|Wall of Rememberance, Bethel Heritage Park, Winkler, Manitoba.|
Two Doukhobors from Benito, Manitoba, are among those who chose nonkilling alternatives to war in Manitoba during WWII:
- Alex F. Legebokoff, alternative service building a road near Montreal Lake in 1941.
- Walter W. Laktin, rejected alternative service, went to jail, and his CO status was revoked.
|Bethel Heritage Park during construction|
Though a complete list of the 10,000+ WWII conscientious objectors in Canada was destroyed by the government, it is known that 3,021 lived in Manitoba. See a partial list in-progress with about 2,300 names collected so far.
The Wall of Remembrance is in the southwest corner of Bethel Heritage Park, north of West Pembria Ave along 6th Street. Winkler is 130 km (80 miles) southwest of Winnipeg, and 20 km (12 miles) north of the US border and North Dakota.
The monument has 3 functions:
- Past — Recognize the witness of 3,021 young men in Manitoba who chose alternative service in time of war.
- Pesent — A teaching aid. The production of peace teaching materials will equal the cost of the wall.
- Future — The exhibit and published material in the adjacent city library peace collection, and on the Internet, will educate the next generation about the values of peacemaking, nonkilling and nonwar.
- greetings from representatives of the many congregations invited
- the background of the memorial
- announcement of educational booklet and video
- choir singing
Conrad Stoesz, archivist at the Mennonite Heritage Centre, will present the history. The National Anthem of Canada and 'Faith of our Fathers' are among the 5 songs scheduled. The Evangelical Anabaptist Fellowship of Canada, representing 6 different Mennonite conferences in Canada, is hosting the dedication event.
This peace memorial was verbally attacked by a few Canadian veterans who claimed no peace memorials exist in Canada, or should be allowed. The protesters never appeared in person. Though war and veteran memorials exist by the thousands in Canada, about 100 peace monuments and museums are listed in the Peace Monument Directory for Canada.
The wall is sponsored by the Evangelical Anabaptist Fellowship (EAF), the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society (MMHS), a group of C.O.’s who served in Alternative Service during World War II, and many other supporters. For more information contact Bernie Loeppky <email@example.com>, Board of Directors Evangelical Anabaptist Fellowship of Canada (EAP), and founding member of Grace Mennonite Church, Winkler.
Bethel Heritage Park
This wall is part of a concerted community effort, supported by donations, to do the right thing with a hectare (acre) of land in the middle of town. When their old Bethel Hospital was demolished 5 years ago, the city council heard proposals, from which emerged an educational park showcasing their diverse community.
The result was an outdoor classroom along a walking path with:
- an entrance gate similar to Mennonite villages in Ukraine
- storyboards depicting Winkler's history
- war memorial for veterans
- peace memorial to conscientious objectors (COs).
- garden features — fountain, gazebo, flowers.
Though the majority (55% in 2001) are of Mennonite descent, with 10 of 19 churches being Mennonite, other denominations of Germans from Russia, and Jews have co-existed for generations.
“With this park we want to honour the past, build relationships in the present, and inspire our city for the future.” said Ken Loewen, secretary of the Bethel Heritage Park Committee on August 18, 2008 when plans for the site were unveiled.
- The 'Wall of Remembrance' Dedication Service Program
- List of known conscientious objectors in the Second World War, by Conrad Stoesz
- Index of Doukhobor Conscientious Objectors in Saskatchewan in World War II, Doukhobor Genealogy Website
- Wall of Remembrance, Evangelical Anabaptist Fellowship (Canada)
- Back Page: Wall of Remembrance, The Recorder, Vol.48:4 July/Aug 2011, page 32.
- Wall Of Remembrance To Be Dedicated At Bethel Heritage Park, PembinaValleyOnline, 6 September 2011. Includes recorded voice message by Loeppky.
- Winkler Mennonite Church, (bulletin) Vol.23:36, September 5, 2010
- Wall of Remembrance to recognize COs of WWII : Dedication ceremony next month, The Winkler Times, Aug 18, 2011, page 14.
- "Wall of Remembrance" to recognized COs of WWII, The Winkler Times, Aug 18, 2011, page 14
- Chortitza oak to anchor Heritage Park, Canadian Mennonite, Vol.12:17, September 1, 2008, page 20.
- Doukhobor WWII COs in Northern Saskatchewan 1941: 20 Excerpts from Tarasoff Photo Collection on Doukhobor History, by Koozma J. Tarasoff. Sept. 8, 2011
- Peace movement directory: North American organizations, programs, museums, and memorials by James Richard Bennett, 2001. Google book
- Winkler, Manitoba, Wikipedia.
- City of Winkler web site
- Phone conversation with Bernie Loeppky <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Sepember 9, 2011.
|100s Attend Wall Dedication, Sunday Sept 11, 2011.|
- C.O.'s Happy With Wall Of Remembrance, Pembria Valley Online, Sept 12, 2011 — 3 photos.
- Wall of Remembrance dedicated: For Conscientious Objectors, The Winkler Times, Sept 14, 2011 — 4 photos.