Historiography: North Germany including West and East Prussia, and Poland
The Mennonites of Germany in general were later in joining scholars in Mennonite research than the Dutch. Gerrit Roosen was an exception when he published his Unschuld und Gegen-Bericht der Evangelischen Tauffgesinnten Christen . . . (1702). Little was written or published along these lines by German Mennonites until the middle of the 19th century when, under the influence of their Dutch brethren and scholars like Ludwig Keller, they too began to investigate phases of their history and principles and publish articles and books. The Mennonites of northern Germany were the first to do work along these lines. B. C. Roosen wrote Geschichte der Mennoniten-Gemeinde in Hamburg und Altona (2 vols., 1886-1887) and did also some genealogical research. The Familien-Chronik of the van der Smissens (1875) was published, and monographs and articles dealing with various phases of the Mennonites in the Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg area appeared in a number of periodicals. Most significant was Robert Dollinger's Geschichte der Mennoniten in Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, und Lübeck (1930), which contains a fairly good bibliography dealing with this area. Heinz Münte presented Das Altonaer Handlungshaus van der Smissen 1682-1824 (1932) with a bibliography on the subject. Wanda Oesau wrote Hamburgs Grönlandfahrer auf Walfischfang und Robbenschlag vom 17.-19. Jahrhundert (1955). Scattered information about the Mennonites can be found in all major writings dealing with the economic life of the cities of Altona and Hamburg, such as A. Lichtwark's Das Bildnis in Hamburg (2 vols., 1898) and P. Th. Hoffmann's Neues Altona I (1929) 217 ff.
Some of the outstanding writings on the Anabaptists and Mennonites of East Friesland are J. P. Müller, Die Mennoniten in Ostfriesland I (1887); II (Jahrbuch IV, Emden); C. A. Cornelius, Der Anteil Ostfrieslands an der Reformation bis zum Jahr 1535 (1852); E. Kochs, "Die Anfänge der ostfriesischen Reformation" I and II, in Jahrbuch der Geschichte für bildlicher Kunst und vaterlicher Altertümer zu Emden XIX, 109-273 and XX, 1-125; H. Reimers, Die Gestaltung der Reformation in Ostfriesland (1917); J. ten Doornkaat Koolman, Kurze Mitteilungen aus der Geschichte der Mennoniten-Gemeinde in Ostfriesland ... und der Norder Gemeinde ... (1903); J. ten Doornkaat Koolman, Mitteilungen aus der Geschichte der Mennoniten-Gemeinde zu Norden im 19. Jahrhundert (1904); Blaupot ten Cate, Groningen, Overijssel en Oost-Friesland I and II (1842). Abraham Fast wrote Die Kulturleistungen der Mennoniten in Ostfriesland und Münsterland (1947).
The Mennonites of the Lower Rhine were first extensively treated by Karl Rembert in Die "Wiedertäufer" im Herzogtum Jülich (1899). The Mennonites of Krefeld were featured in Beiträge zur Geschichte Rheinischer Mennoniten (1939). W. I. Hull treated a phase of the Krefeld Mennonite Church in his William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Migration to Pennsylvania (Swarthmore College, 1935). A related study is Friedrich Nieper's Die ersten deutschen Auswanderer von Krefeld nach Pennsylvanien (1940). The economic significance of the Krefeld Mennonites was investigated by Gerhard von Beckerath in Die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung der Krefelder Mennoniten . . . (1951). The Mennonite textile manufacturers of Gronau were represented in V. Muthesius, 100 Jahre M. van Delden & Co. (1954), and Das Geschlecht Van Delden (1954).
In addition to what has been said about the Anabaptism of Münster and Westphalia in the Dutch section of the historiography it should be stated that P. Bahlmann compiled a bibliography on this subject which was published under the title, "Die Wiedertäufer zu Münster" (Zeitschrift für vaterlandische Geschichte und Altertums-Kunde, 1893; Part I, pp. 119-174). Outstanding are the source collections and writings on the Münsterites by J. Niesert, C. A. Cornelius, L. Keller, Kl. Löffler. Fiction writers and artists continue to deal with this subject. Among the dissertations dealing with the belles-lettres on this subject should be mentioned: W. Rauch, Johann van Leyden, der König von Zion, in der Dichtung (1912) and H. Hermsen, Die Wiedertäufer zu Münster in der deutschen Dichtung (1913). A more recent treatment of the Reformation of Westphalia, including the Anabaptists, was Fr. Brune, Der Kampf um eine evangelische Kirche im Münsterland 1520-1802 (1953), which contains a valuable bibliography.
The Mennonites of the Vistula area were originally featured mostly by non-Mennonites in books like W. Crichton's Zur Geschichte der Mennoniten (Königsberg, 1786), Reiswitz and Wadzeck's Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Mennoniten-Gemeinden . . . (2 vols., 1821, 1829), and Max Schön's Das Mennonitentum in Westpreussen (Berlin, 1886). However, through the Mennonitische Blätter, started by Jacob Mannhardt in Danzig in 1853, which carried many articles pertaining to the Mennonites, and the historian Wilhelm Mannhardt, who wrote the book, Die Wehrfreiheit der Altpreussischen Mennoniten (1863), interest in their own history was created among the Mennonites of Prussia. The first fruit was the brief Kurzgefasste Geschichte der Elbinger Mennoniten-Gemeinde (1883). Bruno Schuhmacher (Niederländische Ansiedlungen . . . , 1903) and Felicia Szper (Nederlandsche nederzettingen . . . , 1913) investigated the Dutch Mennonite settlements in Prussia, which subject is included also in B. H. Unruh's Die niederländisch-niederdeutschen Hintergründe der Mennonitischen Ostwanderungen . . . (1955). Walter W. Mitzka made a linguistic study, Die Sprache der deutschen Mennoniten (1931?). H. G. Mannhardt did the history of the Danzig Mennonites, Die Danziger Mennonitengemeinde (1919). Horst Penner made a study of settlements along the Vistula, Ansiedlung mennonitischer Niederländer im Weichselmündungsgebiet von der Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts bis zum Beginn der preussischen Zeit (see also Mennonite Quarterly Review XXI, October 1949), and Gustav Reimer presented Die Familiennamen der westpreussischen Mennoniten, both of which appeared as No. 3 of Schriftenreihe des Mennonitischen Geschichtsvereins (1940). Herbert Wiebe's Das Siedlungswerk niederländischen Mennoniten im Weichseltal . . . was published in 1952. H. Nottarp wrote Die Mennoniten in den Marienburger Werdern (1929) and L. Stobbe published Montau-Gruppe . . . (1918). Horst Penner gives the best overall summary in "Anabaptists and Mennonites of East Prussia," Mennonite Quarterly Review XXII (1948): 212-225 and in his book, Weltweite Bruderschaft (1955). William T. Schreiber's booklet, The Fate of the Prussian Mennonites, summarizes the history up to 1955. Numerous articles on the Prussian Mennonites have appeared in Mennonitische Blätter, Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter, Christlicher Gemeinde-Kalender, and Mennonite Life.
Poland is one of the most neglected areas of research so far as the Mennonites are concerned. Walter Kuhn wrote some articles in Deutsche Blätter in Polen (Posen, 1928) and in Mennonite Life (April 1953). A summary of his research was presented in "Deutsche Täufersiedlungen im westukrainischen Räume" (Zeitschrift für Ostforschung IV, 1955, 481-505). The Mennonitische Blätter and the Mennonitisches Gemeindeblatt of the Galician Mennonites carried articles pertaining to this group. P. Bachmann presented a complete history of the Galician Mennonites from 1784 to 1934 in Mennoniten in Kleinpolen (Lemberg, 1934) with numerous genealogies. The Swiss Mennonites of Volhynia have been treated in a number of booklets written by descendants in America in a commemorative style. A complete scholarly presentation is still not available. The Low-German Mennonite settlements and congregations of Poland proper (Michalin, Deutsch-Wymysle, Deutsch-Kasun, etc.) have occasionally been dealt with in articles or in family and congregational histories. No complete and thorough study is available.
Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius. "Historiography: North Germany including West and East Prussia, and Poland." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 19 Feb 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Historiography:_North_Germany_including_West_and_East_Prussia,_and_Poland&oldid=82092.
Krahn, Cornelius. (1956). Historiography: North Germany including West and East Prussia, and Poland. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 February 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Historiography:_North_Germany_including_West_and_East_Prussia,_and_Poland&oldid=82092.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 764-765. All rights reserved.
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