Nové Mlýny (Jihomoravský kraj, Czech Republic)
Nové Mlýny (German, Neumühl, Neumühle), Moravia, in the 16th century was a large mill on the Eisgrub estate belonging to the Liechtenstein family. It was located on the left bank of the Thaya River. By the 1950s it had become a village with a population of 400 and a new mill, which was on the same site as the above. Here and in Tracht the Hutterian Brethren built a Bruderhof in 1558. The settlement around this mill became one of the most important Anabaptist settlements of Moravia. It was the residence of the "bishop" and leader of the entire brotherhood.
On 25 January 1570 the delegates of the Polish anti-Trinitarians arrived at Neurmühl to confer with the Brethren on the subject of unification with them, whose leader was Peter Walpot, whereupon an exchange of correspondence followed, but which did not lead to a union. After Walpot's death on 5 February 1578, Hansel Kräl of Kitzbühel was chosen as leader of the entire brotherhood. He died here on 14 November 1583, at the age of 63. Again the ordained men of the brotherhood met at Neurnühl and chose as bishop Klaus Braidl of Hesse, who had been a Hutterite preacher for 20 years.
On 14 May 1590 Klaus Braidl called all the elders of the Bruderhofs together at Neumühl for an important conference. The refusal of the Brethren to pay war taxes, which had in recent years led to the confiscation of cattle and produce, was used as an accusation against them with the charge that they enjoyed the benefits of the land, but would do nothing for its welfare. Since in 1585-1587 in the general increase in the Moravian population there was also an increase in the number of craftsmen who were in competition with the Hutterite craftsmen, there was also increased agitation against the Brethren. Therefore the elders addressed a petition to Frederick of Zierotin, rejecting the charges, but insisted upon their belief that for conscience' sake they could not contribute anything for purposes of war; the general taxes they were willing to pay. They also requested permission, in view of their large population, to purchase more grain, also permission to brew beer as formerly. In conclusion they suggested a tax on their houses which had kitchens; this tax of 12 florins was imposed upon them by the Landtag. The amount of beer they brewed in Neumühl is shown in an account of Eisgrub: in 1593 they brewed no less than 217 barrels of beer, which they sold at a gain of 225 florins.
Klaus Braidl may be considered the originator of most of the later craftsmen's regulations. Concerning these there are occasional references in the chronicles; e.g., that of 8 January 1591 passed at a meeting of all the leaders and managers assembled at Neumühl, where "the points were discussed, what the shoemakers, the cutters, menders, and buyers should not permit."
The Turkish war brought troubled times in 1595; confiscations injured the Bruderhofs, including that of Neumühl, where a certain brother Heinrich was shot to death through the open door. In 1596, however, Neumühl became the scene of violence, introducing a chain of similar events and hardships. On 26 August about six o'clock in the evening, a mob of about 30 men attacked the Neumühl Bruderhof to gain possession of the wealth the Brethren were reported to have stored there. The bandits mistreated the inhabitants and ruined furniture, without finding the treasure. After two hours of plundering they left with 16 horses. They were seized in the neighborhood of Vosendorf and Vienna, where they confessed. The horses were returned to the Brethren through the mediation of Zierotin.
On 20 September 1596 the imperial commissaries reported an empty treasury; thereupon the treasurers suggested obtaining a loan from the "wealthy" Hutterites. A committee of three officials was appointed to negotiate with the Brethren for a loan of several thousand florins. On 25 October Klaus Braidl was summoned to the castle of Selowitz with six elders; the discussion was continued through six days. With the exception of Zierotin, the commissioners were unfavorable to the Brethren and tried by all possible means to extort the money from them, using the threat that if the Brethren were unwilling to do the emperor this favor, they could not count on his protection in future attacks. After the elders had repeatedly asserted that these reputed treasures were nonexistent, the committee demanded a written statement, which was sent to Prague with a letter from Zierotin, assuring the treasurer that he had previously tried in vain to obtain a loan from the Brethren; for with their large number of children, sick and aged persons, and the heavy taxes, their expenses were very heavy; there could therefore be no great capital in reserve. In 1597, while the Neumühl Brethren were greatly occupied with the offensive conduct of Hans Zuckenhammer and in addition had to suffer the quartering of four squadrons of horsemen for five days, the government continued its efforts to obtain the loan. On the suggestion that the reason for the Hutterite refusal of the loan was the fear that the money would be used for war purposes, a letter was written by Prague on 4 February 1597, requesting 10,000 Talers for the repayment of an urgent debt, and accusing the Brethren of a lack of good will. A year later a certain Jew of Nikolsburg, Pisker Low, claimed to have a letter from the emperor demanding the loan of 10,000 florins. The Brethren, suspecting that this request was not genuine, refused to pay the sum; Pisker was finally ordered to apologize to the Brethren. Zierotin had meanwhile died. It was thereupon decided to have the Landtag meeting on 2 January 1601 impose upon the Hutterian Brethren a poll tax, "under the pretext that this tax would be used nowhere but for the payment of internal taxes." Meanwhile the Bruderhof suffered further depredations through the quartering of military troops, who took away much material and many horses. In July 1600 it was the cavalry of Count Thurn; in the autumn of 1601 the cavalry of a certain Hodicky stayed three weeks; in 1602 the infantry of Schonberger stayed five weeks; finally the Thurn Cavalry came again.
At the court it was decided that since the Brethren were suffering so much confiscation of cattle, horses, and other goods in lieu of the war taxes which they refused to pay, this would be a favorable time to renew the request for a loan. The letter on the subject called attention to the great sacrifices all classes in Moravia had made in the defense of the country, while the Jews and the Anabaptists, who had more provisions than anyone else in Moravia, had hitherto paid very little. On 28 July 1604 an imperial order was sent to the provincial governor, Karl von Liechtenstein, calling for both groups to deliver either a large loan or wagons and horses for the artillery with the necessary drivers. The negotiations with the Brethren, which included an official delegation to Neumühl on August 26, were futile, since Braidl could show how impoverished the brotherhood was. In the course of the negotiations the governor secured a list of all the Bruderhofs: there were at that time 37, with an average of 200 adults each (with children this might mean a total populace of at least 15,000). The governor advised the imperial office that little could be expected from new tax levies, since the brotherhood was so poor that many members were forsaking the brotherhood and there were few new converts. So the attempt was dropped.
On 1 April 1610 three major buildings at Neumühl were accidentally burned. The war in the fall of 1619 brought new and severe losses to Neumühl, when 12,800 Moravian troops and 10,000 Hungarian troops were in the vicinity for two months. The constant plundering practically ruined the Bruderhof. In December 1620 the entire population of Neumühl fled to Göding and Wesseli in view of the imminent danger of attack, returning sometime later. In 1621 the brotherhood was twice put under heavy pressure to deliver war loans, wagons, and men for military service, which they steadfastly refused. The third attempt, from May to July, which included charges of treason and threats of complete extermination of the brotherhood and delivering of the women and children into serfdom, resulted in the betrayal by several weak brethren (the bishop and several other leaders had been in prison for several months) of most of the hidden money of the brotherhood, which was in turn followed by the excommunication of the bishop (Hirzel) and several other leaders. Cardinal Dietrichstein reported on 29 June 1622 that he was (on request) preparing an edict calling for the expulsion of the entire brotherhood from Moravia, which soon followed. Neumühl, however, was apparently the last of the Bruderhofs to be expelled. It was still in existence in November 1623, but must have been lost soon thereafter.
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Cite This Article
Dedic, Paul. "Nové Mlýny (Jihomoravský kraj, Czech Republic)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 18 Jul 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Nov%C3%A9_Ml%C3%BDny_(Jihomoravsk%C3%BD_kraj,_Czech_Republic)&oldid=146653.
Dedic, Paul. (1957). Nové Mlýny (Jihomoravský kraj, Czech Republic). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 July 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Nov%C3%A9_Ml%C3%BDny_(Jihomoravsk%C3%BD_kraj,_Czech_Republic)&oldid=146653.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 854-856. All rights reserved.
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