Pforzheim, city and district in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Because of its location on the sometimes indefinite borders of the margraviate of Baden, the Palatinate, the bishopric of Speyer, and the duchy of Württemberg, the region of Pforzheim was a favorable location for the Anabaptists, since they were easily able to escape the hostile measures of one state by moving into another. In the early days of the movement the Anabaptists must have been rather numerous in the city, for the pastor of the city church based his petition for the introduction of a German baptismal ritual in 1532 upon the Anabaptist opposition. ("The Anabaptists may well declare our baptism invalid, since nobody understands it.") For the following period there is no information about the presence of Anabaptists in Pforzheim besides the two executions at Pforzheim mentioned in the Hutterite Chronicles and the statement that Georg Rapp, who had immigrated to Moravia in the 1540s, returned to his native town fifteen years later. The apparent decline in numbers may be due to the fact that in 1535 the city became the residence of the lower margraviate and was consequently too closely supervised by the central authorities to permit the growth of separatist groups. So much the more obstinately they maintained themselves in several communities of the Pforzheim district, as in Bilfingen, Dürrn, Ersingen, Eutingen, Hohenwart, Kieselbronn, Königsbach, Niesern, Nussbaum, and Oeschelbronn. In Bauschlott, according to the Hutterite Chronicles, an Anabaptist by the name of Georg Baumann was executed about 1529. From most of these towns, especially from Oeschelbronn, there are records of the immigration of Anabaptists to Moravia in the 1570s. As late as 1592, the pastor of Oeschelbronn complained about the great number of Anabaptists who assembled in the forests and fields at night for their secret preaching services. As in the rest of the regions of the Upper Rhine, the congregations, reduced by emigration, exile, and death, disappeared in the storms of the Thirty Years' War. Not until the 18th century is there record of the presence of Mennonite immigrants, who settled on the large estates as renters. In 1755 Pforzheim reported to the authorities of the margraviate that there had been no Anabaptists in the area except on the leased estates of Katharinental (Katharinentalerhof, Göbrichen community) and Karlshausen (Karlshäuserhof, community of Dürrn). The Mennonite lessees Jakob Kurz at Katharinental and Claus Brennemann at Karlshausen in 1763 received permission to live there the remainder of their lives when the authorities of the margraviate took over the management of its estates. In the 1950s the Mennonites living in Pforzheim belonged to the congregation of Wössingen, located in the district of Karlsruhe.
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer 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. III, 363.
Krebs, Manfred. Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer. IV. Band, Baden and Pfalz. Gütersloh: C. Bertelsmann, 1951.
Records of the archive of Baden at Karlsruhe.
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
Krebs, Manfred. "Pforzheim (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Pforzheim_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=106022.
Krebs, Manfred. (1959). Pforzheim (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Pforzheim_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=106022.
Herald Press website.
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