- The KIT Information Service, the Peregrine Foundation's
pilot project, started in late 1989 as the KIT
("Keep In Touch") Newsletter to contact the approximately 1000
ex-members and 'graduates' of a group of religious intentional
communities known variously as 'The Society of Brothers,' 'La
Sociedad de Hermanos,' 'The Hutterian Brethren East,' 'The
Arnoldleut,' but in general parlance as "The Bruderhof."
In 1961 the so-called "Great Crisis" occurred during which one-
third of the membership was judged 'unworthy' and ejected from the
communities. The exiles only were allowed to take a few suitcases of
clothing with them and were warned not to contact other ex-
members. The Bruderhof's 'golden handshake' at that time probably
averaged $25 per person.
Under the control of Heini Arnold, their new elder, the Bruderhof
increasingly devolved from an authoritarian religious sect to a
totalitarian cult. Techniques utilized by the leaders include mind
control, ongoing confession and denigration, repeated threats of
sanctions, the discouragement of rational thought, perfectionistic
demands, the isolation and beating of children, and the obssessive
repression and punishment of their natural urges.
In the 1970s the Bruderhof was readmitted into the Old Order
Hutterian Brethren, with whom they have had an on-again, off-again
relationship. Currently, since 1992, they have once more been
- The KIT Newsletter started as a modest two-page sheet sent
to thirty or so names, but within four months it expanded to ten-
thousand-word issues mailed every month to over one hundred
addresses. As the volume of incoming mail grew, four Bruderhof
graduates and survivors volunteered to form a newsletter staff. By
mid-1990, the newsletter averaged 20,000 words per issue and was
mailed to over 350 addresses. The bulk of the copy consisted of
letters received from ex-Bruderhofers scattered all over the world.
Copies also began to be mailed to all six Bruderhof communities. By
January, 1995, we had more than doubled our circulation.
Clickto access a list of online
- Enthusiasm for a face-to-face meeting built among KIT
newsletter readers, so in August, 1990, the first KIT Conference was
held at a conference center in Littleton, Massachusetts. It proved
such a success that one year later KIT sponsored a second conference.
Eighty participants spent four days together, some traveling from as
far away as Australia, Holland and the United Kingdom. Family
members met who had not seen each other in thirty years. At the
workshops and full circle gatherings, everyone had a chance to tell
their personal stories. A list of individual concerns was drawn up to
mail to the Bruderhof.
Two conferences each were held in the summers of 1992 and
'93, in Massachusetts again and in England. "Euro-KIT" proved a
equally great success, generating various support groups, a
springtime weekend at the site of the old Wheathill Bruderhof and
various other get-togethers. The dual conference pattern will
- The Peregrine Foundation realizes a thirty-year-old dream
of its co-founder, Ramon Sender, who personally experienced the
trauma of expulsion from the Bruderhof. In 1962 he co-founded a
center for electronic music, The San Francisco Tape Music Center
(now The Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College where he
also received an M A in music composition). In 1967-69, he helped
found two communal ranches that functioned as sanctuaries for
homeless families, street people and draft resistors. The second
ranch was incorporated as The Ahimsa Church (Sender was the first
president) and provided a low-demand environment where
newcomers could build simple cabins, grow their own food and learn
ecological survival techniques.
Sadly, the county officials brought the experiment to an abrupt
halt. All the dwellings on both ranches were bulldozed and the
inhabitants were permanently enjoined from rebuilding.
In 1976, Sender founded Friends of Morningstar that published a
newsletter and promoted get-togethers for the ranch graduates. He
also edited The Morning Star Scrapbook and a collaborative history
of both ranches. In 1984 he received an NEA Creative Writing grant
to complete "A Death In Zamora," (University of New Mexico Press).
The book reconstructs the life story of his mother, Amparo Barayon,
murdered in 1936 by the Falangists during the Spanish Civil War.
Currently he devotes himself to writing, editing and publishing.
As of January, 1995, the KIT monthly newsletter and other
Peregrine Foundation Archive documents will be available on the
World Wide Web. The KIT Newsletter is also available free via 'snail'
mail, although we solicit donations to offset our costs.
Click to order a free sample
copy by snail mail.