Lorch on the Rhine (Hesse, Germany)

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Lorch on the Rhine, a town in the Wiesbaden district of Hesse, Germany, at the confluence of the Wisper into the Rhine, was at the beginning of the 16th century a thriving village, inhabited by weavers who made use of the abundant water power of the Wisper and carried on trade with their cloth as far as the Netherlands. At that time Lorch was the seat of a strong Anabaptist group, under the leadership of a "bishop," Peter Nyerup of Calcar. On 10 May 1537, fire broke out in the city destroying several houses. Arson was suspected. A maid questioned on the rack threw suspicion on the Anabaptists. Several of them, including the bishop, left the city; their property was confiscated. Many were taken prisoner.

"They confessed on the rack that their doctrines were: Christ is not the true God, His body did not come from Mary but from heaven, only personal piety could accomplish justification, there is no original sin, contacts with non-Anabaptists are prohibited, the oath is forbidden as blasphemy, all goods are common, each one has a free will in spiritual matters, infant baptism is evil, state and government are evil institutions, and service in war a grievous sin." Albrecht, Elector of Mainz, demanded the greatest severity of punishment. By the end of 1537 there were 240 persons under arrest. Eustachius Pohl, Konrad Heftrich, both of Lorch, Sebastian Köhler of Geisenheim, and Wendel Lill of Rüdesheim, were hanged as "heretics, sectarians, perjurers"; Konrad Mohr and Sebastian Röhrig of Lorch were beaten and branded, and many others were banished from the country. Eighty-two citizens of Lorch were punished with a fine of 20 guilders and neck irons. Most of the exiles settled in the area of Katzenellenbogen. The movement was completely suppressed. Most of the Anabaptists became Protestants.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 690.

Mennonitische Blätter (1893): 89-91.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Lorch on the Rhine (Hesse, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 20 Apr 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lorch_on_the_Rhine_(Hesse,_Germany)&oldid=145726.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1957). Lorch on the Rhine (Hesse, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 April 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Lorch_on_the_Rhine_(Hesse,_Germany)&oldid=145726.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 393-394. All rights reserved.

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