Steinabrunn (Niederösterreich, Austria)

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Steinabrunn, a village in the municipality of Drasenhofen, Lower Austria (Niederösterreich), not far from Nikolsburg on the Moravian border (coordinates: 48° 45' 0" N, 16° 40' 0" E), the seat of a Hutterite Bruderhof founded in 1537 following the great persecution of 1535. The group immediately chose Mathes Legeder, Gutenhenn Hans, Michel Blauer, and Michel Kramer as deacons. On 16 December 1539 the brotherhood met to discuss the question of union with a group of Swiss Brethren led by Philipp Plener. But the plan could not be carried out. The royal provost surprised them at night with troops and took 136 persons in chains, men, women, and youths, and imprisoned them in the Falkenstein castle, which at that time, together with Steinabrunn, belonged to the barons of Fünfkirchen. After eight days the marshal of Ferdinand appeared with several priests and the executioner and demanded information concerning their faith and the location of their money. They made a confession of their faith. The priests tried in vain to "convert" them. The prisoners were finally told that they would be tolerated if they would live in groups of not more than eight persons, but they refused these terms. At the beginning of the new year the provost returned and again challenged the Brethren to desist from their faith. Those who refused would be delivered to the imperial admiral Andrew Doria to serve as galley slaves on his warships in the Mediterranean in the war against the Turks. Ninety of them, most of them fathers, were taken away chained in pairs; then the sick and the women were released. The men were taken to Trieste; here they managed to escape by making a rope of their chains to let themselves down over the wall facing the sea. On their return journey twelve of them were seized in Laibach in Carinthia and taken back to Trieste; nothing more was ever heard of them. The brotherhood sent Jörg Meyerhofer to Trieste to look for them, but he did not find them. The rest of the fugitives reached Moravia, but three of them died soon after arrival.

The sufferings of the Anabaptists at Steinabrunn are described in several songs: Antoni Erfordter's "Geschichte der Verfolgung zu Steinabrunn" (14 stanzas), and Leonhard Roth's similar hymn (15 stanzas), and also in a hymn "To the imprisoned brethren in the Falkenstein" (29 stanzas).


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 240-241.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hege, Christian. "Steinabrunn (Niederösterreich, Austria)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 24 Mar 2019.,_Austria)&oldid=146266.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1959). Steinabrunn (Niederösterreich, Austria). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 March 2019, from,_Austria)&oldid=146266.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 624. All rights reserved.

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