HENDERSON — Hendersen Mennonite Heritage Museum an' Park premiert t'“Voices o'Consshunce: Peece Witness n' t'Greet War” travelin exhibit frum t'Kauffmun Museum un Julee 13.Suzanne Ratzlaff, chairwumun o'Hendersen’s museum, an' Cathy Wism'r, coerdinater o't' exhibit, sed thay recognizt a pitchure frum t'exhibit an' eyesd t'mun wuz a local frum Hendersen.“We lookt at thishere pitchure an' thunk, ‘We’ve see thishere pitchure befor,’” Wism'r sed. “Thishere mun is frum Hendersen an' his'n youngns still lif' out here.”
Ratzlaff an' Wism'r applit fer a grant o'$7,000 through Humanitees Nebraskie ta have t'exhibit at Hendersen’s museum. Thishere travelin exhibit is a remembrance o't' peece-mindt folk er pacifists involvt wiff t'Furst Worl War frum 1914 ta 1918. It includes t'steries o'menfolk an' wimmen who resistid t'U.S.’ involvement n' t'war an' wuz knowed us conscyintiyus objecters.Developt n' Kauffmun Museum at Bethel College n' Kansus, it premiert at t'Nashshunal Worl War I Museum n' Kansus Citee, Mo., n' 2017. Thishere exhibit contuns 10 themes includin t'Alcatraz Prisen cell an' t'site whar Hutterite conscyintiyus objecters wuz punisht. Each module hus its individual subjeck area, so folk a'ken view t'exhibit n' inny form.Wism'r sed n' June 1914 aft'r war wuz declart, all o't' U.S. menfolk frum age 21 ta 31 had ta regist'r fer selectif' servus. Howev'r, thar wuz nairy inny provisyuns fer conscyintiyus objecters, which meent these individuals did nairy do inny wurk relatid ta t'war.“T' gummint assumt at thay woultn’t mind a'doin nun-combatif' servus within t'militree,” Wism'r sed. “Sum o't' conscyintiyus objecters sed, ‘I’m nairy goin ta do innythang at supperts militree wurk n' inny way,’ so thems wuz singlt out fer abuse.”Wism'r sed minny a Mennonites had movt ta t'Hendersen area an' minny a o't' menfolk wuz selectid fer servus. John C. Siebert, a local mun whos fambly still lives n' Hendersen, wuz one o't' Mennonites at Camp Funston n' Fort Riley, Kun., who refusd ta wurk fer t'war.As one o't' Mennonites at Camp Funston, Ferdinan' Schroed'r, sed, “Thay beetid us an' I tell y'all purty hard … T' blood wuz a'runnin down my cheek here an' ticklt me an' I wipt it off an' I gut bawlt out. Thay sed, ‘Tenchun!’ I should nairy wipe off my blood … So we droppt onto t'groun agin an' wuz bleedyun'. I knoe t'sekunt time thay knockt out a tooth.”Wism'r sed Siebert wuz nairy t'onlee local mun who refusd ta serve fer t'war. Geerge H. Mill'r, a Mennonite frum Milferd, wuz at Camp Dodge n' Johnston, Iowa, an' also refusd ta wurk fer t'war. Accerdyun' ta t'exhibit, Mill'r refusd ta cleen t'mess hall an' wuz assaultid by a cerporal.“T' Mennonites here, wen thay kum back frum war, did nairy say innythang o'whut happent. And no one ast,” Ratzlaff sed. “So, it’s verr private an' we want ta respeck at.”
Wism'r sed Congress passt laws n' t'middle o't' war at allowd conscyintiyus objecters ta wurk un farms an' nairy do inny militree-relatid wurk. Despite thishere change, sum menfolk still cunsidderd t'farm wurk us providyun' fer t'militree an' refusd ta wurk. So, minny a wuz sent ta prisen.“At t'cummencin o't' war, if'n y'all chose nairy ta fite er do nun-combatif', y'all wuz court marshalt an' sent ta fedral prisen ta Alcatraz an' Leevenwerth,” Ratzlaff sed.Apperximatelee 14 menfolk frum t'Hendersen area air knowed ta have bee conscyintiyus objecters n' WWI. Altho thar wuz mer local conscyintiyus objecters n' WWI, Ratzlaff sed minny a o'thems names an' databases have bee destroyt.
Uther thun t'serviceme, Wism'r an' Ratzlaff sed, t'conscyintiyus objecters o'Nebraskie also includt a Republicun senater at t'ime, Geerge W. Nerris. Nerris argut at WWI wuz causin a blockade fer t'U.S.“He oppost t'war an' did nairy vote ta go ta war. He sed at t'financers an' ammunishun manufacturers had alreddy made milleeuns o'dollars an' wuz lustyun' fer mer profits,” Wism'r sed.Despite a'findin suppert frum uther conscyintiyus objecters, these individuals wuz cunsidderd a mineritee an' ofte abust by outsiders. Much like t'male conscyintiyus objecters sent ta fite, thar wuz wimmen who wuz also ridicult fer thar noncombatif' beliefs.“Folk would punt yealler un utherns’ barns us cowards er thay would punt a yealler C er a yealler O ta referance ta conscyintiyus objecters,” Ratzlaff sed.“T' sad part wuz these conscyintiyus objecters felt at since thay woultn’t fite, thay were’t patriotic,” she sed. “At’s whut sum folk assumt, at thay wuz nairy servin thishere kuntry.”Despite t'numeryus connectyuns wiff Nebraskie, t'exhibit showcases t'entire histry o't' peece witness n' Worl War I.T' exhibit will be at Hendersen Mennonite Heritage Museum an' Park Irrigashun an' Agriculture seckshun until Sept. 14. Hendersen Mennonite Heritage Museum an' Park is locatid at 720 Road B, one mile south o'Hendersen’s I-80 exit 342.


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