Arbeiter, Hans (16th century)

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Hans Arbeiter, an elder of the Hutterian Brethren, had previously been an elder of the Swiss Brethren at Aachen, Worms, and Kreuznach. In 1557, through the work of Hans Schmidt, he joined the Hutterites, emigrated to Moravia, and was chosen to the ministry in 1562. In 1568 he was sent as a missionary with Heinrich Schuster in to the Rhenish Palatinate. In the bishopric of Speyer, at Hainbach, he was seized on 18 July 1568 and taken to Kirrweiler Castle, where he lay more than a half year, and several times disputed with the cathedral preacher, Dr. Lamprecht. The content of these conversations Arbeiter collected in his Confession or Rechenschaft. The manuscript has been preserved; the Hutterian Brethren of Frankfort, South Dakota, had a copy in the 1950s; another is located in the Pressburg Cathedral library. The imprisonment of Hans Arbeiter was used by Hans Gärber as the subject of three songs: "Wollen singen zu dieser Frist" (50 stanzas), "Aber wollen wir heben an" (50 stanzas), "Wollt ihr nun weiter singen" (60 stanzas). They are referred to in the hymn books of the Hutterian Brethren as "beautiful songs," though as Beck remarks, they are without a "just claim to this epithet." Before joining the Hutterian Brethren Arbeiter had already been imprisoned at Hainbach; thus his imprisonment in 1568 with Schuster was his second.


Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967.

Friedmann, Robert. "Die Briefe der österreich Täufer."Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte (1929): 26 f.

Hege, Christian. Die Täufer in der Kurpfalz: ein Beitrag zur badisch-pfälzischen Reformationsgeschichte. Frankfurt: Kommissionsverlag von H. Minjon, 1908.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 80.

Wolkan, Rudolf. Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer. Berlin, 1903. Reprinted Nieuwkoop: B. De Graaf, 1965.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hege, Christian. "Arbeiter, Hans (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 24 May 2018.,_Hans_(16th_century)&oldid=74899.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1953). Arbeiter, Hans (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2018, from,_Hans_(16th_century)&oldid=74899.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 145-146. All rights reserved.

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