Lörrach (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)
Lörrach is a town (1954 population 19,294; 2006 pop. 47,438) in Baden, Germany, seven miles (12 km) northeast of Basel. The castle of Rötteln, formerly the residence of the counts of Hachberg and of the margraves of Baden, was destroyed by the French in 1678 but was rebuilt in 1867.
In the vicinity of Lörrach Anabaptist doctrine coming from Basel early found adherents. For a long time the Anabaptists were able to hide from their persecutors in this border region. They held their meetings usually at night in isolated places in the woods. They also performed some baptisms in Lörrach in the house of Friedrich Ludi. In 1582 the congregation was discovered. Ten members were subjected to cross-examination by the pastors of Lörrach and the neighboring villages in the presence of the magistrate Konrad von Ulm. The record was sent to Durlach and is found in the Generallandesarchiv at Karlsruhe. It affords a good insight into the religious position of the South German Anabaptists. Those being questioned had to explain first their nonattendance at regular church services and then their views on communion, baptism, oath, and government. Most of them had only a few years previously joined the group. The reason given for leaving the state church was that they were dissatisfied with moral conditions within the church.
Their Christian earnestness is expressed especially in their concept of communion. Valentin Roser of Lörrach declared that only he who does the right and abstains from sin is worthy to receive communion. He had intended to go to communion at Easter, but had not done so, because someone had slandered him and he was undecided as to whether he should call him to account. Communion in the big church was participated in by many who did not repent or correct their lives. Hans Ludi of Lörrach, whom the local pastor called an Anabaptist preacher, stated that he did not go to communion in the church because there was no serious attempt made by its members to correct their conduct. A similar answer was given by Friedrich Ludi of Lörrach, a former judge. He pointed out that the partakers of the communion in the Lörrach church lived an offensive life through excessive drinking. He could not therefore attend church and communion. The pastor added in the report to the government, that Ludi desired nothing but to do what pleases God; he would separate himself from the ungodly. None of them wished to hurt anyone and were willing to obey the requirements of the government in all points.
The brotherhood seems to have been rather widespread. Evasive answers were given to questions about their preachers; they gave the name of a dead one, but they would not name the living ones. Clara Kreysin declared that she would betray no one, but finally admitted that their preacher came from Basel and his name was Marx. Leonhard Mayer, whose hometown is not named, admitted that one was called Friedle and lived on the other side of the Rhine, and another was from Riehen and others from Stetten.
The magistrate ordered the persons under trial to attend church in Lörrach henceforth or to be subject to a serious command from Durlach. For several Sundays they would be watched to see if they attended the sermon; if they did not come their possessions would be inventoried for later confiscation. A report of the magistrate to the government dated 23 August 1583 reveals that the accused did not attend the sermon, "but appeared disobedient." Their possessions were thereupon listed; but because of the plague prevalent in Lörrach nothing could be done against the Anabaptists. The pastors were instructed to admonish them.
Several men promised to go to church and to take communion. One of them, Germain Bertschin, added that the Anabaptists were pious and God-fearing, that they prayed earnestly, did not swear, and injured no one. But the rest stayed with their opinion and their brotherhood. Of Leonhard Dietrich in Oetlingen the local parson Franz Gut reported that he would pray God to show him the right way to salvation. Pastor Paul Cherber of Binzen reported concerning the widow M. Kreysin of Rümmingen that, "with the exception of disregard for going to church and the holy sacrament he knew nothing about her but love and goodness, uprightness and loyalty toward the poor."
Nonresident Anabaptists were banished from the town; there is no information on the fate of residents. Nor is there any later mention of the movement at Lörrach. The name Ludi (and Ludin) is still found in Lörrach.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 690 f.
Krebs, Manfred. Quellen zur Geschichte der Täufer. IV. Band, Baden and Pfalz. Gütersloh: C. Bertelsmann, 1951.
Mühlhäusser. "Die Wiedertäufer in Lörrach im Jahre 1582," in Studien der evangelisch-protestantischen Geistlichen des Grossherzogtums Baden. 1875: I, 24-33.
Cite This Article
Hege, Christian. "Lörrach (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 20 Jan 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=L%C3%B6rrach_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=146597.
Hege, Christian. (1957). Lörrach (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 January 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=L%C3%B6rrach_(Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg,_Germany)&oldid=146597.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 394-395. All rights reserved.
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