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November 02, 2007

The Amish in Poland, again

Just got a call from my friend here in Krakow.  It looks like Anita and Jakub, the 'Amish in Poland', are back in the news again.

The Pennsylvania/Indiana-transplant couple, who settled in a village not far from Warsaw 14 years ago, appeared on the national talk show 'Rozmowy w Toku' (roughly, 'Conversations in Progress') tonight.  Kind of an odd place to find an Amish family, but again, we're not sure exactly what their particular brand of Amish is.  I listened to a clip of the show, where the Polish host was asking why they chose to marry one another.  The couple, who drive and are sometimes mistaken for Orthodox Jews, responded in heavily-accented Polish:

'She was, how can I say it, the most available.'

'I was already 26 years old, and didn't have anything against him.'

Those make for curious sound bites.  The Polish public's fascination for the Amish turns out to be, unsurprisingly, not unlike that of the American public.


Anita and Jakub have become semi-celebrities of sorts, having recently been the subjects of a 26-minute documentary.  Here's a link to an article about them, for anyone out there with at least sixth-grade level Polish.

Excepting the occasional tourist trip, the Amish have not had a significant presence in Europe since 1937, when the final Amish congregation in Ixheim, Germany merged with the Ernstweiler Mennonite congregation, uniting as the Zweibrucken Mennonite Church (Steven Nolt, 'A History of the Amish'). 


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Well now that was interesting to say the least! Thank you for posting this.

Interesting - but something tells me they are Amish in name only - and not in practice. Not used to seeing them appear so willingly in front of a camera and drivng cars.

Sounds like a scam, Eric - but what do I know...

Well the TV appearance, cars, and clothing alone make it hard to make the case for them being considered Old Order Amish...on first glance you might think they may be of an Amish-Mennonite bent, or rather, 'uncategorized'...they are the only family remaining of the original three that came, and they attend a Pentecostalist church. So I don't really know what we would call them. When asked, they call themselves Christians, of no particular denomination. The Poles are definitely calling them Amish though ;)

In the Polish article I linked to, Jakub has a quote talking about their faith and mix of traditional customs and modern conveniences. Roughly translated: "you can believe in tradition, and not in God. The cell phone and the car make life easier in the countryside, and greater evil comes from the heart of man."

"you can believe in tradition, and not in God. The cell phone and the car make life easier in the countryside, and greater evil comes from the heart of man." Very true.
It might be possible that they were from an Amish church (as we said in others posts) but they might choose to leave the Amish church after being in Poland...
Great work.

Thank you Emma!!

Just discovered your site. It is really good.

You have a great site.

A group of Old Order Amish are living in Beeville Texas. I visited them two years ago and they said they moved from Tennessee about six years. They have a shop and sell buggies and produce and baked goods. There are about five families and they are all related. They said some other families come down in the winter to avoid the harsh weather in the north. I know they are still there and will be visiting soon. I wonder if their numbers increased.
I have a question. Do you know where they get their bibles from? Old Order Amish read the Catholic Bible (includes the seven books that were removed from the King James translation.)

Are you familar with the Mennonite-Polish Friendship Assocication? Started in 1988 their trying to restore Polish Mennonite legacy along the Vistula delta and river

yanawang, Debbie, thank you very much! I appreciate you taking the time to read it.

Debbie that is very interesting that you have contact with the Amish in Beeville. I had always wondered about this settlement. There have been a few other Amish settlements in Texas in the past but none that really flourished.

While I am no scholar on the Biblical translations topic, the majority of the Amish I have had contact with read the Martin Luther translation for the German Bible, and then the King James version for the English. If I am not mistaken, I recall my New Order friends in Ohio telling me that Old Order Amish use the apocrypha (the otherwise omitted books you mention being included in the Catholic Bible)whereas the New Order do not (hope I do not have that backwards). Hostetler seems to confirm this use of the apocrypha in Amish Society. Some Amish I have met have also been receptive to the New International Version. But on the whole they tend to be sticklers for the King James version.

Tom, I am not. That sounds interesting and I know there is a minor Mennonite presence in Poland. Strangely, I have been noticing a number of older men with Mennonite-style beards around Krakow in recent weeks. I will have to check it out, if you have any links or anything send 'em on.


Hi Erik, here a couple sites pertaining to the Mennonite-Polish restorative



Thanks Tom, I took a look at them. Very interesting. Many of them settled not far from Gdansk it seems.

I have also visited with Anita & Jakub around 5/6 years ago. They are a lovely couple and Jakub is very knowledgable on many subjects. I only wish at the time they'd had indoor plumbing. High Polish summer with an outhouse is not so nice! Otherwise they were so kind and friendly people!

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