Hans Steinsdorf, a German Anabaptist martyr, a master tailor of Schneeberg, Saxony, who could neither read nor write, was baptized by Peter Reusse. He parted from his wife and five children who refused to accept his faith, left them the house and settled in another part of Schneeberg, and became the close friend of Hans Hamster, a peasant with whom he discussed their common faith. In 1538 he was arrested with Heinrich Tritzschel of Saalfeld, his apprentice, who had accepted the Anabaptist faith and attracted the attention of the authorities by his irrational demeanor. They were questioned. The apprentice recanted, and Hans Steinsdorf was led to the castle prison in Zwickau. Here he was frequendy visited by the local clergy, who tried in vain to convert him. He asked to be banished from the country, promising never to return. The elector refused to grant this wish, but on 28 August 1538, ordered Wolf Böhm in Zwickau to re-examine Steinsdorf on a number of points on which he had already given specific information. Steinsdorf remained true to his faith. When he was asked where he would go if he were released he replied, "wherever he were commanded by the Heavenly Father, there he would gladly be. If it should be God's will he would stay with his wife and children. But if he was obliged to die for his faith, he would willingly submit." The examination revealed that Steinsdorf thought infant baptism nothing; children, born with a pure spirit, need no baptism. If they die young they are saved. Christ was not baptized as a child. Likewise also all the apostles. Body and blood have a spiritual meaning in the communion service. Elector Johann Friedrich sent this confession of the two Anabaptists, Steinsdorf and Hamster, to the court at Wittenberg for decision. The court was unable to arrive at a decision, but ordered that the Anabaptists be questioned once again. Nothing more is known about the case, but it can be assumed that Steinsdorf and Hamster were beheaded.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 243-244.
Wappler, Paul. Inquisition und Ketzerprozesse zur Reformationszeit. Leipzig, 1908: 96-117.
Cite This Article
Neff, Christian. "Steinsdorf, Hans (d. 1538?)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Steinsdorf,_Hans_(d._1538%3F)&oldid=117065.
Neff, Christian. (1959). Steinsdorf, Hans (d. 1538?). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Steinsdorf,_Hans_(d._1538%3F)&oldid=117065.
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