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Rustic Reich: The Local Meanings of (Trans)National Socialism among Paraguay's Mennonite Colonies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2018

John Eicher*
Penn State Altoona


This article compares two German-speaking Mennonite colonies in Paraguay and their encounters with Nazism during the 1930s. It focuses on their understandings of the Nazi bid for transnational völkisch unity. Latin America presents a unique context for studying the Nazis’ relationship to German-speakers abroad because it held the allure of being the last prospect for German cultural and economic expansion, but was simultaneously impossible for the German state to invade. The Menno Colony was made up of voluntary migrants from Canada who arrived in Paraguay in the 1920s. The Fernheim Colony was composed of refugees from the Soviet Union who settled alongside the Menno Colony in the 1930s. Both groups shared a history in nineteenth-century Russia as well as a common faith and culture. Nevertheless, they developed radically different opinions about völkisch nationalism. The Menno Colony's communal understanding of Germanness made völkisch propaganda about Hitler's “New Germany” unappealing to their local sensibilities. They rejected all forms of nationalism as worldly attempts to thwart their cultural-religious isolationism. The refugees of Fernheim Colony, by contrast, shared little communal unity since they originated from diverse settlements across the Soviet Union. They viewed Germanness as a potential bridge to an imagined German homeland and believed that the highest goal of völkisch unity was to promote communal unity. Resembling other German-speaking communities in Latin America, the two colonies—which seemed identical to Nazi observers—held vastly different interpretations of völkisch nationalism at the height of the Nazi bid to establish transnational German unity in Latin America.

Diasporic Belonging
Copyright © Society for the Comparative Study of Society and History 2018 

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4 Hildebrand, “Über unsere Erdnussendung.”

5 Dr. H[erbert] Wilhelmy, “Bericht über eine [?] mit Unterstützung der Albrecht-Penk-Stiftung—Berlin, der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft und der Hänel-Stiftung—Kiel durch geführten kolonialgeographischen Forschungsreise nach Südamerika,” Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes, Berlin, Germany (hereafter, PA AA), R127972d, 71–79, 73.

6 Ibid., 77.

7 It is difficult to find an adequate English corollary for the word völkisch, since it was appropriated and manipulated by the Nazi regime. As Egbert Klautke, insists, “All composites that include the German term Volk or the adjective völkisch are potentially misleading in English translation.” Generally speaking, it may be rendered as “nationalist,” but in the Nazi era it carries militant and exclusionary overtones. See Klautke's The Mind of the Nation: Völkerpsychologie in Germany, 1851–1955 (New York: Berghahn 2013), 7.

8 Along similar lines, Götz employs the phrase “supranational conceptualization” of Volksgemeinschaft to describe the phenomenon and compares it with national and subnational conceptions. German-Speaking People and German Heritage: Nazi Germany and the Problem of Volksgemeinschaft,” in O'Donnell, Krista, Bridenthal, Renate, and Reagin, Nancy, eds., The Heimat Abroad: The Boundaries of Germanness (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 5882CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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12 For more on the German Mennonite relationship to German nationalism, see Goossen, Benjamin W., Chosen Nation: Mennonites and Germany in a Global Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13 The quote references historian Stefan Rinke's book of the same name. For an overview of Nazi Germany's interest in Latin American during the Nazi period, see Drekonja-Kornat, Gerhard, “Nationalsozialismus und Lateinamerika. Neue Kontroversen,” Wiener Zeitschrift zur Geschichte der Neuzeit 6, 2 (2006): 109–18Google Scholar.

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23 There are too many national-level publications to mention. A good starting point is the list footnoted in Penny, H. Glenn, “Latin American Connections: Recent Work on German Interactions with Latin America,” Central European History 46, 2 (2013): 362–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 364 n10. See, especially, Hartmut Fröschle's edited collection, Die Deutschen in Lateinamerika: Schicksal und Leistung (Basel: Horst Erdmann, 1979)Google Scholar. Notable for its breadth and depth on the topic of German-speaking exiles in Latin America during the Nazi period is von zur Mühlen, Patrik, Fluchtziel Lateinamerika: Die deutsche Emigration 1933–1945: Politische Aktivitäten und soziokulturelle Integration (Bonn: Neue Gesellschaft, 1988)Google Scholar. A few local exceptions include Breunig, Bernd, Die Deutsche Rolandwanderung (1932–1938): Soziologische Analyse in historischer, wirtschaftlicher und politischer Sicht, mit einem Geleitwort von Johannes Schauff (Munich: Nymphenburger, 1983)Google Scholar; Jürgen Buchenau's multigenerational family history, Tools of Progress: A German Merchant Family in Mexico City, 1865–Present (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004)Google Scholar; and Mainka, Peter Johann, Roland und Rolândia Gründungs—und Frühgeschichte einer Deutschen Kolonie in Brasilien (1932–1944/45) (São Paulo: Cultura Acadêmica/Instituto Maritus-Staden, 2008)Google Scholar. In contrast, several local studies are found in the Jewish context. Recent publications include Dillmann, Hans-Ulrich and Heim, Susanne, Fluchtpunkt Karibik: Jüdische Emigranten in der Dominikanischen Republik (Berlin: Ch. Links, 2009)Google Scholar; Nachman, Falbel, “Jewish Agricultural Settlement in Brazil,” Jewish History 21, 3/4 (2007): 325–40Google Scholar; Wells, Allen, Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sosua (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009)Google Scholar.

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26 The first scholarly treatment of the subject was written by colony historian Gerhard Ratzlaff in 1974. Another colony historian, Peter P. Klassen, claims Ratzalff kept it “under lock and key” because Nazism remained a sensitive subject. Klassen offered the first book-length description in Die deutsch-völkish Zeit in der Kolonie Fernheim, Chaco, Paraguay, 1943–1945: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der auslandsdeutschen Mennoniten während des Dritten Reiches (Bolanden-Weierhof: Mennonitischer Geschichtsverein e.V., 1990). Thiesen's lucid Mennonite and Nazi? provides a well-researched and comparative, if somewhat under-theorized treatment of Mennonite attitudes toward Nazism in Brazil, Mexico, and Paraguay.

27 Eicher, John, “A Sort of Homecoming: The German Refugee Crisis of 1929,” German Studies Review 40, 2 (2017), 333–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

28 Penny, “Latin American Connections,” 370–71. See also Hoerder, Dirk, “The German-Language Diasporas: A Survey, Critique, and Interpretation,” Diaspora 11, 1 (2002): 744CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 31–32.

29 Goodman, Glen, “The Enduring Politics of German-Brazilian Ethnicity,” German History 33, 3 (2015): 423–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 423.

30 Brubaker, Rogers, Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 117CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

31 The Deutsches Ausland Institut was primarily a research institute while the VDA worked directly with Auslandsdeutsche. The latter was initially organized as the Deutscher Schulverein (German school association) in 1880 to promote German-language schooling in Austria-Hungary. Renamed the Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland (Association for Germanness abroad) in 1908, it expanded its mission after the First World War to supply a growing menu of resources to Auslandsdeutsche. Under the Nazi regime, it was renamed Volksbund für das Deutschtum im Ausland and churned out massive quantities of propaganda that promoted National Socialism and valorized Auslandsdeutsch experiences. For an overview of the Deutsches Ausland Institut and VDA mandates see Grams, Grant, German Emigration to Canada and the Support of Its Deutschtum during the Weimar Republic (New York: Peter Lang, 2001), 714Google Scholar. See also Reagin, Nancy R., “German Brigadoon? Domesticity and Metropolitan Perceptions of Auslandsdeutschen in Southwest Africa and Eastern Europe,” in O'Donnell, Krista, Bridenthal, Renate, and Reagin, Nancy, eds., The Heimat Abroad: The Boundaries of Germanness (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 253–54Google Scholar.

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33 Rinke reports the wish that “some [German experts] claimed that the German emigrants [to Latin America] could become compensation for the German colonies lost as a result of the Treaty of Versailles.” See his German Migration to Latin America,” in Adam, Thomas, ed., Germany and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia, Volume 1 (Oxford: ABC CLIO, 2005), 2731Google Scholar, 28.

34 Gleich, Germany and Latin America, 7.

35 Rinke, “German Migration,” 29.

36 Penny, “Latin American Connections,” 368.

37 Hoerder, “German-Language Diasporas,” 31. See also Sauveur-Henn, Anne Saint, “Deutsche Einwanderung an den Río de la Plata während des Dritten Reiches und die Polarisierung der deutschen Gemeinschaft in Argentinien,” in Meding, Holger M. and Ismar, Georg, eds., Argentinien und das Dritte Reich: Mediale und reale Präsenz, Ideologietransfer, Folgewirkungen, (Berlin: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, 2008), 5772Google Scholar, 63.

38 Penny, “Latin American Connections,” 378.

39 von Freeden, Hermann, “Kolonisatorische Erfahrungen aus der Nachkriegszeit,” Archiv für Wanderungswesen und Auslandskunde: Studien und Mitteilungen zur Wanderungsbewegung der Kulturvölker 4, 4 (1933/1934): 112Google Scholar, 1. Freeden's work on behalf of the Rolândia Colony was carried out under the auspices of the Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Studien in Übersee (Society for economic studies overseas), which was the central institution for coordinating German immigration to Latin American. See Moreira, Pedro, “Juden aus dem deutschsprachigen Kulturraum in Brasilien: Ein Überblick,” in Kotowaski, Elke-Vera, ed., Das Kulturerbe deutschsprachiger Juden Eine Spurensuche in den Ursprungs-, Transit- und Emigrationsländern (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 2015), 426Google Scholar; Rinke, “German Migration,” 28.

40 Freeden, Kolonisatorische Erfahrungen, 7.

41 Freeden, , “Über die Möglichkeiten der Kolonisation für die Weisse Rasse in der Tropischen Zone,” in Comptes rendus du Congrès International de Geographie Amsterdam (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1938): 111–21Google Scholar, 118.

42 Neufeldt, Colin, “The Flight to Moscow, 1929,” Preservings 19 (Dec. 2001): 3547Google Scholar; Grams, German Emigration, 287.

43 Grams, German Emigration, 287.

44 The commentary was written by David H. Epp, a Mennonite preacher, historian, editor of the newspaper Botschafter, and chairman of the Russian Commission for Church Affairs. See “Kurze Erklärungen und Erläuterungen zum Katechismus der christlichen, taufgesinnten Gemeinden, so Mennoniten genannt werden,” Al Reimer, trans. (Odessa: A. Schultze, 1897; 2d ed., Klaterinoslav: D. H. Epp, 1899; Canadian repr. of 1899 ed., Rosthern: Dietrich Epp Verlag, 1941), 176–79. Quoted in Urry, James, Mennonites, Politics, and Peoplehood: Europe-Russia-Canada 1525–1980 (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2006), 108Google Scholar.

45 Thiesen, , “The Mennonite Encounter with National Socialism in Latin America, 1933–1944,” Journal of Mennonite Studies 12 (1994): 104–17Google Scholar, 112. Mennonites vacillated between identifying themselves as Dutch or German to Russian authorities depending on their audience and situation. See Friesen, Abraham, In Defense of Privilege: Russian Mennonites and the State before and during World War I (Winnipeg: Kindred Productions, 2006), 191267Google Scholar. He also notes “The Mennonite addiction to autocratic rule was a long-standing one” (p. 201).

46 Penny, “Latin American Connections,” 376. Penny bases this observation on Hoerder, “German-Language Diasporas.”

47 “Die Mennonitensiedlungen des paraguayischen Chaco und die nationale Erhebung in Deutschland,” Menno-Blatt, June 1933: 2.

48 Ibid.

49 Guenther, Titus F., “Theology of Migration: The Ältesten Reflect,” Journal of Mennonite Studies 18 (2000): 164–76Google Scholar, 173.

50 Redekop, Calvin, Strangers Become Neighbors: Mennonite and Indigenous Relations in the Paraguayan Chaco (Scottdale: Herald Press, 1980), 90Google Scholar.

51 Adolf Ens describes conservative Mennonites’ relationship with Canadian authorities, in Subject or Citizens? The Mennonite Experience in Canada, 1870–1925 (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1994)Google Scholar.

52 See Buchenau, Tools of Progress, 119–21; Loewen, Royden. Village among Nations: “Canadian” Mennonites in a Transnational World, 1916–2006 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013)Google Scholar.

53 On political movements among German exiles in Latin America, see Mühlen, Fluchtziel Lateinamerika, 110–35.

54 Friedman, Nazis and Good Neighbors, 14–22; Hoerder, “German-Language Diasporas,” 27–28; Penny, “Latin American Connections,” 371; A case study of Auslandsdeutsche clashes in the Argentine context is found in Sauveur-Henn, “Deutsche Einwanderung.”

55 Robert Foth, “Deutsch-Wymysle (Poland),” Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online,,_Poland) (last modified 14 Sept. 2014; accessed 15 Apr. 2017); Warkentin, Jakob, “Kliewer, Frederich,” Lexikon der Mennoniten in Paraguay, Ratzlaff, Gerhard et al. , eds. (Loma Plata, Paraguay: Verein für Geschichte und Kultur der Mennoniten in Paraguay, 2009), 244–24Google Scholar; Stahl, Kurt Daniel, “Zwischen Volkstumspflege, Nationalsozialismus und Mennonitentum, unveröffentlichte wissenschaftliche” (Jena: Wissenschaftliche Hausarbeit zur Ersten Staatsprüfung für das Lehramt an Gymnasien im Fach Geschichte, Universität Jena, 2007), 35Google Scholar.

56 These activities are not unlike those of the Bündische Jugend that existed under the Weimar Republic, but Kliewer's agenda was decidedly völkisch.

57 It is important to note that they did not focus on Mennonite, Christian, Russian, or Paraguayan songs, but rather the songs of their imagined national homeland. Kliewer, Friedrich, “Mennonite Young People's Work in the Paraguayan Chaco,” Mennonite Quarterly Review 11, 2 (1937): 119–30Google Scholar, 127–28.

58 Ibid., 125.

59 English Standard Version.

60 Frederich Kliewer, “In eigener Sache,” Kämpfende Jugend (Filadelfia, Paraguay), July 1934: 2.

61 Nikolai Siemens, “Kämpfende Jugend,” Kämpfende Jugend, July 1934: 1.

62 Julius Legiehn, “Unser Jugendbund,” Menno-Blatt, Aug. 1934: 3–4.

63 His dissertation was titled Die deutsche Volksgruppe in Paraguay: Eine siedlungsgeschichtliche, volkskundliche und volkspolitische Untersuchung. See Warkentin, “Kliewer,” 244–45.

64 Thiesen, Mennonite and Nazi?, 85.

65 Ibid., 85; Warkentin, Hildebrand, Peter,” in Ratzlaff, Gerhard et al. , eds., Lexikon der Mennoniten in Paraguay (Loma Plata, Paraguay: Verein für Geschichte und Kultur der Mennoniten in Paraguay, 2009), 203–4Google Scholar.

66 “Zum Tierschutzmann,” Menno-Blatt, July 1934: 2, 5; “Auszüge,” Menno-Blatt, July 1934: 5.

67 Stahl, “Zwischen Volkstumspflege,” 36.

68 “Verschiedenes,” Menno-Blatt, June 1934: 6.

69 Hildebrand, Odyssee wider Willen: Das Schicksal eines Auslandsdeutschen (Oldenburg, Germany: Heinz Holzberg Verlag, 1984), 183Google Scholar.

70 The rumors were likely aroused by the knowledge that an ex-German general named Hans Kundt led the Bolivian armed forces. See Bülow, “Bericht Nr. 37. Inhalt: Paraguayisch-bolivianischer Grenzstreit,” 18 Feb. 1929, 3, PA AA R78859. For more on Kundt, see Farcau, Bruce W., The Chaco War: Bolivia and Paraguay, 1932–1935 (London: Praeger, 1996)Google Scholar.

71 Hughes, Matthew, “Logistics and the Chaco War: Bolivia versus Paraguay, 1932–1935,” Journal of Military History 69, 2 (2005): 411–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 420–21.

72 Nikolai Siemens, “Gewitterwolk am politischen horizont,” Menno-Blatt, Aug. 1932: 1–2; The German Foreign Office in Berlin kept a close watch on these developments. See Bülow, “Bericht Nr. 194 Inhalt: Paraguayisch-bolivianischer Grenzstreit,” 6 Aug. 1932, PA AA, R78861; Ernst Kundt, “Aufzeichnung, betreffend den Chaco-Konflikt zwischen Bolivien und Paraguay und die mennonitischen Kolonien im Chaco,” 4 Aug. 1932, PA AA, R127502.

73 Quesada, Alejandro, The Chaco War 1932–95: South America's Greatest War (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2011)Google Scholar.

74 Siemens, “Gewitterwolk.” In another article, Siemens drew on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's 1787 poem the Sorcerer's Apprentice (“From the spirits that I summoned, deliver me!”) to provide a poetic understanding of a nation's endless quest for military glory and its unintended consequences on civilian populations. See Siemens, “Krieg und Kriegsopfer,” Menno-Blatt (Fernheim, Paraguay), Oct. 1932: 3.

75 Ratzlaff, Gerhard, Zwischen den Fronten: Mennoniten und andere evangelische Christen im Chacokrieg, 1932–1935 (Asunción: Gerhard Ratzlaff, 2009), 41Google Scholar.

76 Hughes, “Logistics,” 412.

77 Peter Rahn, “Was fehlt uns?—und wie kann uns geholfen werden?” Menno-Blatt (Fernheim, Paraguay), May 1931: 3–4.

78 Klassen, Wilhelm, “Painful Paths,” in The Schoenbrunn Chronicles, Balzer, Agnes and Dueck, Liselotte, compilers, Henry, and Regehr, Esther, trans. (Waterloo: Sweetwater Books, 2009), 34Google Scholar; Regehr, Johann, “Death in Schoenbrunn,” in The Schoenbrunn Chronicles, Balzer, Agnes and Dueck, Liselotte, compilers, Henry, and Regehr, Esther, trans. (Waterloo: Sweetwater Books, 2009), 39Google Scholar.

79 Nikolai Siemens, “Muss es im Chaco immer heiß sein?” Menno-Blatt (Fernheim, Paraguay), July 1931: 3–4.

80 Thiesen, Mennonite and Nazi?, 111.

81 Signatories requested German citizenship, promised to fit themselves into the German National State, and to “do our duty unto the utmost for the German Fatherland” since “the ten colonial years and the conditions in this country have persuaded us that we will never find a homeland here.” The number of signatories was upward of 240 families. See Application of Russian-German Colonists of the Colony Fernheim for Citizenship,” 26 May 1940, quoted in translation in Dyck, Cornelius J., ed., From the Files of MCC (Scottdale: Herald Press, 1980), 56Google Scholar.

82 Ens, Subject or Citizens?, 62–63; Francis, E. K., In Search of Utopia: The Mennonites in Manitoba (Glencoe: Free Press, 1955), 162Google Scholar.

83 Ens, Subject or Citizens?, 63–64.

84 Hildebrand, “Über unsere Erdnussendung.”

85 Ibid.

86 This idea was one of the VDA's founding tenets. See Kwan, Jonathan, “Transylvanian Saxon Politics, Hungarian State Building and the Case of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Schulverein (1881–82),” English Historical Review 127, 526 (2012): 592624CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 604.

87 “VDA Pressemitteilungen Dezember 1932,” Der VDA und die deutsche-amerikanische Press, 5, quoted in Grams, German Emigration, 13.

88 Thiesen, Mennonite and Nazi?, 85.

89 A. Braun, “Eltern hört!,” Menno-Blatt, Jan. 1935: 2–3.

90 “Protokoll einer KFK-Sitzung am 8. Mai 1935 in Philadelphia,” Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, California, quoted in P. Klassen, Die deutsch-völkisch, 35; and Thiesen, Mennonite and Nazi?, 92.

91 For an account of German attitudes toward Hitler and Nazi party bosses, see Kershaw, Ian, “‘Führer without Sin’: Hitler and the ‘Little Hitlers,’The Hitler Myth: Image and Reality in the Third Reich (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)Google Scholar.

92 Thiesen, Mennonite and Nazi?, 97–98. See also “Protokoll einer Elternversammlung in Philadelphia, Col. Fernheim zwecks Behandlung der vorliegenden Fragen unserer Zentralschule. Stattgefunden am 5. Nov. 1935,” Fernheim Colony Archive, Filadelfia, Paraguay (no file number).

93 Warkentin, “Hildebrand, Peter,” 203–4. Hildebrand provided his own reasons for the dismissal, including his high level of education and his production of Schiller's Die Räuber, which the Kommission considered to be “corrupting.” See Hildebrand, Odyssee wider Willen, 185–99.

94 Like other “Volk” composites, “Volkstum” is a difficult word to render in English though it implies a sense of national character or consciousness. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn developed the concept in the early nineteenth century and it was appropriated (and argued over) by members of the Nazi's völkisch movement. See Klautke, 124; Götz, 65–66.

95 Thiesen, Mennonite and Nazi?, 98.

96 Hoerder, Local, Continental, Global Migration Contexts: Projecting Life Courses in the Frame of Family Economies and Emotional Networks,” in Freund, Alexander, ed., Beyond the Nation? Immigrants’ Local Lives in Transnational Cultures, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 2143CrossRefGoogle Scholar, 22.

97 Loewen's Village among Nations provides an excellent description of the Steinbach Post's importance in the Menno Colony's transnational network.

98 It was altogether rare to see Menno Colony Mennonites contributing to Menno-Blatt. Peter J. R. Funk, “Kolonie Menno,” Kämpfende Jugend, May 1936: 1.

99 P. Neufeld, “Antwort auf den Artikel ‘Kolonie Menno,’” Kämpfende Jugend, May 1936: 1–2.

100 Ibid.

101 Kliewer spoke to this sentiment when he claimed that the Menno Colony was part of “Germandom” even though they “rather unconsciously feel” it. See his “Mennonite Young People's Work,” 126.

102 Richard W. Seifert, “Bericht über die Reise nach der Mennoniten-Kolonie Fernheim mit S. H. Herzog Adolf Friedrich von Mecklenburg,” 15 Feb. 1936, PA AA, R127972d, 163–65. Nikolai Siemens, “Dr. Josef Ponten,” Menno-Blatt, Oct. 1936: 6; “Ein Gesucher,” “Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz,” Menno-Blatt, Oct. 1936: 5.

103 Harvey, Elizabeth, “Emissaries of Nazism: German Student Travelers in Romania and Yugoslavia in the 1930s,” Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften 22, 1 (2011): 135–60Google Scholar, 138.

104 Lekan, Thomas, “German Landscape: Local Promotion of the Heimat Abroad,” in O'Donnell, Krista, Bridenthal, Renate, and Reagin, Nancy, eds., The Heimat Abroad: The Boundaries of Germanness (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 159Google Scholar.

105 Block, Ulrike, “Deutsche Lateinamerikaforschung im Nationalsozialismus–Ansätze zu einer wissenschaftshistorischen Perspektive,” in Carreras, Sandra, ed., Der Nationalsozialismus und Lateinamerika: Institutionen—Repräsentationen—Wissenskonstrukte I (Berlin: Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut Preußischer Kulturbesitz, 2005), 1112Google Scholar.

106 Wilhelmy, “Bericht,” 71.

107 There is a discrepancy concerning the date the organization was founded. Friedman (Nazis and Good Neighbors, 21) claims it was 1929, while Grow (Good Neighbor Policy, 52) claims it was 1931. Frank Mora and Jerry Cooney likewise use 1931. See their Paraguay and the United States: Distant Allies (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2007), 95Google Scholar. Ron Young explains that in 1928 a group of Paraguayan Nazi Party members formed an “organization center,” but no official Landesgruppe (national party unit) was formed until August 1931. By 1933, there were sixty-two party members, making it the third largest in South America.” See Paraguay,” World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, vol. 1 (Santa Barbara: ABC CLIO, 2006), 505Google Scholar.

108 Grow, Good Neighbor Policy, 52.

109 Ibid., 49.

110 Ibid., 49–51. See also Mora and Cooney, Paraguay and the United States, 94–96.

111 Grow, Good Neighbor Policy, 51.

112 Ibid., 34.

113 H[erbert] Wilhelmy, “An die Deutsche Gesandtschaft in Asuncion: Bericht über meine Reise im südlichen Paraguay,” PA AA, R127972d, 69–70, 69.

114 Ibid., 69.

115 Ibid., 70.

116 For a complete description of Wilhelmy's trip, see his coauthored publication with Schmieder, Oskar, Deutsche Akerbausiedlungen im südamerikanischen Grasland, Pampa und Gran Chaco, Wissenschaftliche Veröffentlichungen, Neue Folge 6 (Leipzig: Deutsches Museum für Ländkunde, 1938)Google Scholar.

117 Wilhelmy, “Bericht,” 73.

118 Ibid., 77–78; “Fritz Kliewer to Landesleiter des VDA Landesverbandes Weser-Ems,” 18 Nov. 1937, PA AA, R127972d, 52.

119 Wilhelmy, “Bericht,” 77.

120 Ibid.

121 Ibid., 78.

122 Ibid., 77.

123 Wilhelmy did not have the last word concerning Nazi impressions of Mennonites in Latin America. Party member and businessman Walter Schmiedehaus published a positive report on conservative Mennonites who relocated from Canada to Mexico in the 1920s, titled “Das Russlanddeutschtum in Mexiko,” in the Deutsches Ausland Institut-affiliated publication Jahrbuch der Hauptstelle für die Sippenkunde des Deutschtums im Ausland 4 (1939): 187–94Google Scholar.

124 “Fritz Kliewer to Landesleiter,” 55–61.

125 Ibid., 59.

126 Ibid., 60.

127 “Jakob Siemens, Heinrich Pauls, and Abram Loewen to B. H. Unruh,” 29 Sept. 1937, Paraguay Fernheim Colony 1937, IX-6-3 Central Correspondence, 1931–85, Mennonite Central Committee Files, Akron, Pennsylvania.

128 Freeden, “Über die Möglichkeiten,” 118.

129 After meeting with both sides in 1934, Ayala admonished the Mennonites that “the [Paraguayan] people had the impression that the Mennonites were firmly united and considered them as an example.” Interestingly, the quote reveals that Ayala hoped the anti-nationalist Menno Colony would help promote Paraguayan national unity during the Chaco War. See Friesen, Martin W., New Homeland in the Chaco Wilderness, 2d ed., Balzer, Jake, trans. (Loma Plata, Paraguay: Cooperativa Chortitzer Limited, 1997), 435–37Google Scholar.

130 Ibid., 419–37.

131 In contrast, the Fernheim Colony maintains a relatively large archive with extensive documentation of its Nazi past.