This article traces the movement of thousands of Mennonite refugees who fled Russia for Germany in 1929, and then departed Germany for South America in 1930. It does so by examining the motives of a transnational collection of state and nonstate actors that were helpful or hostile to them. Although the Soviet, German, and Canadian governments, the German press, and aid agencies in Germany and North America cast the situation as a refugee "problem," it gave each entity a valuable opportunity to assign broader meanings to the refugees, advance a range of agendas, and define their own constituencies along the lines of class, nationality, or religion.