Fasser, Georg (d. 1537?)
Georg (Jörg) Fasser, an Anabaptist martyr, was a preacher of the Hutterian Brethren and with his wife belonged to Jakob Hutter's inner circle and after Hutter's death was closely associated with Leonhard Sailer (Lanzenstiel). He was a native of Kitzbühel, Tyrol, Austria. Nothing is known of his earlier life. His name is listed in the table of Anabaptists who escaped from Tyrol and whose property was confiscated.
The statement in this list, that "Georg Fasser has no possessions," must refer to real estate. For in connection with the dissension between Jakob Hutter and Siegmund Schützinger in 1533 it is known that Fässer put all his possessions (beds, chests, etc.) into the common room; his wife, who tried to reserve some money for her children, was severely reproved and expelled from the brotherhood, but was later reinstated, as Hutter expressly states in his letter of November 1533.
Valentin Luckner (Urgicht, 6 October 1533) reports that Georg Fasser conducted a service in the woods behind Michelsburg; 20 or 30 persons were present, among them the notable Anabaptist names of Hans Amon and Onophrius Griesinger.
Fasser was also a friend of Hieronymus Käls, who sent him greetings from prison. In 1533 he stayed in Moravia and watched the disagreement between Hutter on one hand and Philip and Gabriel on the other, and Hutter's ultimate success in creating order in the brotherhood. In the next two years he experienced the bitter persecution of the Anabaptists in Tyrol and in Moravia; this did not, however, deter him in carrying out his mission as an apostle.
In 1536 he accompanied Lanzenstiel to Austerlitz in Moravia. In Neudorf, Austria, they found several sisters and other good persons; in the tavern, however, "an immoral crowd." They found another inn, and people from the tavern followed them with violent derision. "As far as we were concerned, the matter was easy; but when they began to blaspheme we were moved with zeal to call their attention to their rascality."
The two were then captured and on the following day taken to Mödling (south of Vienna) and tried under torture. To Hans Amon they wrote, "We gave testimony to the truth in such a manner that they were all shocked and answered not a word." In the prison they lay "with ungodly and shameful people, whose company was very repulsive."
From May 8 to June 9 they sent at least six letters to Amon, to which he replied with comforting expressions. From the first letter we learn that "a dear brother from Vienna" was with them. The second letter expresses their desire to hear the worst concerning their fate and to depart from this world. With the fourth letter Lanzenstiel sends Amon Jakob Hutter's washcloth, apparently a keepsake from Hutter, concerning whose end Amon had told the prisoners. The fifth letter they thought would be their last, for the judges and council were threatening them with torture if they did not recant. The next letter says if they had not mentioned that Hieronymus Käls and his companions were their brethren they would have been released. An important personage had been with them and told them they must renounce certain articles if they wanted to be free. On 25 May a rich merchant's wife had visited them and described Hutter's death to them.
The news of the capture of two such proved brethren as Lanzenstiel and Fässer filled the brotherhood with dismay, since they had recently been deprived of their most capable leaders. Therefore Amon wrote them four letters expressing his concern, and urging them to "fight bravely to the end, for our beloved Jakob (Hutter) and Hieronymus (Käls) are waiting with the elect." His second letter was disconsolate, for he had received no word from the Puster Valley. In the fourth he admonished them to be faithful and think of dear Jakob who was true through all the torture. Fasser's Ursula had recently fallen asleep and had entered into her eternal rest.
After Fässer and Lanzenstiel had been in prison almost a year and were prepared for death they were mysteriously released. They went first to Trasenhofen in Lower Austria near the Moravian border. Fässer at once gathered a congregation at Peckstall in Austria. But he was betrayed by a man pretending to seek instruction and he was imprisoned again. The chronicles give two conflicting accounts of his death. According to one he was killed with the sword after severe torture in 1537; according to the other he was burned at the stake in 1538. His converts joined the brotherhood in Moravia.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon., 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: I, 633 f.
Loserth, Johann. Der Anabaptismus in Tirol. Vienna: F. Tempsky, 1892.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 313-314. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Loserth, Johann. "Fasser, Georg (d. 1537?)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/fasser_georg_d._1537.
APA style: Loserth, Johann. (1956). Fasser, Georg (d. 1537?). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/fasser_georg_d._1537.