Runkel, Johann Ludwig (17th / 18th centuries)

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Johann Ludwig Run(c)kel, a friend of the Swiss Mennonites, Dutch ambassador to Switzerland, had his seat first at Schaffhausen and later at Bern as secretary of the embassy. In 1710-1711 he took an active interest in the Mennonites, who were subjected to oppression and persecution by the government. The Amsterdam Mennonite archives contain more than 70 letters, documents, and statements of account sent by Runckel to the Dutch Mennonite Committee for Foreign Needs (see Fonds voor Buitenlandsche Nooden). In the first of these letters (22 January 1710) he alerted the Dutch Mennonites to the plight of the Swiss Mennonites, and from then his detailed letters gave the Committee at Amsterdam an exact idea of the situation, including the names of the prisoners. Runckel acted in the name of the Dutch Mennonites; his authority was based on his function as ambassador of the Dutch States General, whose secretary, François Fagel, supported him both morally and financially. Runckel negotiated with the Bernese officials and spoke with the Swiss Mennonites, many of whom were unwilling to leave the country, and distributed to them the money sent by the Dutch Mennonites and the confessions of faith (more than 120 were sent from Holland). With great difficulty he obtained permission for the Mennonites to leave Bern and a guarantee that they could sell their property and take along the money, and undertook the difficult and time-consuming task of administering the whole business. He had previously mediated in the (bootless) plan to colonize the Swiss Brethren in Prussia. It was Runckel's suggestion in his letter of 8 November 1710, to settle all the Swiss Mennonites in the Netherlands, which was adopted by the Dutch Committee and favored by the Dutch States General, and after much negotiation with the Bernese government and the unwilling Mennonites, who being divided by the Ammann-Reist schism refused to move together, Runckel finally saw his great effort crowned by the immigration of a large number of Mennonites to the Palatinate and the Netherlands. Runckel's last letter to the Dutch Committee concerning this matter is dated 11 July 1717.


Gulik, A. van."Uit de geschiedenis van de overkomst der vervoldge Zwitzers in 1710 en 1711." Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1919): 136, 145 ff.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 566.

Müller. Berner Täufer. 221.

Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884. Runckel's most important letters are: v. I, Nos. 1219 f., 1255b, 1271, 1285, 1287, 1290 f., 1293, 1301, 1310, 1312, 1316-19, 1321, 1330 f., 1334, 1337-45, 1353, 1373.

Smith, C. Henry. The Mennonite Immigration into Pennsylvania in the Eighteenth Century. Norristown, 1929: 70-74.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Runkel, Johann Ludwig (17th / 18th centuries)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 3 Aug 2021.,_Johann_Ludwig_(17th_/_18th_centuries)&oldid=145976.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Runkel, Johann Ludwig (17th / 18th centuries). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 3 August 2021, from,_Johann_Ludwig_(17th_/_18th_centuries)&oldid=145976.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 378. All rights reserved.

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