Zweibrücken (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)
Zweibrücken, Palatinate, Germany, an industrial city (1959 pop. 25,725; 2005 pop. 35,393) located 20 miles southwest of Kaiserslautern on the edge of the Saar district and only 5 miles from the French (Lorraine) border to the South. It was the capital of the former independent duchy of Pfalz-Zweibrücken (a tiny 400 sq. mi. principality) from 1410 to 1799, when its ruler Maximilian became King of Bavaria. Whereas there were Anabaptists in the district of Bergzabern in the eastern part of the duchy (see Zweibrücken, Duchy of), in the immediate area of the city of Zweibrücken there are no evidences of the movement.
In the 17th century, following the close of the Thirty Years' War (1648), Swiss Mennonites from the canton of Bern began to come to the duchy and by 1680 had established a congregation which later became known as Ernstweiler because in 1843 it built a meetinghouse in this village very near to the city of Zweibrücken. It was for a time known as "the congregation at Zweibrücken." The Namensverzeichnis of 1857 lists the congregation as Zweibrücken (163 baptized members) with Christian Lehmann, Sr. as elder (ord. 1819). An Amish congregation also developed here which came to be known as Ixheim, because in 1844 a schism resulted in one faction building a meetinghouse in that village, which is now a suburb of Zweibrücken. (The first Amish settlers apparently came from Alsace after Louis XIV had expelled the Mennonites from France in 1712.) It was in existence as a congregation at least by 1759 since it sent two delegates to the Amish Conference at Essingen near Landau in that year, and again to the second Essingen Conference of 1779; both times it is listed in the minutes as the Zweibrücken congregation. It is listed in the Dutch Naamlijst of the 18th century usually under the name Hirschberg-Kirschbach, probably after some of the meeting places used by the congregation. However, the 1888 Mannhardt Jahrbuch lists the congregation as Zweibrüken-Ixheim, with 226 baptized members and Joseph Stalter as elder.
The modern Zweibrücken congregation was formed in 1937 by the merger of the Ernstweiler Mennonite and Ixheim Amish congregations. It is a subsidiary to the Kaiserslautern congregation, as Ernstweiler was before 1937, even though it has (1957) 200 baptized members. Services are held in a rented hall in the city, served by Theo Hotel, the Kaiserslautern pastor. Since 1949 the members of the congregation living in the Saar district have been organized as the Saar congregation, with 252 (1957) baptized members.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1049. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Bender, Harold S. "Zweibrücken (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Z943.html.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. (1959). Zweibrücken (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Z943.html.