Hohenlohe is a principality (32 sq. mi. or 82.9 sq. km.) in northeast Württemberg, Germany, to which it has belonged since the beginning of the 19th century. In 1555 it was divided between the brothers Ludwig Kasimir and Eberhard into the gravures of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein and Hohenlohe-Waldenburg. Whereas nothing is heard of the stirrings of the Reformation in the district until 1540, and it was not actually instituted there until 1556, there are indications that as early as 1530 the Anabaptist movement from Heilbronn had acquired some influence in the town of Künzelsau and on the nearby farms and hamlets. The first official mention of them occurs in an order of Count Albrecht to all officials, 25 May 1533, to warn their subjects against receiving into their homes Anabaptists expelled from other places, against tolerating any meetings or "corner sermons," providing them with food and drink, or listening to their sermons (Wibel, 299 ff.). Magistrate Bonifatius Wernizer of Kirchberg, which had been pawned to Dinkelsbühl, Hall, and Rothenburg, reported on 17 March 1534, to the mayor and council of Rothenburg, after an inquiry in Hall and Dinkelsbühl, that many Anabaptists had crossed through the land in groups of 20 or 30 with wagons and carts, women and children, without being molested. They were permitted to eat, for they paid. Their goal was Moravia, where 5,000 or more were together, having been expelled by the bishop of Gran, which was, of course, an error. Anabaptists could be identified in that they did not give the customary greetings, or wish one a good morning or a good evening (state archives of Nürnberg, Kirchberger Akten II).
The next bit of information is given by an inquiry of Count Albrecht to an unnamed jurist in Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, 6 April 1534. He wrote that wicked persons of the new sect (Anabaptists) were breaking into the area, requesting a night's lodging of the poor people on farms and in the villages. If it was granted, they were orderly and humble; they read books, taught that evil should be abstained from, and misled their hearers under the guise of the teaching of these treacherous preachers that the people should leave the church and call the church a temple of idols; for the temple of God was in the heart. They rejected the Mass, considered infant baptism invalid; some refused to swear an oath and use weapons. Some of the people moved away with wife, child, and servants, leaving much food behind, which the barons then claimed as being forfeit; the count tells of an instance of this and requests the lawyer's speedy judgment (Nürnberg Staatsarchiv, Konsistorialakten I). The reply is not known. The case in point must have referred to the farm and other goods of Georg Lang of Etzlenweiler, which Count George confiscated, but which his brother Johann induced him to give to Lang's son-in-law, Balthasar Weiss, in Ingelfingen (Wibel, I).
In 1534 a number of Anabaptists were found in Künzelsau and punished by the authorities; they were to abandon their faith and pay a pledge of 100 florins. They left Künzelsau and did not request readmission until 1539. After numerous requests by the nobility and the community they were admitted on the following conditions: (1) on a day previously announced, at a signal given by the pastor, they must acknowledge their error before all the people and ask forgiveness; (2) they must adhere to Christian order, as it was observed in Künzelsau; (3) they must hold no secret meetings or prayers, and adhere to no Anabaptist sect; (4) in their life and conduct they must avoid any suggestion that they were still spotted with this error (Weikersheim Archives, Künzelsauer Ganerben Verträge).
In 1535 King Ferdinand expelled the Anabaptists from Moravia. They tried to return to their homes or to enter Württemberg, which had recently become Protestant, but were intercepted in three groups in Passau. Almost all of them were natives of the Künzelsau region, most of them from small farms and hamlets. Most of them had been baptized, en route to Moravia, in Donauwörth by Adam Schlegel, and some in Auspitz by Philip Plener or Blasius Kuhn. There they had settled in compact groups. In Passau an attempt was made to make them recant, but all clung to their convictions. Only Hans Höfner and his wife, of Reublingen, recanted at the end of 1540 or in early 1541 and were released.
At the church inspection of 1571 it was stated that the farmer of the Dörrhof had with his wife gone to the Anabaptists five years previously, as had also some others from Jungholzhausen. Anabaptists continued to cross the country, stopping in Nesselbach, where the innkeeper's wife entered into conversation with them, thus arousing the suspicion that she was about to go with them. After her death the innkeeper was ordered to receive the Anabaptists only to give them food or a night's lodging, but not to discuss their doctrine with them. In Ingelfingen the carpenter Brentz had been with the Anabaptists a while, but had returned without having gone to their communion.
There is no further information on the Anabaptists in Hohenlohe.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 336 f.
Wibel, J. C. Hohenlohische Kirchen- und Reformations-Historie, 4 vols. Ansbach, 1752-1754: 299 ff; I, 749.
|Author(s)||Gustav, Sr Bossert|
Cite This Article
Bossert, Gustav, Sr. "Hohenlohe (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 22 Feb 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hohenlohe_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=95286.
Bossert, Gustav, Sr. (1956). Hohenlohe (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 February 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hohenlohe_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=95286.
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