Since their birth as a branch of Christianity in the Holy Roman Empire of the 16th Century,
the Mennonites have faced persecution and suppression and since the 18th Century, they have
been in near constant movement. During the world wars, this bitter fate reached its climax,
when much of this Germanic community, which had reached Ukraine, was deported to Siberia.
During the economic crisis after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990’s, 100,000 Mennonites
immigrated to Germany. Soon, over a hundred of their Brethren churches were founded, with about
30,000 members. At the same time, Canada also became a new destination for the emigrants.
Across this diaspora, they are connected by their faith, their culture and their Low German dialect.
Breeda en Sestre is Low German and means Brothers and Sisters. My parents grew up as Low-German
Mennonites in the German villages in Russia. As a ten-person family we immigrated to Germany in the
early nineties. Like my seven siblings, I am also one descendent of these roots. The question about
the individuality of my faithful brothers and sisters lead me to families in Russia, Germany and Canada.
Curiosity about their thoughts, wishes, dreams and fears increased my desire to portrait them in their
daily life and let them tell their stories through interviews.