Maskowitz (Moravia, Czech Republic)

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Maskowitz (Moskowitz, Moskowice; Czech, Mackovice) is a village near Znaim in southern Moravia, annexed to the Frischau parish. The owner of Frischau, Peter Certorejsky of Certorej, called the Anabaptists into his territory, to settle in four desolate villages. In Frischau they built their first Bruderhof in 1531; this was soon followed by another at Maskowitz. It had a more difficult lot than most of the Hutterite settlements. Some of its leaders are known. Hans Schlegl died here on 21 February 1587; Walser Hasenfelder on 9 August 1590; Paul Iltzmüller on 15 February 1591, and Leonhard Reuss on 20 November 1591; all of them were preachers.

The quarrel between the son of their patron and the Frischau Hutterite settlement in 1597 soon involved the Maskowitz Brethren as well. The baron, knowing the Brethren to be in his power, did not adhere to the promises made by his father both orally and in writing, and imposed an intolerable amount of robot work on them, so that they were unable to keep up their own work in the Bruderhof and in the fields. Besides this, he roughly mistreated them, knocking out the teeth of one of them. He also confiscated their horses for military service. When the Brethren made gestures of leaving, he promised to improve their conditions, but never kept his promise; indeed, in a period of 21 weeks they had only two days free of robot work. The Brethren finally gathered their possessions to leave; Certorejsky took from them all their goods, causing them a loss of 5,000 florins, and drove them from the Frischau Bruderhof, not sparing the sick or aged. The Maskowitz Bruderhof remained, and in 1598 the baron, aware of the damage he had done himself, recalled the exiled Frischau settlers.

In the war with Bocskay, a regiment was raised in the region of Znaim; in 1605 Maskowitz suffered 18 weeks of great expense and trouble in consequence. In the following year troops passing through inflicted all sorts of violence on them, and took away their horses. In the spring of 1609 three companies of Hungarian troops lodged in the Maskowitz Bruderhof for two days and nights, followed by two more companies, causing much trouble and consuming great amounts of goods.

The chronicles of the Hutterites record that in the spring of 1608 Berka instigated an attempt to convert them by force. Two companies of horsemen surrounded the Bruderhof for two hours awaiting word from Brno; they withdrew in haste when word reached them of Berka's defeat there. In 1611 new troops were raised, again injuring Maskowitz as well as other Bruderhofs. Nevertheless Christian Steiner, having served as preacher for over 30 years, died in peace on 5 November of that year.

In the Moravian rebellion at the beginning of the Thirty Years' War the Maskowitz household suffered indescribable hardship. On 22 July 1619 it was plundered by Dampierre's troops; "By, October 15 it had been attacked 30 times and robbed of anything that could be found; in addition to much other movable property, much grain, flour, several barrels of wine, four horses, twelve oxen, and an entire herd of hogs; they also seized two brethren, tortured them, cut off the ear of one, in order to extort information about money and other things." A list of martyrs states that in 1619 Peter Klein, an old man, was cut down and Konrad Spör was shot down. The next year brought more oppression. On 24 March imperial troops fell upon Maskowitz at three in the morning, plundered everything, drove away the cattle and stock, and finally set fire to the house. Scarcely had the house been rebuilt, when new troops came. Most of the Maskowitz brethren did not await them, but in the second half of December 1621 fled into the region of Pausram, Austerlitz, and Nikolsburg; a part of them returned and met misfortune; on 6 January 1622, imperial troops of Walloons, French, Spaniards, Neapolitans, Kroats, and a Fugger band from Swabia broke in. They stripped the inmates of their clothing, and drove them, some of them stark naked, out into the wintry cold. Several Brethren were senselessly tortured to make them reveal their hidden money. "With the sisters that they seized they dealt horribly." The Fugger band was guilty of the worst behavior in these days. Finally a French commander restored order to the extent that the brethren could again venture out to cook and bake. The soldiers took all their horses. On 22 April another band attacked them. The horsemen of Löbl, who had received heavy contributions from the brotherhoods at Kromau and Eibenschitz, now plundered Maskowitz, hauling away 18 loads of goods. In an attempt to come by the reputed wealth of the brethren, a vain attempt was made to lure the Maskowitz elder, Michel Kocher, to Nikolsburg.

After the issuance of the mandate of 28 September 1622, Cardinal Franz von Dietrichstein personally directed the expulsion of the Hutterites from Maskowitz. They had to leave "with empty hands," leaving all their cattle, grain, and larger pieces of equipment. They managed to take away secretly very little, with some help from the soldiers. Most of the people of the two Bruderhofs of Maskowitz and Olekowitz, led by the preachers Michel Kocher, Thoman Wilhelm, and Albrecht Grob, "in very bad weather" moved to their brethren in Transylvania.


Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 57 f.

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

Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Die älteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüder: Ein Sprachdenkmal aus frühneuhochdeutscher Zeit Ithaca: Cayuga Press, 1943.

Author(s) Paul Dedic
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Dedic, Paul. "Maskowitz (Moravia, Czech Republic)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 15 Jun 2021.,_Czech_Republic)&oldid=144349.

APA style

Dedic, Paul. (1957). Maskowitz (Moravia, Czech Republic). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 June 2021, from,_Czech_Republic)&oldid=144349.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 534-535. All rights reserved.

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