Baiertal, a village in the district of Heidelberg in Baden (Germany), where there was a Mennonite congregation until the beginning of the 20th century. There is evidence of the existence of an Anabaptist congregation here in the Reformation period, in which Philip Weber was very active and successful; he had baptized some residents of Nussloch and Leimen, several of whom were summoned for trial on 1 May 1529. The record of the trial, the oldest official account of an Anabaptist trial in the Palatinate, is located in the Karlsruhe state archives. The statements of the captives about the doctrines of their preachers and their Christian view of life are in sharpest contradiction to the slanderous assertions of their opponents. Of the prisoners only Margarete Wilhelm of Nussloch recanted; the others, Hans Wilhelm, Damian Nikot, and Philip Rupp of Nussloch, as well as Henner Schuhmacher of Leimen, would not forsake their faith, and were probably executed on the basis of the Edict of Speyer, which had been issued a week before the trial, as well as the Palatine mandate of 5 March 1528. No records are left of the sentence. In the later years too the priests had little success in their attempts at conversion; in 1589 these attempts were ruined by the objectionable conduct of the members of the state church, with whom the Anabaptists did not associate. Because of continued oppression most Anabaptists preferred to emigrate to Moravia (Hege, 60-62 and 146-147).
After the Thirty Years' War a new congregation was formed, whose members had come from Switzerland. Their first center was on the Hohenhardterhof; this is the name used for the congregation in a record of 1737 (Müller, Berner Täufer, 210; here erroneously called "hohen Eckerhof"). Later it was changed to Schatthausen near Wiesloch (Starck). A register of 1733 noted that the congregation was now called Schatthausen and Baierthal (Hunzinger, 212). The congregation, which after 1840 was called Baiertal, later suffered a sharp decline because of emigration and mixed marriages; in 1867 the church was sold and the proceeds used to cover the cost of printing the Leitfaden zum Gebrauch bei gottes dienstlichen Handlungen für die Aeltesten und Prediger der Gesamt-Mennoniten-Gemeinde in Baden (see Ministers' Manuals). After the death of Christian Bachmann (1877) services were conducted by preachers from the neighboring churches. Attendance was, however, so small that services were temporarily suspended in 1879. In 1902 the church became extinct.
Hege, Christian. Die Täufer in der Kurpfalz: ein Beitrag zur badisch-pfälzischen Reformationsgeschichte. Frankfurt am Main : Kommissionsverlag von H. Minjon, 1908.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 111.
Hunzinger, Abraham. Das Religions-, Kirchen- und Schulwesen der Mennoniten oder Taufgesinnten : wahr und unpartheilich dargestellt und mit besonderen Betrachtungen über einige Dogmen, und mit Verbesserungs-Vorschlägen versehen. Speyer : J.C. Kolb, 1830.
Müller, Ernst. Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer. Frauenfeld: Huber, 1895. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. de Graaf, 1972.
Starck, Johann August. Geschichte der Taufe und Taufgesinnten. Leipzig : Bey Caspar Fritsch, 1789.
Cite This Article
Hege, Christian. "Baiertal (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 30 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Baiertal_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=54160.
Hege, Christian. (1955). Baiertal (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Baiertal_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=54160.
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