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Dirk Wessels (van Wesel), an Anabaptist martyr, was one of a group of twelve Mennonites, among whom was also his wife Janneken, who were taken prisoner at Deventer, Dutch province of Overijssel, during a hunt of "heretics" by Spanish soldiers. Some of this group forsook their faith for a while, but later repented, and all remained steadfast, though they were cruelly tortured. On 24 May they had a dispute with some monks. Between this day and 16 June 1571, Dirk was burned at the stake at Deventer together with Härmen de Wever and four women martyrs. Before he was put to death, he knelt for prayer, kissed Härmen and encouraged him by lifting up his hand to heaven; then he cheerfully went to the stake and was burned.

[edit] Bibliography

Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doops-gesinde of Weereloose Christenen, Die om 't getuygenis van Jesus haren Salighmaker geleden hebben ende gedood zijn van Christi tijd of tot desen tijd toe. Den Tweeden Druk. Amsterdam: Hieronymus Sweerts, 1685: Part II, 552 ff.

Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs' Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only upon Confession of Faith and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus Their Saviour . . . to the Year A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951: 855. Available online at:

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1919): 29, 35.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: I, 449.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1956

[edit] Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Dirk Wessels (d. 1571)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 31 May 2016.

APA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1956). Dirk Wessels (d. 1571). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 May 2016, from

Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 66. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.

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