Griesbacher, Wilhelm (d. ca. 1536)

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Wilhelm Griesbacher, of Kitzbühel, Austria. Like many other Anabaptist martyrs, little is known of him beyond his martyrdom and a letter that he sent from prison to the brotherhood by his companion, Hans Donner of Wels. Griesbacher, a Diener der Notdurft, was seized at Schäkowitz with several of his brethren during the height of the persecution (1536) when Hutter was being sought, and was taken to Brno, Moravia. Here he was cross-examined on the following points: (1) Why did they accept this treacherous faith that was tolerated nowhere? (2) Whether they had an agreement with other sects from whom they received help on occasion (the consequences of the Münster revolt are evident here); (3) Why they would have nothing to do with government; and (4) Why they attacked the king so rudely in Hutter's reply to the governor. The report of the authorities was followed by a command to try the prisoners on the rack, and if they were obstinate, to use the mandates against them moderately. Only one of them (named Loy) renounced his faith. Griesbacher sent the brotherhood the letter mentioned above, in which he admonished them to pray for the backslider. At the trial under torture Griesbacher was also asked how the exiles fared financially. He replied that they had not left home and land and come to this country for the sake of money, but for the sake of their faith. Griesbacher was sentenced to die at the stake and was burned in Brno.


The letter mentioned above is in a manuscript of the Pressburg Domkapitel, and extracts of it are printed in Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967: 119.

See also Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923: 77, 78, 115.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 173.

Author(s) Loserth Johann
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Johann, Loserth. "Griesbacher, Wilhelm (d. ca. 1536)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 18 Aug 2018.,_Wilhelm_(d._ca._1536)&oldid=145317.

APA style

Johann, Loserth. (1956). Griesbacher, Wilhelm (d. ca. 1536). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 August 2018, from,_Wilhelm_(d._ca._1536)&oldid=145317.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 579. All rights reserved.

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