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Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

Okay, last week I mentioned a book called "Removing the Hutterite Kerchief."   An article in the Winnipeg newspaper was so sparse in information about it that it was tough to draw any conclusions.   I received, though, a press release yesterday giving me more to go on.  I'm going to run the press release which obviously puts a very positive spin on the book.  I have not read the book so I can't endorse it, nor can I criticize it.   The press release follows: 


Removing the Hutterite Kerchief
by Rebecca Hofer and her daughter Helen, edited by Dona Sturmanis
Published in association with the Okanagan Institute Collegium
5.5 x 8.5 inches, 192 pages, paperback | ISBN 978-0-9810271-3-5 | $20
Publication date: January 2010. Available for purchase at
More information:

       On a cold December day, 1966, in rural Manitoba, December 5th, 35 men, women and children spanning three generations, with only meager belongings, did the unimaginable. They left the culture, heritage and livelihood of their Hutterite colony behind and moved into an unfamiliar and unknown world.

       Rebecca Hofer was one of those people.  She left Greenwald Colony, along with her seven children from ages 2-12, husband Edward, and numerous other relatives. The reason for their exodus was the mistreatment they were receiving at the Colony.

       “I was relieved to leave there,” says Rebecca, who now lives in British Columbia. “I had no misgivings whatsoever.”

       Hutterites are religious farming communities that place strong adherence on communion of goods and dress code. There are many Hutterite colonies throughout North America including Manitoba, where Rebecca lived in Greenwald Colony, near Winnipeg.

       She decided she wanted to write Removing the Hutterite Kerchief three years ago when encouraged by a neighbour who had heard her stories.

       “I just went home and started writing. It had been on my mind to have it written for a long, long time.” says Rebecca.  With information from journals she had kept at Greenwald Colony in 1955 to 1966 and help from extended family members, Rebecca set about her task with the help of her daughter Helen Kubisewsky. “I realized if I didn’t get the story written, our family history would be lost.”

       The result is a powerful memoir of tribulation and triumph of unbelievable conditions endured for over a decade to members of Rebecca’s extended family by the Hutterite Colony leaders.   Removing the Hutterite Kerchief is also a chronicle of the rich, diverse culture and social environment of the Hutterite people.

       “Some family and friends wondered why I felt I had to go back and re-live these experiences and emotions,” says Rebecca, but now I am glad I did it. I felt I had to preserve our history for our children and grandchildren.”

Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

A strickingly similar book is: I Am Hutterite. Again, the journey of a girl and her family as they transfer from colony life to the outside world. I really enjoyed the story...

My biggest issue with this book (Removing the Hutterite Kerchief) is actually the comment the authers' niece made on this blog, really. That comment, I admit, made me shift in my chair a bit. I'm someone who knows a thing or two that the rest of who read or connect with the book, will not understand... But also, I think it should be very well understood by the general public what these stories are all about. Things don't go over very well, when a decision to leave gets made. I pity all the people involved. The book does in fact outline only one persons perspective and of course, that is to be expected. However the book doesn't mention why they were forced to leave, which admittingly, does encourage a few questions from those not very familiar with the hutterite system. It poses too many unanswered questions directed towards my own culture, which I am extemely proud to be a part of.

Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

Sad, sad, sad...If it would be of any help, I'm not a member of Greenwald, though I have a few connections to the community, I would like to offer my regards to your mistreatment. I feel sorry, I really do.

I must add, though, on another note...There are always at least 2 sides to every story, sometimes more. Please keep that in mind. As for the current, I hope you are happy with your decision that you have made, that your transition was smooth enough...and of course that you had a few very found memories to take along with you.


Be at peace,


Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

If the post is true(Iam always skeptical),this is a very sad situation.

Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

Living in the situation that my Aunt speaks of,was one of hunger,pain,cold,and abusive.

I was but 6 years old when we left Greenwald Colony,to our new home in Selkirk Manitoba.There we many things i remember about the colony ,even at my age,the hunger,the cold,the anger,the abuse we took,and the lack of our fellow Brethren to intervene in our situation.

The Elders as they were,should have stepped in,to put the situation to rest or in the least have another Boss,and pastor take over the colony on a interim Basis.But they looked the other way,they  choose not to,in in my opinion the leadership of the Hutterite Brethern today should not only apologize to the people and familes they should do it pubicly.

The Heritage,the culture,i belong to can never be taken away from us,it should be remembered,and would like to thank my Aunt for writing such a eye opening book,for all the world to read,and hopfully understand our situation.The Hutterite world is not a perfect world ,its full of power struggles,just like the outside world,some get more than others,and some like our families got nothing.

I'll share a story of when i was maybe 2 years old ,maybe three ,i keep telling my mom this story about me going to a house next to my grammas house,looking for bread,i wont mention his name ,but he did give me a piece of bread and hid me in a closest off the ,what i believe they call the mud room, its hard to believe i would have to beg for food at sucvh a young age,and there were many more stories like that.

Im glad we left,and i was angry for years,but i have forgiven the people that did this,in the hutterite belief system,there religious belief,they know where they are,cooking on the devils spit forever,,,,now i dont believe that,but they do and thats what matters.

Thank You aunt Rebbecca for your courage,and insight.

Love :Art Tschetter

Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

i commend this young woman for giving us all a look at how some cultures treat their people. how discussing for ANY family to have to live in fear our their own. how is it that the leaders of a settlement could let this happen? this is SO REVOLTING to me that i can hardly comprehend it. i am not educated in the ways of the amish, but do THEY treat their own in the same manner as this group? small children begging for food...what kind of people do this? i am glad that the aunt of this young woman was finally able to stand up and make a change in her families' situation and got out of there, and i am also glad that she wrote a book about the whole mess..what an eye opener!

Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

It is regrettable that we don't find the thoughts and perspectives of the colony leaders in the book. Nor what led to the situation, because, a situation like that doesn't "just arise" on a hutterite colony.

Hutterite colonies will shun a member, or a group of members from time to time, if they don't abide by the rules of the community. Because it's so hard to just get up and leave with nothing on your back (because you don't tend to own a whole lot on a colony, the colony provides), you can't just wave your hand goodbye and be off. During the time you wait for an opportunity to actually leave the community, situations and emotions can (and will) flare... To an extent where both parties will feel sorry about what had happened, but of course, what has happened cannot be undone.

Why did these people have to be shunned from the colony, I wonder. I think it should be mentioned in the book as well; so far it's too one-sided.

Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

Personally, I have a deep admiration for the Hutterites....I think the book was one woman's perspective and that should be kept in mind.  I didn't find the book overly sensationalistic, which was good...It seemed like her treatment of the Hutterites was pretty balanced....What was your single biggest complaint with the book Hutterite1?

Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

I've tried replying a few times...but it never stays posted for too long. I give up... It's not fair "editorkevin". Don't ask me a question you wouldn't let me answer. Shame on you. I hope a few people see this before you get to removing it.



Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

Hutterite, I have left up all your posts and welcome them.  I have only removed one and that is when it was double-posted, otherwise, post away!

Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

I appologize "editorkevin". I did in fact have issues posting it, and when I didn't find it where I expected it to be, I kind of didn't realize. I can now see that its located towards the top there...

Again, I appologize.



Re: Removing the Hutterite Kerchief - Part II

Hutterite, I understand your complaint with the relative's comment on this site and with the book as a whole. I think one always needs to be careful when reading books like "I am Hutterite" to realize that it is just ONE person's opinion/experiences and not necessarily reflective of the whole....What would you say is the great joy, in your opinion, of living in a Hutterite colony?