Bruinvis, Jan (18th century)

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Jan Bruinvis (Bruinvisch), a member of the Alkmaar Mennonite Bruinvis family, lived in Königsberg, Prussia, where he had established the largest warehouse in that city. He assisted with word and deed the Lithuanian Mennonites, who by an edict of Frederick William of Prussia (22 February 1732) had been expelled from Königsberg, but were later allowed to return and stay in the territory, the decree having been revoked. He acted as a mediator between these Mennonites and the Dutch Fonds voor Buitenlandsche Nooden and wrote a number of letters to Amsterdam, the first of which is dated 12 August 1711, and the latest 23 June 1744. A number of Lithuanian Mennonite families took ship at Königsberg for Holland; of these Bruinvis sent a list to the Amsterdam Commissie. Most of them returned in course of time. Bruinvis had assisted them in procuring passage to Holland, and when they returned, he helped them find land and houses, authorized financially to do so by the Dutch Commissie. He also acted in be half of the congregation of the Elbing Werder at Markushof. Bruinvis was a wealthy man, who liberally gave large amounts of money of his own for the sake of the oppressed Mennonites. Bruinvis was a member--and presumably a deacon--of the Königsberg Mennonite congregation. In a letter written by Jan Pieter Spronck, the minister of the church, dated 16 May 1735 to the Dutch committee (Inv. Arch. Amst. II, 2, No. 796) Bruinvis is accused of marrying outside the church, and of consenting to have his children baptized as infants. Nothing is known about his life; even the years of birth and death are unknown and it is not clear whether he himself after returning from Prussia to Holland, or his son, founded (about 1750) the Handelshuis (trading company) Bruinvis en Barreveld at Amsterdam.


Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: v. I, Nos. 1236, 1593, 1653, 1665, 1672, 1686, 1692, 1696, 1933, 2119; II, 2, Nos. 699, 746, 749, 753, 755, 758, 760 f., 765 f., 770, 772, 779, 784 f., 796, 806 f.

Randt, Erich. Die Mennoniten in Ostpreussen und Litauen bis zum Jahre 1772. Königsberg i. Pr.?: E. Randt, 1912: 57.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Bruinvis, Jan (18th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 27 May 2018.,_Jan_(18th_century)&oldid=110600.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1953). Bruinvis, Jan (18th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 May 2018, from,_Jan_(18th_century)&oldid=110600.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 451. All rights reserved.

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