Salomon Böger, a Hutterite miller of Moravia (d. 1610), who distinguished himself by his unusual activities to redeem Hutterite women dragged away by the Turks during a very bloody war raid in 1605. His story is to be found in a special Hutterite codex (yet unpublished in 1953) which contains 24 letters of Böger from his wanderings through Turkish Hungary and Turkey proper (1607-1610) sent home to his congregation in Moravia. It is an unusual story of great struggle and tragedy, the earliest record of Anabaptist relief work as far as is known. For 13 years (1593-1606) a savage war raged between Turkey and the Holy Roman Empire along a frontier roughly identical with that between Czechoslovakia and Austria. The Hutterite colonies in Southern Moravia suffered severely, particularly because of their practiced nonresistance (Geschicht-Buch, 482-93). Böger felt urged to undertake whatever was possible to rescue not only his own wife and child but any prisoner who might have survived the assault. The community as such gave him little help, being in great distress itself. Böger spent a total of 32 months in Turkish territory (i.e., Hungary, Serbia, and Turkey proper), during which time he was able to redeem not more than six sisters and two brothers. He found no trace of his wife, although he went as far as Constantinople and even beyond (Nicea). A Hutterite physician of Nikolsburg, Balthasar Goller, who accompanied the special imperial ambassador to the Sublime Porte (1608-1609), had taken Böger along on this long and difficult trip, but lack of money and influence prevented any major success. The letters reveal all the hardship and anxiety of the man on his many trips up and down along the Danube. Finally in 1610 Colonel Kollonitsch, an outstanding (Calvinistic) nobleman and marshal, on whose estate in Slovakia Hutterite colonies were permitted to flourish, gave Böger a Turkish prisoner of war to be taken along as an exchange for any Hutterite to be discovered. From this last trip in 1610 Böger never returned; people at home surmised that he was slain by the Turk, who thus ransomed himself. The codex closes with the melancholy remark, "Now also he will have found his rest on behalf of his wife." The codex contains much valuable information concerning conditions inside Turkey, as well as a vivid picture of the plight of the colonies in Moravia and their spirit. (See Bocskay.)
Friedmann, Robert. "Adventures of an Anabaptist in Turkey, 1607-1610." Mennonite Quarterly Review 17 (1943): 73-86, with further bibliographical references. A transcript of the codex is to be found in the Mennonite Historical Library (Goshen, IN).
Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923.
Cite This Article
Friedmann, Robert. "Böger, Salomon (d. 1610)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 15 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=B%C3%B6ger,_Salomon_(d._1610)&oldid=75821.
Friedmann, Robert. (1953). Böger, Salomon (d. 1610). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=B%C3%B6ger,_Salomon_(d._1610)&oldid=75821.
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