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Book Launch - "The Fehrs"

The Fehrs - Four centuries of Mennonite Migration

You are invited to attend on June 9, 2013, at 2:30 pm, a book launch - "The Fehrs". Its sub-title sums it up; Four centuries of Mennonite migration. Its author is Arlette Kouwenhoven, Dutch Anthropologist, and owner of Kouwenhoven Publishing Services.

The Book Launch will take place in the Fellowship Hall at Bethany Manor, with coffee and treats to facilitate exploring The Fehrs and meeting the author.

There is a great likelihood that people with the name Fehr can trace their name back to the 16th-century grain merchant, Gijsbert de Veer. This Mennonite of the conservative Old Flemish group in Amsterdam and Danzig was the progenitor of thousands and thousands of De Veers, Fehrs, DeFehrs and Defehrs, who now reside in Canada, the US, and South America. The lifestyles of all these descendants are incredibly diverse, with most of them leading modern lives in a rapidly changing world and engaging with the societies in which they live.

This book follows those Fehrs who have chosen not to leave the Old Flemish (later called Old Colony) way of life and who have always had to weigh their options to overcome the challenges surrounding them, continually moving to new countries, with new opportunities and even more obstacles. They have adapted constantly while always remaining true to what they believe is the only way to practise the Mennonite faith.

Arlette Kouwenhoven follows their footsteps, describing their whereabouts in Amsterdam, Danzig, the Polish Werder, the villages in the Russian steppes and later the Canadian prairie, to finally arrive in the Chihuahuan desert, where they live today in one of the last communities that refrains from the use of electricity and cars.

The book describes the necessity of their moves, why they made the choices they did and the blessings and dilemmas these choices have brought.

The English translation of the original Dutch book includes a previously unpublished essay about the DeFehr branch of the family that took a completely different path and can be seen as representing the economically and socially more progressive members of the Fehr family.


You may print and post this poster where ever you are allowed to encourage others to meet this Dutch author and learn more about the Fehrs. Book Launch - The Fehrs

Comments from readers of the Dutch edition:

De Fehrs is a successful combination of the 'condensed history' of ordinary people, a family and a congregation and the larger history of persecution, emigration and war. A study of international importance.


De Fehrs is a masterly example of journalistic history; well documented, it unfolds as a running story.

NRC Handelsblad

Although not Mennonite, Kouwenhoven writes about the faith and practice resulting from it with accuracy and respect.

Lydia Penner, Preservings

[last updated - Aug/26/2021]
Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

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