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Turmbücher, the records of the court proceedings against the prisoners in Bern, Switzerland, who were held in various prisons (towers). Numerous examinations of the Anabaptists were recorded in these Turmbücher. They contain material of primary importance to the history of the Swiss Mennonites of the 16th century. The trials were usually conducted by two members of the city council in the presence of a clergyman and the state's attorney (Staatsanwalt), The "obstinate" were examined in the "Marzili," the usual site of torture down on the Aar, used to force them to betray their leaders.

The oldest extant Turmbuch begins with 1545. The books containing the records of the executed Anabaptists have disappeared, not only those of the turbulent years before 1543, when so many Swiss Brethren were put to death for their faith, but also those of the time that saw the execution of Wälti Gerber (1566) and Hans Haslibacher (1571). These gaps cannot be merely accidental. Were consciences burdened by these cruel Anabaptist persecutions?


Fluri, Adolf. "Täuferhinrichtungen in Bern im 16. Jahrhundert." Berner Heim, 1896.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV. 367.

Author(s) Samuel Geiser
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Geiser, Samuel. "Turmbücher." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 Jan 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Turmb%C3%BCcher&oldid=144642.

APA style

Geiser, Samuel. (1959). Turmbücher. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 January 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Turmb%C3%BCcher&oldid=144642.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 756. All rights reserved.

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