Paul Lenz was one of the judges in Tyrol, Austria who in 1561 had to pronounce sentence against Hans Mändl, Eustachius Kotter, and Jorg Rack. He was a native of Gotzens and as a representative of the Sonnenburg district had been called with three others from this diocese to Innsbruck. The jurors refused the request of the government to be put under oath again and because it was a religious matter put the responsibility for the trial on the spiritual authorities, refusing to have anything to do with it. In spite of all the pressure they produced a written "excuse."
In order to find the perpetrators of this refusal, which was considered disobedience, the Innsbruck regents required everyone to declare whether he would or would not obey the will of the prince and his mandates. All the jurors yielded except Lenz and two others. The emperor favored lenience, and suggested that the trial be dropped and the three prisoners sent to the galleys. But the local government of Tyrol disagreed and begged him to act in accord with the mandates; they finally carried out the decisions against the Anabaptists passed in Speyer in 1529. Under the threat of removal from office, imprisonment, and loss of citizenship, Lenz and the two others yielded and pronounced the death sentence. Though they were not punished, they were put under police supervision.
The valiant martyrdom of the three executed Anabaptists moved Lenz to join the Anabaptists himself and win others in Gotzens. When the magistrate at the request of the government began to investigate this matter, Lenz had already gone to Moravia; his estate was confiscated.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 638.
Loserth, Johann. Der Anabaptismus in Tirol. Vienna: F. Tempsky, 1892: 119-210
Cite This Article
Dedic, Paul. "Lenz, Paul (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 19 Apr 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lenz,_Paul_(16th_century)&oldid=83124.
Dedic, Paul. (1957). Lenz, Paul (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 April 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lenz,_Paul_(16th_century)&oldid=83124.
Herald Press website.
©1996-2014 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.