Horgen (Zürich, Switzerland)

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Horgen, a town (pop. 18,535 in 2007) in the canton of Zürich, Switzerland, some 9 miles (14.5 km.) south of the city of Zürich (coordinates: 47° 16′ 0″ N, 8° 36′ 0″ E) on the west bank of the lake of Zürich, a village in Reformation times subject politically and ecclesiastically to the city of Zürich. There are no traces of the Anabaptists in the village and surrounding area in the early 16th century, but the presence of a congregation in the neighborhood (Horgerberg) at the end of the century and the first half of the 17th suggests there must have been some members there earlier. A group of 15 Anabaptists were arrested in Horgen in 1589, four of whom were from Horgen and seven from adjoining Wadenswil. The four from Horgen included two preachers, Hans Landis and Heini Landis, also Uli Suter and Hans Summerauer. Hans Landis was the leader of the congregation.

In 1608 the strongest measures were applied to crush the Anabaptist movement in the region of Horgen, Wädenswil, and Hirzel. The records of the persecution reveal that the authorities estimated the group to consist of 40 men and women, who held their meetings in barns and forests or in the home of the farmer Hans Landis, at "that time over 60 years of age. Little is known about the congregation; but it was discovered to have a fund for the aid of the poor administered by Jacob Isler, apparently the deacon. Landis and Isler were arrested in 1608, but both escaped from their prison (the Wellenberg) in Zürich.

On 6 January 1613, a disputation was held in the Wädenswil castle with the 15 Anabaptists who responded to the invitation, at which the Reformed pastors of Wädenswil, Horgen, and Richterswil took part. Among the Anabaptist speakers were Galli Fuchs of Richterswil, who said he had been converted by a missioner from Moravia, and a certain Bachmann. The disputation was fruitless and resulted in the renewed application of severe penalties including confiscation of property, exile, and execution. In the summer of 1613 Landis, Isler, Fuchs, Stephan Zehender, Hans Meili, and Paul Degia (Galatz) were imprisoned. Pressure to recant having failed, vain attempts were made to get them to emigrate voluntarily. The six men were then sentenced to galley slavery, but Isler, Fuchs, and Zehender at last agreed to emigrate. The other three escaped from prison in Solothurn and returned to their homes. The affair awakened great sympathy for them and as a result the Anabaptist congregation grew. After a time the three were again imprisoned. Landis was finally beheaded on 29 September 1614, the last Anabaptist executed in Switzerland, although others later died in prison. Landis' widow was imprisoned for a time.

Upon this execution a number of the Anabaptists emigrated. In 1638, eight Anabaptists were discovered to be living in the environs of Horgen and Hirzel, three of them bearing the name Landis, and one Rudolf Baumann. In 1637 a large number were imprisoned in Zurich, one of them Hans Landis, the son of the martyr. Most of the captives were held in prison until 1640. In this year and the following years the Anabaptist congregation was broken by the confiscation of property, and most of the members apparently immigrated to Alsace and the Palatinate. Among those who suffered confiscation were Hans Landis, Felix Landis, Jakob Rusterholz, Konrad Strickler-Landis, Hans Rudolf Baumann-Landis, Oswald Landis, Uli Furrer, Hans Huber, Hans Asper, Elsbeth Hofstetter, Barbara Bruppach, Verena Bruppach (widow of Michel), and the widow of Heinrich Ritter. The proceeds of the confiscation were applied to the costs of the trials and imprisonment of the Anabaptists, and the remainder offered to the heirs who would return to the state church. This was the end of the Anabaptist congregation in Horgen, Wädenswil, and Hirzel. Numerous descendants of the Landis and Brubacher families are found today in South Germany and in the United States.


Klaui, Paul. Geschichte der Gemeinde Horgen. Horgen, 1952: 185-98.

Klaui, Paul. "Hans Landis of Zurich, the Last Anabaptist Martyr." Mennonite Quarterly Review (1948): 203-12.


Map:Horgen, Zürich

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Horgen (Zürich, Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 25 Mar 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Horgen_(Z%C3%BCrich,_Switzerland)&oldid=143602.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1959). Horgen (Zürich, Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 March 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Horgen_(Z%C3%BCrich,_Switzerland)&oldid=143602.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1094-1095. All rights reserved.

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