Krems an der Donau (Niederösterreich, Austria)

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Krems is a city (pop. mid-1950s 20,359; 2007 c. 24,000) in the Wachau region of the Danube Valley in lower Austria. Anabaptists appeared here as early as 1527. On 15 November 1527 the magistrate of Krems inquired of the government what attitude he should take toward the Anabaptists staying at Gedersdorf; six days later he ordered them all arrested. In its ensuing report the council stated that there were respected citizens among the Anabaptists; that Jörg Krautschlögel had been known to be one. Among those seized were some illiterates, who were therefore less responsible, and some pregnant women and mothers of infants. A backslidden monk from Gleink together with his wife and child were arrested on suspicion of this doctrine. The government ordered on 13 December that the pregnant women and nursing mothers be released on bail; the council asked grace for the citizen Joh. Ernst, stated that the trial would demand much effort and money, and inquired what further steps should be taken. The government ordered on 8 February 1528 that the council should proceed according to the mandates and the degree of responsibility of the prisoners. The register of martyrs lists three executions in Krems.

Since Krems lay on the route most travelers took from Tyrol or Switzerland to Moravia (and the Moravian Anabaptist brotherhood was augmented for decades chiefly by additions from Tyrol) they are often mentioned here. Although special mandates had been issued to the boatmen strictly forbidding the transport of Anabaptists, the refugees continued to prefer the Danube trip, leaving the boat at Stein, opposite Krems. In the village of Hohenwart near Krems several Anabaptists lay in prison in 1534. Hutter addressed an epistle to them. After some time they were taken to Egginburg, where their cheeks were burned through and they were released. The feet of one had been in the stocks so long that they had to be amputated in Moravia.

In the 1540s especially large numbers of Tyrolese migrated to Moravia via Krems. In spite of the watchfulness of the authorities, most of them arrived safely in Moravia. Nevertheless some were seized. A group led by Sebastian Leutner, a binder from the Adige, who had led four transports safely, was caught in Stein. He recanted, but died of the plague before he could be released by penance. Konrad Heinzemann, however, who was seized there two days later leading a Swabian group, was more steadfast (1558). He was taken to Vienna with Christel Kircher, who had been Leutner's traveling companion, where he was released in the following year through the intervention of Pfauser, the Lutheran court preacher of Archduke Maximilian, before the bishop of Vienna, Anton Brus, could initiate the trial.

Magister Gangolf Wagner, the preacher of Krems, was called to Vienna in 1573 by the Lower Austrian Landmarschall, Hans Wilhelm, Baron of Rogendorf, to convert the brothers Marx and Bernhard Klampferer, but to no avail.

In the 1580s several Swiss groups touched Krems en route to Moravia.  The Zurich council complained about the emigration of so many people, especially about the Moravian emissaries, who lured them with small gifts, especially with little knives of their own production. In 1608, when a Swiss group was arrested by the magistrate in Krems, who took from them their possessions and sent them into the community for forced labor, the Moravian authorities, including Cardinal Dietrichstein, protested this act to the emperor on 17 October and demanded their immediate release; they declared that because of war there was in many localities a shortage of inhabitants and that the immigration of the Swiss was very desirable (Pamatkenbuch, 1601 ff., Brno, State archives).


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Author(s) Paul Dedic
Date Published 1957

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Dedic, Paul. "Krems an der Donau (Niederösterreich, Austria)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 21 Sep 2020.,_Austria)&oldid=145640.

APA style

Dedic, Paul. (1957). Krems an der Donau (Niederösterreich, Austria). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 September 2020, from,_Austria)&oldid=145640.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 239-240. All rights reserved.

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