A reunion of the Salzburg, Austria, Pax unit was held September 18-21 at Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. PAX, the Latin word for “peace,” was the name given to Mennonite Central Committee’s overseas voluntary service for men of draft age in the middle of the twentieth century. From 1961 to 1963 Pax men built six houses and a church building in Hallein-Rif, Austria, for refugees from then Yugoslavia, most of whom had German roots.These refugees belonged to the Nazerener or Neutäufer church, an Anabaptist group.
The refugees were living in old World War II barracks in Salzburg since the War ended in 1945. The Pax men also lived in the barracks until the new houses were ready for occupancy; then they moved in with the families while the church building was being completed.
Attending the 2014 reunion in Canada were 15 Pax men and 14 spouses, coming from Ontario, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado, and Idaho. In a Sunday morning worship service Rick Cober Bauman, Executive Director of MCC Ontario, spoke to the group regarding current programs in Canada.
Previous reunions of the Salzburg Paxers, starting in 1970, were held in Goshen, IN; Hesston, KS; Mountain Lake, MN; Vineland, ON; Salzburg, Austria; Williamsburg, VA; Monterey, CA; Akron, PA; and Boise, ID. The group agreed to meet again in two years.
Pax men attending the reunion were Ervie Glick, John Arn, Robert Unrau, John Driedger, Wilmer Weaver, Dave Kulp, Allan Mast, Gilbert Friesen, Wayne Yoder, Lowell Bender, Lester Yoder, Corney Klassen, Glen Showalter, Merle Brenneman, and Dick Boschart.
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