Martyrs, Anonymous

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There were a number of Anabaptist-Mennonite martyrs whose names have not been preserved, and about whose fate, testimony, and sufferings nothing is known. Van Braght's Martyrs Mirror occasionally mentioned large numbers of anonymous martyrs. Delbert Gratz (Bernese Anabaptists) mentioned eight martyrs whose names were not known, executed at Bern, Switzerland, in 1530-1532. Concerning a few of these pious anonymous persons there is some information.

A man from Vueren (Veurne, Furnes in Belgium?) was executed there and died loyally for his faith. This happened (according to the Dutch martyrbook of 1615) in 1553. He was commemorated in the hymn, "In bitterheyt der sielen, claghe ick dit jammer groot" (In bitterness of soul I lament this great distress). This song, No. 11 of the Lietboecxken van den Offer des Heeren, was very popular among the Dutch Mennonites and was sung until the 18th century. It was included in a number of Dutch hymnals, including Veelderhande Liedekens of 1569 and also Stapel's Lusthof der Zielen until the last (7th) edition of 1743. (Offer, 547-550; Wackernagel, Lieder, 139; Wolkan, Lieder, 62, 78.)

Verheyden mentioned some anonymous martyrs at Ghent, Belgium. On 27 August 1568 a man was burned at the stake outside the Muydepoorte. Another martyr, a native of Merendree, was burned on 6 February 1569 in the territory of Gent St-Pieters, and two others on 2 August 1569 on the Vrijdagsmarkt. A woman was also burned at the stake on 3 October 1569. (Verheyden, Gent, 48, No. 153; 51, No. 169; 53, Nos. 175-76; 55, No. 181.)

Génard reported on the following anonymous martyrs at Antwerp, Belgium: a Mennonite man, burned at the stake on 12 October 1569 because "he persisted in his false creed" (Antw. Arch.-Blad XII, 420; XIV, 70 f., No. 787); another Mennonite man, burned at the stake on the market place on 10 September 1571 while "persisting in his false opinions" (ibid. XIII, 77; XIV, 86 f., No. 971); an unknown woman, burned at the stake on 18 May 1573 on the market place of Antwerp, because of her Mennonite opinions (ibid. XIII, 111; XIV, 90f, No. 1020). Willem Bax mentioned two women who were executed at Gangelt, near Milen, in 1556 and a man who was drowned in the neighboring Waldfeucht about 1558.


Bax, Willem. Het Protestantisme in het bisdom Luik en vooral te Maastricht. II. The Hague, 1941: 364 f.

Gratz, Delbert L. Bernese Anabaptists and their American descendants. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1953. Reprinted Elverson, PA : Old Springfield Shoppe, 1994: 20ff. Nos. 5, 6, 9, 26, 27, 30, 31, 33.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Martyrs, Anonymous." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 14 Jul 2020.,_Anonymous&oldid=128016.

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1957). Martyrs, Anonymous. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 July 2020, from,_Anonymous&oldid=128016.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 526-527. All rights reserved.

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