Kempten (Freistaat Bayern, Germany)

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Kempten is a Swabian town (population: 40,000 in 1957, 63,513 in 2004) in Bavaria, Germany, on the Iller River. In the Middle Ages it consisted of two towns, the old and the new. The former adopted the Reformation in 1527; the latter was the center of the Kempten district and of a Benedictine abbey, whose abbots had been princes of the empire since 1360.

In the middle of the 16th century Anabaptists were found here, for three decrees were passed against them dated 8 September 1544, 8 September 1551, and 7 September 1562. The first points out that the "blind, offensive, and damned sect" of the Anabaptists is making inroads and growing, and commands the people to abstain from it and conduct themselves in accord with the old, true faith. Whoever was not willing to do so should sell his goods and leave Kempten, or be punished with life imprisonment or other penalty of property or body. The second adds that the imperial "recess" of Augsburg of 14 February 1551 applies to them. The third mentions the imperial law of 23 April 1529, and stipulates that no special burial ground can be given the Anabaptists, who bury their dead in secret, that anyone dying outside the Catholic faith without confession or the sacrament should be buried only under the nearest gallows.

From these decrees it may be inferred that the Anabaptist movement in and around Kempten was strong and maintained itself for a long time.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 481.

Koehler, W. "Zur Geschichte der Täufer im Stift Kempten." Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstag von Dr. Christian Neff. Weierhof, 1933.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Kempten (Freistaat Bayern, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 26 Sep 2020.,_Germany)&oldid=145562.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1957). Kempten (Freistaat Bayern, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 September 2020, from,_Germany)&oldid=145562.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 165. All rights reserved.

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