Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen presented a special tile to the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum this week. The tile, received during a trip to Ukraine last year, has a symbolic connection between the Mennonites that created it and those that immigrated to the Steinbach area.
“Steinbach has a historical connection to the City of Zaporazhye Ukraine. This piece of history is a symbol of the connection between our two communities, representing both our past and present,” said Mayor Goertzen.
The roof tile is one of many made by Mennonites and used in the construction of businesses and homes in the region of Zaporazhye. The tiles often include the name of the maker or the name of the person’s home being built.
“A tile may, on the surface, appear to be a relatively uninteresting artifact. As is the case with artifacts generally, our interest in this object is significant because of the story that accompanies it”, said Barry Dyck, Executive Director at MHV, “It was manufactured in the Molotschna Colony of Ukraine, the area that many of our ancestors called home prior to migrating to North America.”
During his Ukraine trip, Mayor Goertzen recognized similarities between the challenges faced by Ukraine cities and Steinbach. The opportunity to learn from each other and strengthen the relationship has led to Mayor Goertzen extending an invitation to the Deputy Mayor, City of Zaporazhye, Ukraine to visit Steinbach in the coming year.
“It would be great to continue our dialogue on how we can better both of our communities and strengthen the historic bond that we have,” said Mayor Goertzen of the invite.
While the tile settles into its new home at the museum, Mayor Goertzen will wait to hear if the Ukraine Deputy Mayor will visit his.