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The Pacifist Who Went to War

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In 1939, as Canada joined World War II, a social crisis pulled apart the Mennonite communities of southern Manitoba. Thousands of young Mennonite men were forced to decide: in the face of 400 years of pacifist tradition, should they now go to war?

The controversy is brought to life as brothers Ted and John Friesen reflects on their choices. Ted became a conscientious objector, while his brother went into military service. Others were similarly divided, as the heart of Mennonite culture clashed with duty to one's country. Deep and raw, the rifts endured for decades.

Fifty years later, the town of Winkler dedicates its first war memorial and John begins to share his war experiences with Ted. Shedding light on the courage and conviction of both sides, this film features illuminating interviews with Mennonite author Rudy Wiebe, conscientious objectors, war veterans and a new generation of Canadian Mennonites. More than a half-century later, are the rifts beginning to heal?

2002, 51 min 59 s

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Wilbur Award
Itinerant - Wilbur Awards Competition
April 26 2003, New York - USA

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