Hans Bürky (Burky), from Giebel near Langnau in the canton of Bern, Switzerland, was a preacher of the Mennonite church there. After long evading capture by the government, he was seized in July 1708 by treachery, and taken from his wife and 12 children to the castle of Trachselwald. Here he fell ill, and a few days later was placed in solitary confinement in a dungeon of the tower in Bern for 17 weeks. Then he was transferred to another prison known as the "Insel," and from there was taken to the poorhouse, where he had to work "at the wool" for 35 weeks from 6:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night. On 18 March 1710 he was put on a ship with 56 other Mennonites for deportation to America, but they were released in Nijmegen, Holland. With most of the group he went to Kleve, where they were kindly received and lodged by the Mennonites. They remained here over Sunday; perhaps Bürky conducted the church service (Müller, 272). With Benedikt Brechbill and Melchior Zahler he was invited to Amsterdam by the Mennonites there; here they reported conditions in their Swiss home before the city council and in many conferences. But homesickness soon drew him back to Switzerland to his family in disregard of all requests and warnings. Here he was again captured. His children and the servant Uli Gerber violently resisted his arrest and were consequently sharply punished. After a short imprisonment Hans Bürky was again placed on the Emmentaler, an emigrant boat, for deportation to Holland on 13 July 1711. He was made one of three supervisors on the boat. In Basel he refused to proceed; only the threat of Runkel, the man in charge, to take him in chains induced him to stay; but he escaped at Breisach. It is not known whether he returned to his family. In the Amish division he seems to have played an important role, but no details are known. The name Bürky is common among the Mennonites of the Palatinate and America.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 303.
Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: v. I, Nos. 1262 f., 1302, 1341.
Müller, Ernst. Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer. Frauenfeld: Huber, 1895. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. de Graaf, 1972.
Cite This Article
Neff, Christian. "Bürky, Hans (17th/18th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 19 Sep 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=B%C3%BCrky,_Hans_(17th/18th_century)&oldid=55281.
Neff, Christian. (1953). Bürky, Hans (17th/18th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 September 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=B%C3%BCrky,_Hans_(17th/18th_century)&oldid=55281.
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