Petersberg, a castle and village in Tyrol, Austria, in the Inn Valley between Imst and Stams, is frequently mentioned in the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement. On 23 December 1527, the government issued to the judge Hans Erlbacher the commission to search for the refugee Anabaptist "seducers" who had fled from southern Tyrol to this locality. On 2 April 1528, he was ordered to look for several Anabaptists "who are said to have secretly gone to the jurisdiction of St. Petersberg." The clerk of Innsbruck, Erasmus Oberhauser, was ordered on 4 April to seize Peter Beck and his one-eyed sister who had fled from Hall on the Inn, and Lorenz Aufleger, who were secretly preaching to the people in Hertenberg, Stams, and Petersberg. On 7 April instructions were issued to Erlbacher to inquire about the persons baptized by Jörg Fasser and deal with them according to the articles of Kitzbühel, burn down the houses in which communion and meetings of this misleading sect were held unless other houses would be endangered by the fire, and in that case to confiscate them, impress upon the ferryman on the Inn to transfer no suspicious persons.
In June the government commanded the baroness of Frundsberg to remove from his post the above clerk because he was a renegade and married Lutheran priest who tolerated the Anabaptists; in July the orders were given to remove him within two months. But he was still there in 1529, and on 19 March even received government orders to cross-examine a woman named Venklehnerin, who was being held in Hertenberg, and especially to find out where and by whom she had been baptized. Meanwhile the clerk had himself arrested several Anabaptists, and was ordered by the Innsbruck authorities on 19 May 1529, to question them closely. In autumn a new clerk is found in Petersberg, Ulrich Runger, who received a directive on 7 September to release the penitent and pregnant Anabaptist Susanna Kobel, to promise her fugitive relatives freedom if they would present themselves penitently at the prison.
Several Anabaptists from the Oetztal were imprisoned in Petersberg, and cross-examined by the clerk on 26 and 27 October 1529. The government ordered him on 9 November to question several - like Porst and Kneussl - on several points, on the rack if necessary. An order dated 19 November reveals that seven men were on trial, who seemed inclined to recant. A fugitive Anabaptist, who however returned penitently, Hans Gabel, was to be pardoned in accord with the order of 24 November if he would betray where the others who had escaped with him had gone.
On 7 and 13 December instructions were issued by Innsbruck to pardon Jörg Köberl and Andre Kolb on certain conditions after a recent thorough investigation in which they expressed penitence, which should be tested by a priest. In April 1530 there were still some Anabaptists in prison in Petersberg, whom the government ordered the clerk on 26 April to examine on the rack. On 3 May the command came to bring to the criminal court Mayerl-Fröner (see Hans Mayrl) as a "leader and baptizer of this sect," and others who had abused their pardon.
On 4 June the further order was issued by Innsbruck that in case Fröner repented before his execution he should be given the sacrament and his body buried in consecrated earth. This indicates that the two executions reported in the chronicles for 1529 in Petersberg probably took place in 1530. In May 1531 there were again some Anabaptists on trial, likewise in 1537 and 1544. In 1545 several persons went to Moravia from Petersberg.
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: III, 354 ff.
Kopialbuch Causa Domini in the Innsbruck National archives, II, fol. 106, 204, 213, 214, 239, 248, 250, 355, 410, 533, 536, 537, 548, 553; III, fol. 89, 91, 92, 105, 211.
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 älteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüder: Ein Sprachdenkmal aus frühneuhochdeutscher Zeit. Ithaca: Cayuga Press, 1943.
Cite This Article
Dedic, Paul. "Petersberg (Tyrol, Austria)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 11 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Petersberg_(Tyrol,_Austria)&oldid=83839.
Dedic, Paul. (1959). Petersberg (Tyrol, Austria). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Petersberg_(Tyrol,_Austria)&oldid=83839.
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