Anabaptist Fund

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Anabaptist Fund (Täufergut). In 1670 the cantonal Bern government issued a mandate against the Anabaptists which among other things ordered that the property of Anabaptists expelled from the canton should be confiscated and sold and the proceeds placed in a special fund. The purpose of the decree was to punish the Anabaptists by sending them out of the country completely stripped of all assets, and also to retain their assets in the canton. These assets were placed in the administration of the state church parishes from which the Anabaptists were expelled, and invested, so that the interest could be applied to church and school purposes. Later the funds were concentrated in the hands of the county authorities (Aemterweise) and invested in what was called the Taufergutfonds, and still later a special account was set up in Bern called the Täufer-Urbar. Anabaptist children returning to the state church could receive their inheritance from this fund, only however in case their parents had had a state church marriage (those of parents with only an Anabaptist marriage being declared illegitimate).

The income (and holdings ultimately) of the Anabaptist fund was used for various purposes. A large part remained until the modern civil structure of the canton was set up and then distributed to the civil authorities of the local units. By these it was usually applied to school and church purposes. Money was used for the repair of church buildings, purchase of pews, bells, and even new church buildings. For instance, in 1692 the parish of Schwarzenegg in the district of Thur received the value of some $4,000 to use on its new church building and for other purposes.

A similar procedure was followed in the canton of Zurich as well as in various places in South Germany, especially in Württemberg where much of the confiscated Anabaptist assets was used for similar purposes, but also for the benefit of the district treasury.


Geiser, Samuel. Die Taufgesinnten-Gemeinden : eine kurzgefasste Darstellung der wichtigsten Ereignisse des Täufertums. Karlsruhe, Baden : Heinrich Schneider, 1931: 406 f.

Teufel, E. "Die Beschlagnahme und Verwaltung des Täufergutes durch den Fiskus im Herzogtum Württemberg im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert." Theologische Zeitschrift  8 (1952): 296-304.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1959

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Bender, Harold S. "Anabaptist Fund." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 19 Oct 2019.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1959). Anabaptist Fund. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 October 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1059. All rights reserved.

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