel and action.


As to the attack upon our Bible School, Br. E. Schroeder will have informed you, and you yourself were personally threatened.


I am surprised in your letter that even the old Judge has no understanding for Christian religious instruction. Immediately upon receipt of your letter, I, together with several brethren, drove to Lanigan to see a lawyer who also speaks German. After reading your letter, he advised me to go to the police, who had sent in the minutes. The police could apparently not understand that Judge Embury had the  minutes in his possession. He maintained that they were confidential materials of the police. Should the matter go to Ottawa , it would no doubt come back to them for further investigation.


Immediately after the assault upon the school and his visit, I had a good impression, but now I'm not sure he can be trusted too much. Our representative, Dr. Fleming lives in Humboldt and I know him personally. Apparently he is ill at this time. Thus I don't know whether it helps much. I believe that you would achieve more through Mr. Tucker, MP, since you know more about the charge than I. This matter also has to be related to our non-resistant position, which led primarily to this evil matter.


Hoping that you will be willing to represent me in this matter, I remain with brotherly greeting,


JGerbrandt .