Illingen (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)

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Illingen (Illing), a village (population in 1959, 1,750; 2005 population, 10,000) in Württemberg, Germany, in which there were Anabaptists in the 16th century. The Hutterite Geschicht-Buch (183) states that ten Anabaptists were executed here, but does not give names or dates. Nor is there any other information about the execution of Anabaptists here. The earliest references showing connections with the Hutterites in Moravia are dated 1554  (TA Württemberg, 142). Several families united with them. In 1565 Matthaus Klotz, a carpenter at Stammheim near Calw, born at Illingen, moved to Moravia with his wife and six children and 400 florins in cash (TA Württemberg, 547). Other Anabaptists of Illingen distinguished themselves by steadfastness in suffering and exemplary living.

Illingen was the home of Hans Dauber, who was arrested in 1581 and imprisoned in Hohenurach for his faith. After six years, declaring himself ready to join the state church, he was released. But in 1589 he was again seized "because he could not desist from his perverted manner" (675). He was then taken to Hohenwittlingen, where he was held prisoner for several decades. After an attempt to convert him in 1608 his tormentors apparently abandoned all hope of his returning to the state church; in a court record they remarked he "must be commended to God's judgment" (809).

In Illingen Dauber appears to have gained a considerable following (545). Peter Ehrenpreis, in whose possession Menno SimonsFoundation Book was found, was one of his followers. Ehrenpreis was the son of the magistrate Wolf Ehrenpreis, whom the pastor bitterly accused before the authorities of failing to take steps against the Anabaptists (562). Peter Ehrenpreis immigrated to Moravia and joined the Hutterites. Upon his return to Illingen he was seized on 10 May 1585, but was dismissed when he promised to join the state church (598 and 616). But in 1596 the pastor Johann Huttenloch in Illingen reported to Wilhelm Holder, abbot of Maulbronn, that although Ehrenpreis had formerly attended the noon services, he now remained away when the sacraments were discussed and hurried out of the church when communion or infant baptism was being observed. On 5 July 1596, he went to Moravia with his family, leaving all his possessions. By his manner of life Ehrenpreis won respect, as is shown in the report of the local pastor: "Like all the Anabaptists Ehrenpreis lives a quiet, honorable, blameless life before the world. With his Anabaptist hymns, which he sings in the vineyards and other places, and through his hypocritical conduct he has won such favor with the majority of the populace, that they would not consent to his being condemned for his Anabaptism. At a public inn recently a councilman, Jorg Augsburger, exclaimed that if a man could be saved here, then this Peter would be saved, and he wished for no other heaven than the one to which Peter would go, and that he was more highly esteemed by a great many than all the Protestant pastors" (687).

It is not at all impossible that this Ehrenpreis was the father of Andreas Ehrenpreis,  an outstanding leader of the Hutterian Brethren (TA Württemberg, 66).

After the emigration of Peter Ehrenpreis there are no more reports about Anabaptist families in Illingen. In 1657 there was a rental record  (Zinsbrief) concerning Anabaptist property of Illingen leased out by the official management of Anabaptist property.


Bossert, Gustav. Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer I. Band, Herzogtum Württemberg. Leipzig: M. Heinsius, 1930: index under "Dauber, Hans"

Bossert, Gustav. "Eine amerikanische Quelle für württembergische Geschichte und Literatur des 16. und 17. Jh." Supplement to Staats-Anzeiger für Württemberg (1 June 1916)

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 407.

Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1958

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MLA style

Hege, Christian. "Illingen (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1958. Web. 13 Dec 2019.,_Germany)&oldid=145475.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1958). Illingen (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 December 2019, from,_Germany)&oldid=145475.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 5. All rights reserved.

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