Preserving history with history

The Red River Valley Echo, May 10, 2015

NEUBERGTHAL - When the Neubergthal history book hit the shelves back in November 2013, no one on the 12 member committee knew how well it would actually sell.

They printed 500 copies, with the intention of donating all the net profits to the Neubergthal Heritage Foundation (NHF) for local projects.

What they discovered was that the book was selling the most at the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg, to people who had no connection to the village, but were fascinated with the stories and memories it contains.

Since then, about 300 copies have been sold, with profits totalling $12, 603.

This money was recently presented to the NHF, to develop a library at the Eddie Schmidt Housebarn. Part of the funds will also be used to print their local newsletter, Neubergthal Notes, as well as other promotional material.

It took over two years to complete the book. Committee member Rose Hildebrand says the research and time spent editing and poring over old photos was time well-spent, because it was always in good company.

“We had a great time putting this together,” she says. “There wasn’t a meeting where we didn’t laugh.”

NHF committee member Terry Mierau says it’s an honour to receive the money, knowing how hard the group worked to raise it. “More than $12,000 - that’s nothing to sniff at. This just proves that when good people work together, good things happen. The beauty is that a project that preserves the village’s past, will also help support a library in a century-old housebarn. Very appropriate and very appreciated.”

The remaining Neubergthal history books will be sold for $60 at Friesens Bookstore in the Altona Mall, the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg, and the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach. Whoever books a tour of the Neubergthal Village can purchase the book for $40.