My Emigrant Father is much more than a memoir. It is a comprehensive revelation of Russian Mennonite history in general and Jacob J. Funk’s life in particular, a resource to be studied and treasured. This book is a buffet of foundational facts, personal anecdotes and author commentary, seasoned with recipes and visualized through photos, trimmed with citations for verification and further study.
Endorsed by Janice L. Dick, Author of historical Mennonite fiction
PRE-RELEASE REVIEW (currently no cover image)
My Emigrant Father by Katie Funk Wiebe
Jacob J. Funk lived from 1896 to 1986, but this comprehensive memoir by his daughter, Katie Funk Wiebe, reaches back further to the beginnings of Mennonite history in Holland. Wiebe’s most recent book, to be released in the summer of 2015 by Kindred Press, spans not only generations, but countries, continents and cultures. Through concentrated research, the author offers a personalized version of her father’s ethnic history, deftly weaving in family stories and events, photos gleaned from long past, and recipes both old and recent that have become part of the Wiebe family memory.
This memoir is not specifically chronological, rather it is a journey that stops along the way to investigate and discuss many thoughts, traditions, events and people, as well as faith and its adaptation to times and experiences. At times Wiebe leaps forward in an effort to explain what happened in the past. Other times, she reaches to the past to explain the present.
In this captivating treatise of Mennonite life in general and Jacob Funk’s life in particular, the reader is treated to word-pictures of an Eden-like existence in South Russia that is destroyed, its inhabitants fleeing to a foreign land they know nothing of, to forge a new life. Family separations are final, fears abound, and old ghosts often haunt the new land throughout that first generation.
Through it all, Wiebe portrays a family carried by faith. In spite of enduring hardships, the Lord leads to green pastures and quiet waters. I marvel at the way God placed the Wiebe family in a community populated by Russian immigrants who shared background experiences, language and many customs.
After reading the Advance Reading Copy of My Emigrant Father from beginning to end, I await the upcoming release. This volume will be treasured for years to come as an exhaustive resource for anyone interested in Russian Mennonite history.