Bratislava (Slovakia)

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Bratislava (German: Pressburg), capital of Slovakia (1953 pop. 130,000; 2008 pop. 429,000), from 1541 to 1784 the capital of Hungary, because the greater part of Hungary, including Budapest, was then in the hands of the Turks. As the capital it was also the coronation city of the kings of Hungary (the Habsburgs), and the seat of the Palatine, the representative or viceroy of the king (who actually resided in Vienna), and the head of the Hungarian nobility. Bratislava was also the seat of the Hungarian Royal Diet until 1848, when it moved to Budapest and thereafter was called Parliament. The population of Bratislava was in 1930 roughly 40 per cent Slovakian, 30 per cent German, and 30 per cent Hungarian (or Magyar).

Since Anabaptists (Hutterites) lived in Slovakia since the middle of the 16th century (coming from adjoining Moravia), the name of Pressburg appears often in the Hutterite Chronicle. The nobles of Slovakia, needing these thrifty workers, opposed any persecution there, until the all-powerful state of the 18th century no longer depended upon these nobles. Then the government in Vienna undertook the systematic conversion to Catholicism or, if impossible, the expulsion of all nonconforming elements; this was done primarily by Jesuit or (after 1773) ex-Jesuit missionaries (see Counter Reformation). At that time all the numerous Hutterite manuscript books were confiscated, partly destroyed and partly stored away in various Catholic libraries. In Pressburg they were deposited in the library of the Jesuit College which was changed after 1773 into the "library of the Cathedral chapter" (Dom Kapitel). From its printed catalog 34 such entries are known, all highly valuable 16th/17th century Anabaptist codices. In 1919, 30 of them were sold into private hands, while four codices were supposed to be still there.

In the 19th century Bratislava had a good Lutheran high school, called lyceum, and one of its principals collected seven 16th/17th-century Hutterite codices from nearby Habaner settlements. The library was later taken over by the Evangelische Kirchengemeinde. After 1939, the library was said to have been transferred to the Slovakian State Archives and Library, yet details were lacking. One or two of the "lost" 30 codices were bought back by this state archives. Also the city library has some Anabaptist material, primarily pictures; a good deal of original source material was still on the private book market in the 1950s, of which Bratislava had been a center for a long time.


Knauz, N. A Poszonyi Kaptalannak Keziratai. Esztergom, Hungary, 1870. 324 pp., the catalogue of the library of the Bratislava Cathedral Chapter, very detailed, with German titles,

Kraus, Fr. Nove prispevky k dejinam Habanov na Slovensku. Bratislava, 1937. ("Recent Research about the Habaners in Slovakia"; this work reprints excerpts of a recently purchased Hutterite Chronicle of 1648, together with other material and with some fine illustrations.

See also Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter (1938): 61 f., where an account is given about the Hutterite Chronicle.



Author(s) Robert Friedmann
Date Published 1953

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MLA style

Friedmann, Robert. "Bratislava (Slovakia)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 2 Aug 2021.

APA style

Friedmann, Robert. (1953). Bratislava (Slovakia). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 August 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 406. All rights reserved.

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