Maulbronn (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)

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Maulbronn, a city and district of Württemberg, Germany, where the Anabaptist movement found many adherents in the 16th century. Its spread was facilitated by the forests on the border between Württemberg and the Electoral Palatinate. Only one martyr is known in the region; in 1529 Georg Baumann of Bauschlott was put to death, because after recanting he had rejoined the Anabaptists (Beck, 32 and Wolkan, 59). Most of the Anabaptists escaped persecution by emigrating to Moravia to join the Hutterian brotherhoods, who carried on an active evangelization around Maulbronn well into the 17th century. Frequent searching parties for the Anabaptists failed to disclose them.

A Hutterite preacher, Matthias Binder, who was visiting his mother in Frickenhausen, was imprisoned in Maulbronn on 15 April 1573, and was kept here for a long time. The prison of the Cistercian monastery at Maulbronn was apparently a favorite of the authorities, for there were prisoners here from all parts of the country. On 2 June 1573 orders came from Stuttgart to the abbot to fasten Binder by a chain or otherwise in the cell that had been occupied in 1567-1569 by Blasius Greiner and others, and to put them on small rations (Bossert, 371). The abbot tried unsuccessfully to win Binder for the church or at least to extract from him a promise to stay out of Württemberg (Bossert, 374-76; Wolkan, 383). He was then taken to the prison of Hohenwittlingen. From prison in Maulbronn he wrote two letters to the brotherhood in Moravia which were published by Bossert (369-371, and 373-374).

While Binder lay in prison in Maulbronn, the Hutterites sent other missionaries to Maulbronn, whose sermons were heard by large audiences, especially in the Bretten forest. Orders were accordingly issued to the foresters on 21 July 1574 from Stuttgart, to keep a sharp lookout for these meetings, especially for the leaders, and to turn them over to the authorities; a reward was promised for capture, and punishment for carelessness or for aiding them to escape (Bossert, 418).

During those years the migration to Moravia from Maulbronn became rather extensive. To thwart it the authorities directed the abbot and the bailiff of Maulbronn not to grant permission for the sale of property, unless the seller could prove that the place to which he was going had nothing to do with the Anabaptists. If the people mentioned their poverty and the prospect of better nutrition, they should be advised against going to Moravia and promised that they would not be allowed to starve in Maulbronn (Bossert, 417). In spite of these measures the emigration to Moravia continued; sometimes the refugees left all their property behind (Bossert, 422 and 499); nor could the forest meetings be prevented. In July 1596 attendance at an Anabaptist service was punished by a day in prison and a small fine (Bossert, 687), and in 1607 with three days in prison; whoever sheltered a preacher had to atone with eight days in prison and a fine of ten guilders (Bossert, 793).

The scope of the emigration to Moravia can be estimated from the fact that by 1613 Anabaptist property to the value of 25,593 florins had been confiscated; i.e., nearly half of the amount confiscated by the order of 1571 in the duchy of Württemberg. This amount is evidence that the Anabaptists valued their faith above their possessions.


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

Bossert, Gustav. Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer I. Band, Herzogtum Württemberg. Leipzig: M. Heinsius, 1930.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 61.

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) Christian Hege
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Hege, Christian. "Maulbronn (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 27 Jul 2021.,_Germany)&oldid=144355.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1957). Maulbronn (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 July 2021, from,_Germany)&oldid=144355.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 542. All rights reserved.

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