Author image of Elfrieda Dyck

Elfrieda Dyck

Peter and Elfrieda Dyck were lifelong servants to people in need around the world. They were well known in Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and Amish communities throughout Canada, Europe, Paraguay and the United States, especially for their work with Mennonite Russian refugees and with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Born in Russia in 1914, Peter was a child when the Russian Revolution ushered in the start of the Soviet Union. At 6 years old, he almost died during the Russian Famine of 1921. Dyck and his family were rescued by food shipments sent from Mennonites in Canada and the United States, a kindness he would not forget. Six years later his family, including eight siblings, fled Russia and settled in Saskatchewan. During World War II, he served with MCC in England. Motivating his decision to work with MCC was his memory of the food aid he received as a child from the agency. While in England he met and married Elfrieda Klassen, a nurse who also was serving with MCC. She, too, was a Russian refugee who moved to Canada. At war's end they moved to the Netherlands to direct a massive relief effort. In 1946, the Dycks set up refugee camps in Germany for thousands of Mennonites who had fled the Soviet Union. Over time, they led 5,500 Mennonites by boat to South America, predominantly Paraguay. This experience provided content for Dyck's stories and was the basis of the book, Up From the Rubble, that they co-authored. After the war Peter and Elfrieda served as administrators with MCC; he later also served as a pastor and story-teller while Elfrieda returned to nursing. In addition to Up From the Rubble, he also wrote three children's books: The Great Shalom, Shalom at Last and Storytime Jamboree. He also wrote a meditation on growing old gracefully, Getting Home Before Dark. Peter died on January 4, 2010. Elfrieda passed away August 20, 2004.