Berthold Aichele (or Aichelin) was imperial provost and provost of the Swabian League, who in 1528-1531 executed many Anabaptists in Württemberg and Tyrol at the command of Ferdinand, archduke of Austria. One of his notorious deeds was the attack on Mantelhof near Aalen, where on Christmas 1531 he captured the peasant owner and his son and had both hanged on a linden tree in Essingen, while he set fire to the buildings, killing all the others who remained true to their faith—seventeen in all. (According to Friedrich Roth, Aichele was no longer in the employ of the Swabian League in 1531, for in March 1530 he was already serving the Truchsess Georg von Waldburg.) The steadfastness of the Anabaptists in execution, particularly that of the Anabaptist missionary Offrus Griesinger in Tyrol in 1538, instilled fear into him, so that after Griesinger's death he vowed never again to execute an Anabaptist (Beck, 140). He was the chief agent of the Catholic authorities in suppressing Protestantism as well as Anabaptism and boasted of having hanged forty Protestant pastors and over 1,200 revolutionaries and heretics (Anabaptists). The report in Blätter für württembergische Kirchengeschichte (1892) that he was murdered in the spring of 1534 must be incorrect, since the Hutterite chronicles expressly state that he was present at the execution of Griesinger in 1538. He is the chief character of the historical novel Der Reichsprofos (Heilbronn, 1904) by Pastor Stehle of Heilbronn (pseudonym, Philipp Spiesz).
Beck, Josef, ed. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn, betreffend deren Schicksale in der Schweiz, Salzburg, Ober- und Nieder-Oesterreich, Mähren, Tirol, Böhmen, Süd-Deutschland, Ungarn, Siebenbürgen, und Süd-Russland in der Zeit von 1526 bis 1785. Vienna:Carl Gerold's Sohn, 1883: 27, 140.
Blätter für württembergische Kirchengeschichte (1892): 5; (1897): 22, 35.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 14.
Rauscher, Julius. Württembergische Reformationsgeschichte. Stuttgart: Calwer Vereinsbuch, 1934: 34.
Roth, Friedrich. Beiträge zur bayerische kirchengeschichte 18 (1912): 134.
Württembergische Kirchengeschichte. Stuttgart, 1893: 324.
Cite This Article
Hege, Christian. "Aichele, Berthold (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 20 Sep 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Aichele,_Berthold_(16th_century)&oldid=100306.
Hege, Christian. (1955). Aichele, Berthold (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 September 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Aichele,_Berthold_(16th_century)&oldid=100306.
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