Heppenheim auf der Wiese is a large village near Worms in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, known for its wealth of fruit and grain. From Worms the Anabaptist movement came early to Heppenheim. Dr. Johann Marbach, the reformer appointed by the Palatine Elector Otto Heinrich, on his church inspection tour in the Palatinate disputed with an Anabaptist of Heppenheim who had migrated to Moravia and had returned with commissions from the Moravian Anabaptists (Hege, 88). Thus it is known that by the middle of the 16th century contacts had been established between the Moravian and Palatine Anabaptists. A Hans Greiker of Heppenheim participated in the Frankenthal disputation in 1571. In July 1588 the Reformed church council complained to the government authorities in Heidelberg, that 17 Anabaptists in Heppenheim were a burden to the pastor; for 40 years, in spite of all the mandates, they had remained in the community. In reports of 25 October and 9 November 1601, Titus Wittich of Dirmstein, the inspector, complained bitterly about the obstinacy of the Heppenheim Anabaptists. Particularly their spokesmen, Michael Reb, Hans Dix, and Philipp Schneider, caused him much trouble. In 1608 there were still some Anabaptists in the vicinity (Hege, 175). It is possible that remnants maintained themselves through the Thirty Years' War.
After the war new settlements were made by Swiss emigrants. According to the first Mennonite list of the Karlsruhe Generallandesarchiv in 1664, ten Swiss Mennonite families had settled here; among them are found the names Hirstein, Blum, and Schuhmacher. During the later war with France, which caused much suffering to the population here, nearly all of them emigrated, most of them to America. Apparently only one family remained; others came later. In 1737 Johann Krämer, and in October 1738, Jakob Joder were accepted as renters of the ducal estate of Schönborn; also the families of Wilhelm Gerber, Johann and Gerhard Becker, Fritz Braun, and Ulrich Stauffer are named in 1738. In 1749 were added Isaak Hiestand, Jakob Gram, Müller, and Christian Roth. The families of Gerhard Hüthwohl and Johann Lehmann followed. In a petition of 14 February 1769, the Mennonites of Heppenheim auf der Wiese, Obersülzen, and Flomersheim complained that in addition to their high "protection fee" they were also compelled to pay 3 florins per household for the use of water and pasture; the request for exemption was granted. On 23 December 1748, upon their request, they were given permission to purchase "a little place between the houses" in which to bury their dead, "without, however, calling it a churchyard or using the least ceremony, much less erecting gravestones."
For a long time Heppenheim was the center of the combined congregation of Heppenheim-Obersülzen-Gerolsheim, as well as for the Mennonites living in Dirmstein and Offstein. In the first three places services were held in rotation; in Obersülzen and Gerolsheim in suitable halls, in Heppenheim in a church building erected in 1783, services having previously been held in the home of the preacher Gerhard Hüthwohl. In the Ibersheim Resolutions of 1803 the combined congregation is listed as Heppenheim; Gerhard Hüthwohl signed the protocol as their preacher. Their elder was for a time Jakob Kaegy of the Bolanderhof (d. 9 November 1852). In 1853 Daniel Hirschler was chosen preacher and Christian Krehbiel elder (Menn. Bl., 1855: 39). In 1929 there were only a few Mennonites living in Heppenheim auf der Wiese; these belonged to the Obersülzen congregation. Four times a year the preacher of Monsheim held services in the church building at Heppenheim.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 285.
Hege, Christian. Die Täufer in der Kurpfalz: ein Beitrag zur badisch-pfälzischen Reformationsgeschichte. Frankfurt am Main: Kommissionsverlag von H. Minjon, 1908.
Müller, Ernst. Geschichte der Bernischen Täufer. Frauenfeld: Huber, 1895. Reprinted Nieuwkoop: B. de Graaf, 1972.
Cite This Article
Neff, Christian. "Heppenheim auf der Wiese (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 27 Jun 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Heppenheim_auf_der_Wiese_(Rheinland-Pfalz,_Germany)&oldid=101192.
Neff, Christian. (1956). Heppenheim auf der Wiese (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 June 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Heppenheim_auf_der_Wiese_(Rheinland-Pfalz,_Germany)&oldid=101192.
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