Durlach, a borough of the city of Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany, where an Anabaptist congregation was formed in the first years of the movement, which succeeded in maintaining itself for decades in spite of the severest persecution. It belonged to the branch known as Philippites, after their preacher Philipp Plener, who worked as an evangelist in this region in 1527-1528. Severe persecution by Margrave Philip (d. 1533), who in a mandate of 15 December 1527 ordered the extermination of the Anabaptists, caused many to emigrate. Some must also have given their lives for their faith. The chronicles state that there were 12 executions in 1531.
Under Philip's successor Ernst (d. 1552), the progenitor of the Baden-Durlach line, the Anabaptists had more freedom. In the region of Jöhlingen two or three hundred sometimes met for worship. Some of the Anabaptists who had fled to Moravia a few years earlier wished to return to Durlach when persecution broke out in Moravia in 1535 and were seized en route at Passau on 15 September 1535. Among them was Hans Steubner of Durlach, who had been baptized by Konrad Lemlin and whose wife Anna had been baptized by Hans Kellner at Haidlitzen (probably Heidelsheim near Bruchsal). A later trial reveals that in 1543 Michael Jungmann was sheltered in Durlach, and Margarete, Bernhard Bierer's widow of Pfaffenheim, had moved there. In Königsbach, which at that time belonged to the Imperial Knights, there were also some Anabaptists, for whom Hans Schoch preached about 1555. The Anabaptists around Maulbronn also found asylum here; Eberhard von Venningen received Hans Braunsbacher of Rudersberg in 1574 when he no longer felt safe in Freudenstein.
Under Margrave Karl II, 1553-1577, who was only 24 when he assumed government, the Lutheran theologians called Jakob Andreae and Michael Diller from Württemberg and the Palatinate to introduce the Reformation. These men took a position at Worms in 1557 favoring ruthless extermination of the Anabaptists by means of dungeon and death, and very likely used their influence to root them out. The fact that from now on for over 150 years nothing more is heard about Anabaptists in the region leaves no doubt as to the success of their cruel effort.
Not until the beginning of the 18th century was the brotherhood tolerated in the country. Then the Mennonites exiled from Switzerland found refuge in the margravure of Baden-Durlach as well as the adjacent regions. Centers of the Durlach settlement were Hohenwettersbach and Königsbach. Toward the end of the 19th century several families moved into Durlach; other Mennonites were already living on leased farms near by, and together in 1901 they organized a congregation in Durlach, which the Mennonites in Karlsruhe as well as the Thomashof also joined. The census of December 1910 showed 81 Mennonites living in the Durlach area; of these, 43 lived in Durlach (including 7 on the Lamprechtshof and 8 on the Rittnerthof), 33 in Königsbach (5 on the Johannistalerhof), and 8 in Hohenwettersbach. In 1954 the congregation had 109 members and 22 unbaptized children. The elders were Chr. Schnebele, Joh. Hodel, Martin Funck, Heinrich Bachmann; preachers were Heinrich Schneider, Theo Glück, Rudolf Bietscher. Durlach is now incorporated in the municipality of Karlsruhe. Its population in the 1950s was 18,000.
Bossert, Gustav. Supplements of Staats-Anzeiger für Württemberg (1895): 271.
Bossert, Gustav. Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins (1905): 86.
Hege, Christian. Die Täufer in der Kurpfalz. Frankfurt, 1908: 60.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: I, 495 f.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer. Berlin, 1903. Reprinted Nieuwkoop: B. De Graaf, 1965: 30.
Cite This Article
Hege, Christian. "Durlach (Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 20 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Durlach_(Karlsruhe,_Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=121018.
Hege, Christian. (1956). Durlach (Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Durlach_(Karlsruhe,_Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=121018.
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