Kuntersweg is a part of the ancient route from Italy to Germany in the scenic mountain valley of the Eisack in southern Tyrol (formerly Austrian, now Italian). The localities in or above this valley to be considered here are Atzwang in the jurisdiction of Ritten, and Vels and Blumau in the jurisdiction of Kastelruth.
In most of its copies the Hutterite Chronicle lists eight blood witnesses "on the Kuntersweg"; some say nine without specifying the localities. Martyrs' deaths are listed in the persecution period of 1529; but 1528 is probably correct. On 9 May 1528 Augustin Heurling informed the government that in Lower Atzwang several Anabaptists who had recanted and had assumed the prescribed penance were again obstinately holding to their old error. Four days later the government at Innsbruck ordered that they be prosecuted and appointed the Altenburg judge to take charge. Jurors were to be chosen from other localities, since many of those to be sentenced had a large, influential relationship in the local region. Proceedings against Margaret Koblin were to wait until after the birth of her child.
Among those sentenced at this time was Matthes Kerschbaumer. His wife Margaret, who had not asked for pardon at the proper time, had her sentence commuted on 3 June 1528 from burning at the stake to drowning. When the judge, Jakob Fuchs von Fuchsberg, twice postponed the execution because relatives and even clergy wanted to ask the government for clemency, he was reprimanded and ordered to execute the death sentence at once. The official of Spaur on the Ritten was given orders to rebuke the clergy for intervening in a "matter of faith."
It can be assumed that most of the executions occurred at Völs, in which village the Kopialbuch, causa Domini, preserved in the archives at Innsbruck (vol. II, fol. 226 f., 229, 232 f., 240 f., 320, 330, 370 f., 420, 518) mentions Anabaptists several times. In June 1528 Jörg Zaunried was operating in Völs, who baptized the local historiographer, Michel Kürschner, and appointed him head of the brotherhood; Kürschner was very active in the Adige. On 5 December 1528 Augustin Heurling and the judge of Bozen were charged with sentencing the Anabaptists imprisoned at Völs. Several days later the captain on the Adige set the date for calling the jurors on 18 December 1528. Several names are known: Magdalena, wife of Hans Bair; Elisabeth, sister of Wolfram; Lienhard Fundnatscher, and Hans Voll persisted in their faith and were put to death.
Fundnatscher's wife, Christoph Mesner, and Melchior Schneider repented and were pardoned to blows with a rod on the public square. It also happened that Melchior Schneider's brother offered to try to catch the "Anabaptist principals," Michel Kürschner, Matthias Waldner, and the wife of Gallbüchel, if he were pardoned. These people were very active in the region, and the government was employing all the means at its disposal to apprehend them. The Adige authorities agreed. Kürschner was imprisoned in Innsbruck and executed on 2 June 1529.
In April 1529 two young shepherds of Völs were arrested, but they were pardoned because they repented and because of their youth and lack of understanding. In 1532 several persons were seized at Völs on a suspicion of Anabaptism, but the outcome of the case is not known.
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Büücher der Wiedertääufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 586 f.
Loesche, Georg. "Tirolensia: Täufertum und Protestantismus." Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für die Geschichte des Protestantismus im ehemaligen und im neuen Österreich 47 (1926).
Loserth, Johann. Der Anabaptismus in Tirol. Vienna: F. Tempsky, 1892.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923.
Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Die äälteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüder: Ein Sprachdenkmal aus frühneuhochdeutscher Zeit Ithaca: Cayuga Press, 1943.
Cite This Article
Dedic, Paul. "Kuntersweg (Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1958. Web. 29 May 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kuntersweg_(Trentino-Alto_Adige,_Italy)&oldid=105813.
Dedic, Paul. (1958). Kuntersweg (Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 May 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kuntersweg_(Trentino-Alto_Adige,_Italy)&oldid=105813.
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