Konstanz (Constance), a city (1954 pop. 42,200; 2007 pop. 81,006) on the Bodensee, Baden, Germany, a Roman Catholic bishop's seat until 1817, when it was suppressed. Here John Huss was burned at the stake in 1415. Anabaptism appeared here very early. Already in 1524 Urban Rhegius wrote to Thomas Blaurer (Schiess, Briefwechsel der Brüder Ambrosius und Thomas Blaurer I, 94) warning him of it. Let Johann Wanner, the new cathedral preacher, "close their (the Anabaptists') mouths with the hammer of the Scriptures." Wanner wrote to Vadian (Briefsammlung III, No. 117, p. 281): "I wish all Anabaptists were wiped out." Hubmaier stopped briefly in Konstanz in 1526 en route to Nikolsburg. Egli (Die Züricher Wiedertäufer, 74) mentions an Anabaptist preacher by the name of Mumprat of Konstanz in Zürich, of whom hardly anything else is known.
In 1527 the Anabaptists Hans Bulstein of Augsburg and Hans Zurzacher of Zurzach came into the city. "But as soon as it was discovered that they were preaching their doctrine, they were laid in the tower, kept there several days, and were released on Monday, 7 October 1527, and banished from the city upon an oath not to return, but allowed to remain until Sunday; but they should talk to no one about doctrine except in the presence of the regular preacher." "Citizens adhering to the Anabaptist error were warned and threatened with imprisonment" (E. Issel, Die Reformation in Konstanz).
In 1528 Ludwig Haetzer came to Konstanz. He was arrested and executed on 4 February 1529. His execution caused great excitement in the city, revealing how much sympathy there was among the citizenry with Haetzer and the Anabaptists. Thomas Blaurer called the Anabaptists a "pious and calm people in all temporal matters." Johann Zwick, the Protestant pastor in Konstanz, and the most outstanding co-reformer with Ambrosius Blaurer, also expressed himself very favorably concerning them.
But urged by Zwingli the council at first expelled them from the city. Christoph Schultheiss (Collektaneen IV, 14) wrote, "On 12 July 1529 Achatius Frömbd of Konstanz and Steffan Müller of Urach were seized on account of Anabaptism; they have sworn to leave the city."
On 9 April 1530 Urban Mennel was warned by the council that he should not permit an Anabaptist to enter his house, and report to the council any who came. On 12 June 1530 the council warned Marx Seidensticker that he should refrain from rebaptizing on penalty of prosecution. And on 25 June, Ulrich Eigenmann, Jos. Peter, and his daughters Barbara and Anna, as well as Frau von Friberg of Bavaria, were ordered not to shelter Anabaptists and not to get mixed up with that faith. On 11 November 1532, Brother Hans was banished from the city "on account of Anabaptism." On 18 November Frau von Friberg met the same fate. In April 1538 Urban Mennel was again warned and threatened with expulsion. The last mention of Anabaptists contained in the council records of Konstanz was dated 23 May 1579. The daughters of the deceased Altbürgermeister, who had openly confessed Anabaptism, were deprived of their citizenship, and "although they had forfeited their life and goods to the imperial recesses and written laws, the council out of love and honor to their dear parents and relatives, has granted them a month to leave the city." Gradually the movement was completely suppressed in Konstanz.
Gröber, Konrad. "Die Reformation in Konstanz 1517-1532," in the Freiburger Diözesan-Archiv. 1919: 215, 252, 286.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 544.
Issel, Ernst. Die Reformation in Konstanz: hauptsächlich nach handschriftlichen Quellen. Freiburg i.B.: Mohr, 1898.
Krebs, Manfred. Baden und Pfalz, Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer. Gütersloh, 1951: IV, 451-471, gives the Anabaptist documents for Konstanz and also "Thomas Blarers Bericht an Wilhelm Zell über das Ende Ludwig Hetzers." Konstanz, 1529.
Ruppert, Ph. Konstanzer geschichtl. Beiträge V. 36.
Cite This Article
Neff, Christian. "Konstansz (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 5 Mar 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Konstansz_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=107456.
Neff, Christian. (1953). Konstansz (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 5 March 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Konstansz_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=107456.
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