Hans Donner was an Anabaptist martyr of Austria. All that is known of him is the little information concerning his death in the chronicles of the Hutterites. From the phrase "aus Wels," it is assumed that he was probably in contact with the older group of Upper Austrian Anabaptists. In the summer of 1535 he offered comfort to his brother-in-faith Wilhelm Griesbacher, who was about to be executed. From Upper Austria he went to Carinthia and worked in St. Veit, where active life was evident in connection with church reform. It is known that "heretical" books were offered for sale here. On 20 October 1537 Hans Knyssler, the district clerk, reported to King Ferdinand that he had confiscated the wares of some booksellers and had the sellers put in chains. Perhaps this was the occasion of Donner's arrest, for the records say that "he lay in prison on Wednesday after Christmas of 1537, with his brother Hans Seydel of Murau. "Both were sentenced to death and beheaded. From prison Donner wrote a moving letter to his "dearly beloved brethren and sisters." He and his companion did not forsake the truth "as long as their eyes were open and breath was in their nostrils." Two other manuscripts from his hand have been preserved. Donner is the author of the hymn, "Ich dank dir, lieber Herr, mein Gott, in dieser Not, du kannst uns helfen," printed in Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder.
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Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 462.
Die Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder: Gesangbuch darinnen viel und mancherlei schöne Betrachtungen, Lehren, Vermahnungen, Lobgesänge und Glaubensbekenntnisse, von vielen Liebhabern Gottes gedichtet und aus vielen Geschichten und Historien der heiligen Schrift zusammengetragen, allen frommen Liebhabern Gottes sehr nützlich zu singen und zu lesen. Scottdale, Pa.: Mennonitisches Verlagshaus, 1914: 83.
Loserth, Johann. "The Anabaptists in Carinthia." Mennonite Quarterly Review 21 (1947): 238.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer : ein Beitrag zur deutschen und niederländischen Litteratur- und Kirchengeschichte. Berlin: B. Behr, 1903: 172.
 Cite This Article
Loserth, Johann. "Donner, Hans (d. ca. 1538)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 29 Nov 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Donner,_Hans_(d._ca._1538)&oldid=119685.
Loserth, Johann. (1956). Donner, Hans (d. ca. 1538). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Donner,_Hans_(d._ca._1538)&oldid=119685.
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