Gerhard Hein was born in 1905 into a German-speaking family in a Mennonite settlement near Ufa in the Ural Mountains of Russia. He later immigrated to Germany, where he studied theology, graduating as a minister in 1931. Hein was ordained as a pastor in 1935, serving several Mennonite communities in southwest Germany and Berlin. From 1940 – 1945 he served in the Wehrmacht as an interpreter, cracking secret Russian codes. Gerhard Hein was also the editor of several Mennonite journals, and co-editor and eventual sole editor of the German edition of the Mennonite Encyclopedia. Many of his German poems have been published in “Vertrauen, Freuen, Danken.”
Gerhard and his wife Lydia had two sons. His youngest son Wilfried translated his interesting war-time story and biography, because he believes that we can and should learn from historic events.
Winner of the 2007 Saskatchewan Book Award for Non-fiction.
“Your mother and father are running away," said a voice piercing the warm air. I froze and turned toward home. To a Hutterite, nothing is more shameful than that word, running away, Weglaufen...”
In 1969, Ann-Marie’s parents did the unthinkable. They left a Hutterite colony in Canada with seven children, and little else, to start a new life. Overnight, the family was thrust into a society they did not understand and which knew little of their unique culture. The transition was overwhelming. Desperate to be accepted, ten-year-old Ann-Marie was forced to deny her heritage in order to fit in with her peers. I Am Hutterite chronicles her quest to reinvent herself as she comes to terms with the painful circumstances that led her family to leave community life. Rich with memorable characters and vivid descriptions, this ground-breaking narrative shines a light on intolerance, illuminating the simple truth that beneath every human exterior beats a heart longing for understanding and acceptance.