World War 1

During their stay in the Dakotas, Americans barely noticed the Hutterites, that is, until World War I broke out in 1914.  But then they were viewed as foreigners because they spoke German and refused to participate in the war.  Nor did they contribute any money towards the financing of the war.  Of course, this did not go over well with the English-speaking neighbors, who raided the colonies and stole livestock and supplies to help finance the war.

Since it was compulsory, Hutterites sent their young men to military camps, but they didn’t allow them to obey any military commands or wear a uniform.  At Camp Funston, the men were beaten and tortured, dragged by their hair, and even chased by motorcycles until they dropped from exhaustion. They were hung by their feet above water so that they nearly drowned.

One famous case of such brutal torture involved Jacob Wipf and three Hofer brothers, Joseph, Michael and David.  They spent four months at a prison in Alcatraz where they were severely mistreated.  Later they were transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where they were continually mistreated.  Eventually both Joseph and Michael Hofer died in the hospital at Fort Leavenworth.

Ultimately, these events prompted the Hutterites to emigrate to Canada in 1918.   The Schmiedeleut established six colonies in Manitoba, the Dariusleut five in Alberta, and the Lehrerleut also founded four colonies in Alberta.

Because of the rapid expansion, Albertans were alarmed, by all the new Hutterites that were buying so much land.  They pressured the federal Government to halt immigration of the Hutterites.  But with the Great Depression coming, the outrage died out, and by 1940, there were 52 colonies in Canada.