Hallau (Schaffhausen, Switzerland)

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Hallau is a village in the Klettgau district of the canton of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, not far from Waldshut, since 1525 a possession of the city of Schaffhausen. During the period 1524-1525 it was subject to a variety of revolutionary and Anabaptist ideas. It took the lead in the revolt of the Schaffhausen peasants. Hans Rüeger, the cabinetmaker of Hallau, was active here in promulgating the ideas of Thomas Müntzer, who had come into the territory near by in the fall of 1524; he advocated community of goods and took part in the peasant disturbances. In a later court trial he admitted that he had desired that the peasants should be on top and the lords underneath.

It is difficult to say to what degree the true Anabaptist movement was involved in the uprising of the Klettgau peasants. On 5 February 1525 Johannes Brötli preached in Hallau for the first time. He is no doubt the founder of an Anabaptist congregation of the Zürich type. He had signed the letter of Grebel and the Zürich Brethren to Müntzer in which they protested against the use of force. His letters to the Brethren in Zollikon indicate that he preached the Gospel as interpreted by the Zürich Anabaptists, who certainly had no part in revolutionary activities. His preaching, however, no doubt contributed to the intensification of the hopes of the peasants for better conditions in the future. The city of Schaffhausen, at the request of Zürich, sought to arrest Brötli, but the peasants forcibly prevented this, apparently considering Brötli as their leader. Almost the entire population of the village was baptized by him. The Anabaptist movement continued strongly for a time. On 13 November 1527, Hans Rüeger was executed as an Anabaptist. By 1529 the majority of the people are reported to have returned to the church, but in 1531 again we find the list of Hallau people who were fined because of attendance at Anabaptist meetings. Thereafter the traces of the movement became progressively weaker. In 1534 there was some discussion in the Schaffhausen council concerning Anabaptists. Later a George Sattler of Oberhallau appears in the report of a Zürich trial of 1548 as an Anabaptist preacher and leader of secret meetings in the Klettgau. Nothing further is known about the movement here.


Bächtold, Karl August. Die Schaffhauser Wiedertäufer in der Reformationszeit. Schaffhausen: Buchdruckerei Paul Schoch, 1900

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II: 236  f.

Nabholz, Hans. Die Bauernbewegung in der Ostschweiz, 1524-25. Zürich: H. Nabholz], 1898.Leonhard von Muralt

Author(s) Leonhard von Muralt
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Muralt, Leonhard von. "Hallau (Schaffhausen, Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 26 Apr 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hallau_(Schaffhausen,_Switzerland)&oldid=146466.

APA style

Muralt, Leonhard von. (1956). Hallau (Schaffhausen, Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 April 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hallau_(Schaffhausen,_Switzerland)&oldid=146466.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 635-636. All rights reserved.

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