Inside Most Conservative Amish Home (Swartzentruber)

Sep 11, 2021 698.4K Views 2K Comments

The Swartzentruber Amish are the most conservative Amish and pretty much off-limits to the outside world and to the camera. Surprisingly, I was invited into a Swartzentruber couple’s home! Join me as we enter a secretive world that none of us have ever seen.

[horse trotting]
All right, guys
here’s the story.
When shooting videos
in different subcultures
there’s usually a wall you hit.
The more conservative you go
say with the Amish or the Hasidic Jews
the less likely you can
bring a camera into that space.
So
I’ve hit that wall here.
I’m with the
Yesterday I was at a house
and actually looking for a hat.
I have a hat right now.
This is a Dan Amish hat
but it’s sort of poking on my
forehead.
It’s a little tight so I decided to
have a custom-made hat made.
And there’s this Swartzentruber family
through a contact that said we can do it.
So we went to their home.
The woman measured my head.
Very, very nice woman
but I can’t bring a camera
into these environments.
I’m gonna get the hat
and
maybe I’ll have a story for you.
So the Swartzentrubers have no electricity.
That’s the traditionally-minded Amish.
So when people think of
Amish from the outside world
they usually are thinking
of Swartzentrubers.
Toilet outside…
I think they have toilet outside.
No electricity.
No phones.
Like I said guys, I would love
to bring the camera in here.
Their house is really cool inside.
Everything is
made of hardwood
a lot varnish on everything
all the furniture is hand-made.
And I’m going to have
to bring the camera down
out of respect.
Got a guard dog here.
So you made all these hats, yeah?
Yep.
Swartzentruber hat
made by the finest
hat crafts-lady in the world.
[giggles]
[giggles]
Fair to say?
Hey, it’s the only hat that’s
fit me in Holmes County.
I’ve tried on like 50 of them.
You’re full-time job is making hats?
I’m liking the Swartzentruber homes
all the hardwood.
You make all the furniture, right?
Yeah that’s where I live.
My wife and I moved
from California to Florida.
-Oh, I see.
Oh, it’s so hot, yeah.
Are you husband and wife?
Okay.
Do your parents live here too?
Your brother, okay.
Why are you moving?
Ah, your parents miss you?
-Yeah.
They want you back, huh?
Oh, you’re taking over their farm?
Oh, you’re taking over their farm?
-Yeah.
So that’s how it works, right?
So you grow up…
That’s great.
I love how your gardens,
everything you grow yourself
So you got a classic stove here.
and you made this?
This furniture piece?
Okay, can I open?
-Yeah.
-It’s really well varnished.
You guys sand this a lot and…
Yeah, sure.
Let’s check it out.
I’m keeping you off-camera though.
Yeah, okay.
Just so I know.
You don’t mind?
It’s okay?
It’s okay?
-No, not if…
If you’re completely off.
-Yeah.
So you got all your china in there.
You got great old hardwood floors.
That’s a family clock?
-Yep.
13 brothers and sisters?
-Yeah.
and she’s got…
Can I show it?
Yeah, if that’s cool.
All right, just making
sure not to get you in it.
-Yeah, it’s…
-This is very nice.
-Yeah.
-Okay, so you have a
desk to write.
-Yeah.
Classic chair
wood stove
gas lamps
So at night…
This is oil lamps?
So at night this is what you’re using?
And what is this?
Is it a sewing kit?
-Yeah.
-Sewing Machine, yeah.
Your birthday present?
Your wife bought it for
you or she made it for you?
She didn’t make it, okay.
She bought it for you?
-Yep.
This is your birthday this year?
-Yeah.
Everything is so solid here.
-Yeah.
You know, in the outside
world a lot times the wood
is hollow just to make it cheaper.
-Yeah.
You know, I’ve noticed
in this world everything is…
It’s all hardwood, huh?
Yeah.
Instead of a couch.
-Yeah.
So when you’re together
when an Englishman like me
meaning an outsider
comes in you speak English obviously
but when you’re together
you’re speaking Pennsylvania
Dutch all the time, right?
-Yeah, we do.
-So you don’t speak
English much during the day?
You know, here and there
we get an English word.
That you use in Pennsylvania Dutch?
What’s an example?
Now?
-Now.
Yeah.
Now is nah…
Some words are almost English.
Okay, how do I say…
let me think of something
I love the hat.
Ik leuk de houd?
-Yeah, Mm-hmm.
Ya, ik leuk de houd.
-Ya, ik leuk de houd.
I is ya, right?
Okay, [German]
You understand that?
-What?
[German]
It’s German
high German.
It means “It’s okay, it’s cool.”
[German]
Yeah, yeah.
[laughter]
It’s okay if I…
You’re sure?
-Yeah, just come in.
-Okay.
How many
How many kids do you guys want to have?
-Well it all depends.
Okay, gotcha.
Everything’s up to God, right?
-Yeah, I guess.
So yeah.
I don’t have any kids either.
I’ve been married one year.
Definitely late to the party
-Yeah.
-But we’ve been together four years.
That’s unbelievable
$250 for rent here.
It’s two levels, how many rooms?
And then no utilities.
Water you have on property?
-Yeah.
There’s a well out here.
-Okay, electricity not happening.
The gas I guess for the lamps.
That’s all the gas we use
is the washing machine.
For the lamps.
-So that’s normal, $250 rent?
-Yeah, that’s kinda…
-So this is a family and they’re
just renting out part of their home?
Which is like a separate home.
I don’t want to go to be honest.
It’s like…
It’s been very relaxing here.
-Yeah?
-Yeah.
You guys…
Look, everyone’s got their problems
doesn’t matter where in the world.
Everyone’s got problems
but you guys
you guys
don’t have some of the problems
of the outside world right now.
You don’t have any crime here, right?
I mean very little, right?
Doesn’t exist.
-Yeah.
You don’t watch the news or anything.
You’re completely removed.
-Yeah.
So you’re just completely
in your own world.
You got your family.
You got your land.
-Yep.
-Wow.
So you have no clue
what’s going on this last year
in the United States?
[laughter]
Good for you.
Yeah, I mean about this pandemic.
We found out.
-Oh, you know about the
pandemic ’cause that’s everywhere
but as far as the news
what’s going on in US cities
or what’s going on with politics.
All right, I gotta learn from you guys.
Wow.
That’s great.
Everyday, what do you guys talk about?
You talk about just
the nature, the seasons…
Just simple.
-Yeah, I guess it’s…
We don’t even,
You’re just used to what you’re used to.
That’s how life is, yeah.
Right now it’s nice, summer you know and
birds are chirping and everything and
fall begins.
The leaves start
change color
then winter, I like snow.
-Yep.
And well then we’re always
ready for spring, you know.
How do you get around in the
snow with the horses and carriages?
Okay, how’s that?
Oh, ’cause the wheels go right through?
-Yeah.
and the horses, they pull it.
-The Swartzentrubers have steel wheels
and the old order have steel wheels.
-Yeah.
Well, we are old order.
-You’re considered old order?
-Yeah.
-You’re not Swartzentruber?
We’re Swartzentruber but that is old order.
-Oh.
It’s so confusing.
-Old order is from Swartzentruber to
Tobe or whatever it’s…
Are Dan, are they old order?
They’re old order, yeah.
So Dan, Tobe, and
Swartzentruber are old order?
-Yeah.
And then new order…
-New order, that’s new order.
-Beachy?
-Yeah.
Beachy Amish are new order?
-I’m not quite sure
what that even is.
They’re almost like Mennonite I think.
-Yeah, I guess.
That’s probably what I…
They drive, yeah.
Okay.
I like your hats the best.
[laughter]
-I like that.
-You guys have the best style hats.
I gotta say.
Straightforward.
Is this the biggest size you’ve ever done?
Out of how many?
Oh my God.
It was fun to make for
the shape of my head?
‘Cause it’s more like an egg?
It’s not round?
It’s all about the stretcher, huh?
What time do you go to bed?
I like ’till 8:30 but not always.
8:30 to 9:00, maybe 9:30.
What time are you up?
3:30
3:30 in the morning.
-Off to work.
Two hours after I get up I’m at work.
-How long is your commute?
How long do you have to go?
-Half an hour.
So we just did a custom job
because I have no hair.
We put a little padding at the top.
Oh yeah.
That’s the fit
and it feels good.
It feels good, it fits good.
Thank you so much, you guys.
No people?
-No people.
Then we’re good, okay.
Thank you so much.
Best of luck.
-Thank you.
-Best of luck with everything.
-God bless.
-God bless.
And I hope to see you both once again.
I hope one day.
-God willing.
-Yeah.
We might be farming, okay.
Yeah, sure, sure.
Thank you so much.
And again, it’s okay if I just take
a (video) of the front of the house?
-Yeah.
-Wow.
What an experience.
What a cool couple.
Well guys, one of those
experiences in life that
You can’t put into words.
You can’t put into…
You can’t measure with money.
Such nice people.
I’m sort of like in awe at
the moment to be honest.
And this is what I love
about the United States.
It’s everything.
It’s so mixed up
and diverse.
And the deeper you go down the rabbit hole
like I’ve been doing this last year
It keeps expanding.
A true honor to be let
into that experience.
I think that’s about as close as I’m
gonna get to the Swartzentrubers.
At least with you.
That’s a little insight
a little
in roads to a world you probably
have never experienced.
All right, guys
until the next one.

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