Erpolzheim (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)
Erpolzheim, a village in the Rhenish Palatinate, Germany, near Bad Dürkheim, the seat of a Mennonite church which has always been closely connected with Friedelsheim. Its existence before the Thirty Years’ War is probable, for on 20 October 1600, the Reformed Church Council at Heidelberg reported to the elector that “in the vicinity of Erpolzheim the Anabaptists hold their night meetings” (Hege, 163). Since Erpolzheim belonged to the county of Hardenburg, the Mennonites living there were not listed in the registers required by the Palatine government. Only once was there an incidental reference in the records of the Karlsruhe Generallandesarchiv, stating that a Mennonite by the name of Nikolaus Zerger lived in Erpolzheim about 1689, whose Mennonite maid Anna Marie joined the Reformed Church. In 1732 a deacon of the Friedelsheim church was a Hans Berger, who lived at Erpolzheim (Müller, 211). In the Lutheran and Reformed registers of deaths the following Mennonite names occur (1753-1797): Johannes Ummel (died 1764), Berger, Herbach, Rothen, Ellenberger, Neff, Latscha, Eicher, Bergtholdt, Herstein, Schnebel, Lichti, Wissler, Pletscher, Kinzinger, Zercher, Gut.
In a commissary’s list to the French army (1795-1796) are found these names: Johannes and Heinrich Bergtholdt, Johannes and Peter Pletscher, Nikolaus and Georg Hodel, Johannes Latscha’s widow, Jakob Schnebele’s widow, and Heinrich Berger’s widow. According to a later war-debt list the following lived at Erpolzheim in 1807: Peter Pletscher, Jakob Schnebele’s widow, Jakob Schnebele’s children from his first marriage, Johannes Latscha’s widow, Philip Hodel, Katharina Hodelin, Heinrich Ummel, Jakob and Heinrich Bergtholdt, Heinrich Berger’s widow, and Christian Hirstein.
The church seems to have been strongest in the second half of the 18th century, perhaps even surpassing Friedelsheim. According to Frey there were in Erpolzheim in 1802, 40 Mennonites, in 1834 only 10; perhaps many had emigrated to America. In 1923 two families, Becker and Bergtholdt, were living there. In 1954 there were resident in Erpolzheim 20 members of the Friedelsheim congregation, 11 of whom were refugees from the Danzig area.
According to the Dutch Naamlijsten the elders and ministers of the Erpolzheim-Friedelsheim congregation (first mentioned in 1766) were as follows: elders—Abraham Ellenberger, 1738-1776(?); Abraham Ellenberger, Jr., 1776-?; Jacob Näff, Heinrich Wiesler, and Heinrich Pletscher, all 1790-?; preachers—Abraham Ellenberger, 1738 (then made elder); Peter Becker, 1752-1776; Johannes Strohm, 1757 (died 1780); Abraham Ellenberger, Jr., 1761-1776 (then made elder); Heinrich Wiesler, 1762-1790 (then made elder); Heinrich Pletscher, 1782-1790 (then made elder); Heinrich Krämer, 1785 (1790).
In 1756 a member by the name of Johannes Ummel built a little hall with a chamber over his winepress and put it at the disposal of the congregation. After his death, however, his sons closed its doors to them. In 1788 the farm again came into the possession of a Mennonite preacher, Johann Heinrich Wissler, who sold the hall to the congregation for 400 guilders. It was entered in the Grundbuch as the property of the Friedelsheim congregation in 1902. During the summer months six or seven meetings were held here, which are attended by the Mennonites at Erpolzheim, Freinsheim, and Dackenheim, who are members of Friedelsheim.
Frey, Michael. Historisch-statistisch Beschreibung des . . . Rheinkreises. Speyer, 1836-1837.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: I, 608 f.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 246. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Foth, Johannes and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Erpolzheim (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 18 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/erpolzheim_rheinland_pfalz_germany.
APA style: Foth, Johannes and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1956). Erpolzheim (Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/erpolzheim_rheinland_pfalz_germany.