Pribitz Bruderhof (Pribice, Jihomoravský kraj, Czech Republic)
Pribitz (Priebitz; Czech, Pribice), a Hutterite Bruderhof located several miles south of Selibice (German, Selowitz) in Moravia on an elevation on the left bank of the Iglava; when the Brethren settled here in 1565 it belonged to the Selowitz domain, which had been acquired by their great benefactor Friedrich von Zierotin, who later became lord of Moravia. The Brethren built the entire Bruderhof; it soon developed into one of the best in the land. On 17 February 1572, this Bruderhof confirmed Wendel Holba (or Müller) and Rupp Gellner as preachers, and on 19 April 1573, three additional preachers, and again on 27 April 1575, three preachers. On 23 May 1575, five more were confirmed by the elder by the laying on of hands. Here the deacon Valtin Preindl died in 1576, and the well-known Peter Walpot on 30 January 1578, one of the three elders, "highly endowed with the Spirit of God and an ornament of the entire brotherhood." Here also occurred the death of the preacher Josef Doppelhammer (or Schuster) on 24 December 1580, "who from his youth had been with and was raised in the brotherhood." In 1582 the deacon Christian Häring died, who had served the brotherhood for forty years and was one of the Brethren who had been condemned to the galleys, but who escaped in Trieste; also on 30 December 1586 (in some manuscripts 2 February 1587), occurred the death of the preacher Geörg Planer or Uhrmacher.
A thriving industry in Pribitz was that of clock making; its fame was spread throughout the land. The town of Mödritz obtained a tower clock from the Bruderhof in 1572 for the price of thirty florins. But also the medical arts were given special attention here as they were also in Nikolsburg. Especially the noblemen preferred to employ the Pribitz physicians (barber-surgeons). The baron of Vostitz (Wastitz) and Pürschitz, Franz, Count Thurn Valsassina, for instance, summoned Tengler, a physician of the Bruderhof, to care for his son, who was wounded in the war against the Turks in 1583; the treatment was successful in restoring him.
According to a tax list of the Selowitz domain the Bruderhof in the 1590's owned a smithy with a garden, a meadow, some vineyards, a hop garden, a river fishery, and a cemetery, for which an annual tax of 16 florins had to be paid. On 8 January 1594, occurred the death of Jakob of Hinnen (or Kiss), and on 2 September 1599, David Hasel (see Michael Hasel), both preachers; on 10 January 1606, Johann Rath, "an outstanding preacher of the Gospel." Here Michel Grossman was confirmed as an elder on 5 February 1606, and two brethren were chosen to the office of preacher. On 12 February 1609, the deacon Mathes Pühler died here.
In 1609 the parish of Freiberg in Moravia purchased of the Pribitz Brethren a clock for the church tower for 250 florins. For Franz, Cardinal of Dietrichstein, they made a clock in 1613 for the sum of 170 talers, and an equally costly one for the Archduke Maximilian, who requested their baron, Johann Dionys von Zierotin, to place the order for him.
In Pribitz occurred the death of the two deacons, Michel Ritter on 27 February 1615, and Merthin Hederich on 1 May 1616; also the death of the preacher Hänsel Stam on 1 December 1616. In autumn 1619 the fateful invasion of Moravia by Dampierre's troops took place; twelve Bruderhofs fell as victims to them. The Pribitz Brethren sought to escape the danger by removing the sick and aged as well as the children to Austerlitz. On their return on 14 September the aged, the ill, and the children, being brought home from Austerlitz and Lettonitz on twelve wagons, fell into the hands of Dampierre's men, who at once shot down three Brethren accompanying the caravan, scattered the women and children into "the water, moor, and reeds," raping four of the women. The troops took all the wagons with their provisions and forty horses. The scattered victims did not venture to come out of hiding for three or four days, and "there was in this crowd such great misery, fear, and terror and distress, also a lamentable crying and weeping of the young and old that it would have moved a stone to pity."
But the Pribitz Bruderhof was to be visited by even greater disaster. On 28 July 1620, on a Tuesday morning at three o'clock, "while all the people were lying in bed without worry," the Bruderhof was attacked by imperial horsemen and musketeers, mostly Poles, who in less than three hours murdered 52 of the Brethren, including a young mother with her child, "tortured some for money" by burning them with glowing irons, cutting wounds into the calves of the legs and setting fire to powder placed into the cuts, pouring hot fat over their naked bodies, pinching off fingers, and other satanic measures. In addition about sixty persons were seriously wounded, "shot, stabbed, and beaten," some of whom died of their wounds; a total of 71 persons lost their lives. Most of the women, "married and single, also some girls of ten or twelve years," were abused before the eyes of their families. The wounded Vorsteher Hans Jakob Wolf, a large number of women, and several men, a total of 70 persons, "together with an inexpressibly severe robbery, also all the horses, cattle and oxen, all the cows, and much food, were taken away." The "Pribitzer Lied" describes this in detail. In December, when the neighborhood was plundered and pillaged, the brotherhood of Pribitz fled to Pausram. On 5 January 1621, the Pribitz Bruderhof was robbed and burned down by imperial troops. By order of Cardinal Dietrichstein one of the five caches of money betrayed by Vorsteher Hirzel was dug up by Count Breuner on 23 July; after a long search a second was found on 30 July. Adam von Waldstein, who acquired the Selowitz lands in 1616, complained to the Cardinal about the removal of this money; the latter referred him to the imperial court from whom the Cardinal claimed to have received a letter sanctioning the course. In October 1622 Pribitz had to be evacuated and all that they had rebuilt left behind.
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967; the "Priebitzer Lied" is found on the following pages: 379, 380, 382, 383, 385, 387.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: III, 397 f.
Hruby, Franticec. "Die Wiedertäufer in Mähren." Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte XXX-XXXII (1935).
Unger, Th. "Ueber eine Wiedertäufer-Liederhandschrift des 17. Jahrhunderts." Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für die Gesch. des Protestantismus in Oesterreich XV (1894): 24 f.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923.
Wolny, Gregor. Kirchliche Topographie von Mähren II: Brünner Erzdiözese I (Brno, 1856): 294; II (Brno, 1858): 235 f.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 218-219. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Dedic, Paul. "Pribitz Bruderhof (Pribice, Jihomoravský kraj, Czech Republic)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/pribitz_bruderhof_pribice_jihomoravsky_kraj_czech.
APA style: Dedic, Paul. (1959). Pribitz Bruderhof (Pribice, Jihomoravský kraj, Czech Republic). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/pribitz_bruderhof_pribice_jihomoravsky_kraj_czech.