The Bruderhof began in Germany in 1920 by Eberhard Arnold. They united in 1930 with the Hutterian Brethren in North America. The Hutterian Brethren practice community of goods, as first established in Moravia in 1529 and re-established by Jakob Hutter in 1533 according to the example of the first church in Jerusalem. “And all that believed were together, and had all things in common.” (Acts 2:44.)
Because of the persecution in National Socialist Germany, the Cotswald Bruderhof was established in England in 1936. The name “Society of Brothers” was adopted. The members were largely English and Germans living in harmony and giving a witness of peace. When World War II began in 1939, irrational suspicions grew in the surrounding English population and hostile actions, provoked by the war atmosphere took place. To prevent the division of the community by the possible internment of German members the Bruderhof’s members decided to emigrate. The British government gave its blessing to this but the Bruderhof were not permitted to emigrate to the U.S. and Canada so they went to Paraguay.
After the war, the Bruderhof communities felt a longing to start again in Germany. Several members of the group returned to begin communities in two areas. Members were also sent to North America beginning in 1949 to ask for financial help, mainly for the medical services for their Paraguayan neighbors. On these journeys they met friends who were seeking a life of brotherhood. This eventually led to the beginning of the Woodcrest Bruderhof near Rifton, New York. New people joining and the members moving from other Burderhofs made it necessary to start two new communities. One of these is New Meadow in Farmington, Pa.
Bruderhof communities place strong emphasis on love of God above everything else, and love your fellow human beings as yourself.