Arnold, Johann Heinrich ("Heini") (1913-1982)

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Johann Heinrich ( "Heini ") Arnold was born 23 December 1913 in Oberbozen in the Tyrol, a son of Eberhard Arnold and Emmy (von Hollander) Arnold. He was six years old when the family left Berlin to begin living in community in the village of Sannerz; a personal encounter with Jesus during his childhood profoundly affected his whole life.

He studied agriculture at the Strickhof in Zurich. He married Annemarie Waechter at the Alm Bruderhof in 1936; because of a military draft in Germany the young couple began their married life at the Cotswold Bruderhof in England. There he was confirmed as Servant of the Word (Diener am Wort) on 23 October 1939. At the outbreak of World War II, the Bruderhof was forced to leave England because of their pacifist position and emigrated to Paraguay. The next years were difficult as the group tried to get established in an inhospitable environment.

In 1951, Heini was one of several members who traveled to the United States to raise money for Primavera's charitable hospital. He was remarkably successful because of his ability to connect with people. Many of those he met wanted to learn more about the Bruderhof's way of life, and several made the long trip down to Paraguay. In 1954, Woodcrest was begun in New York State. Heini was the senior pastor there until his death.

Heini devoted his energy to leading the Bruderhof to a Christ-centered life. He was appointed elder (Vorsteher) for the Bruderhof Communities on 13 July 1962. He died at the Woodcrest Bruderhof, Rifton, New York on 23 July 1982.

His most important works (all published by Plough Publishing at Rifton, New York) are: Freedom from Sinful Thoughts: Christ Alone Breaks the Curse (1973) (= Freiheit von Gedankensünden: Nur Christus bricht den Fluch, 1973); editor, with Annemarie Arnold, of Eberhard and Emmy Arnold, Seeking for the Kingdom of God: Origins of the Bruderhof Communities (1974); In the Image of God: Marriage and Chastity in Christian Life (1977); Purity of Childhood (1973); Man the Image of God and Modern Psychology (1973); Living in Community: A Way to True Brotherhood (1974), with Annemarie Arnold (= Gemeinsames Leben, ein Weg zu waterer Brüderlichkeit, 1977); Gifts and Saving Grace (1979). Discipleship is a collection of his writings that was published after his death.


Arnold, J. Heinrich. Discipleship: Living for Christ in the Daily Grind. Plough Publishing House 2013.

Arnold, J. Heinrich. Freedom from Sinful Thoughts. Plough Publishing House 2014.

Mommsen, Peter. Homage to a Broken Man: The Life of J. Heinrich Arnold - A true story of faith, forgiveness, sacrifice, and community. Plough Publishing House 2015.

Additional Information

J. Heinrich Arnold website

Author(s) Emmy Maendel
Date Published August 2017

Cite This Article

MLA style

Maendel, Emmy. "Arnold, Johann Heinrich ("Heini") (1913-1982)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2017. Web. 19 Jun 2021.,_Johann_Heinrich_(%22Heini%22)_(1913-1982)&oldid=153899.

APA style

Maendel, Emmy. (August 2017). Arnold, Johann Heinrich ("Heini") (1913-1982). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2021, from,_Johann_Heinrich_(%22Heini%22)_(1913-1982)&oldid=153899.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 38. All rights reserved.

©1996-2021 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.