Dirmstein (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)

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Dirmstein was a district in the Palatinate, under the jurisdiction of Alzey until it was ceded to the bishopric of Worms. Mennonites were found here as early as 1588 and 1596. To the Dirmstein district belonged the villages of Obersülzen, Heppenheim an der Wiese, Gerolsheim, Rodenbach, and Harxheim, where Swiss Mennonites settled after 1650. When the Anabaptist Concession of 1664 allowed them to settle, there were already 40 Mennonite households (172 persons) in the Dirmstein area; in 1680, 46 households (218 persons); in 1686, 57 households (number of persons not stated).

Economically, as rebuilders of the badly devastated regions of Alzey, the Swiss were highly esteemed. In 1667 the Count of Sayn-Wittgenstein advocated bringing in more Mennonites "from the lower countries." Nevertheless they received little favorable treatment. In 1658 the Mennonites appealed in vain for release from the fee (30 Talers) they were required to pay, even though there were many poor among them, and rebuilding the dilapidated farms required large amounts of money. In the 1680s their meetings were disturbed, contrary to the agreement in the renewed Concession. Orders were in fact issued forbidding their "too great attendance of meetings" (50 to 100 people met every three or four weeks in a barn at Dirmstein), and expelling the preachers who came from the outside, principally from Mannheim. The petitions of the Mennonites were finally granted to the extent of making religious activity a little easier.

This subdistrict is no longer listed in later documents, the Mennonites having left the villages largely because of war. In 1802 Dirmstein still had 33 Mennonites. The names of the Mennonites at Dirmstein were Baumer, Bios, Blum, Braun, Gassert, Grauwinkel, Hörstein, Jansen, Kramer, Linn, Michel, Schmidt, Schumacker.

The method of farming introduced by the Möllingers in Monsheim-Pfeddersheim spread to Dirmstein by 1800. Schwerz, the noted agrarian reformer of the time, described conditions there, especially the farm and distillery of the Jansons.


Frey, Michael. Versuch einer geographisch-historisch statistischen Beschreibung des Rheinkreises, dermalen Pfalz IV. Speyer, 1837.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 451.

Hege, Christian. Die Täufer in der Kurpfalz : ein Beitrag zur badisch-pfälzischen Reformationsgeschichte. Frankfurt am Main: Kommissionsverlag von H. Minjon, 1908 (Frankfurt a.M. : J.G. Holtzwarts Nachf., S. Minjon: 144, 154.

Neff, Christian. "Quellen zur Geschichte. der Mennoniten. in der Kurpfalz." Unpublished manuscript.

Schwerz, Johann Nepomuk von. Beobachtungen über den Ackerbau der Pfälzer. Berlin: Bei G. Reimer, 1816: 188 ff.

Widder, Johann Goswin.  Versuch einer vollständigen geographisch-historischen Beschreibung der kurfürstl. Pfalz am Rheine. Leipzig, 1786-88.

Author(s) Ernst H Correll
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Correll, Ernst H. "Dirmstein (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 20 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dirmstein_(Rheinland-Pfalz,_Germany)&oldid=120691.

APA style

Correll, Ernst H. (1956). Dirmstein (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dirmstein_(Rheinland-Pfalz,_Germany)&oldid=120691.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 68. All rights reserved.

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