History of the Hutterites

A.) Establishment of the Hutterite Community and early history (until 1536)

The Hutterites are a branch of the Anabaptist movement. They are named after HANS HUTER, a leader they elected in Moravia in 1533. The Hutterites emerged in TYROL and SWITZERLAND, where they practised anabaptised christianity - bible lectures and discussions, communities without priests, run by laymen, adult baptism. They are strictly pacifist. They shared both labour and harvest, living in communist communities modeled after those of early christianity; these communities were referred to as brethren's farms. Although they tried to hide their anabaptist identity from neighbours and authorities, they from 1529 onward experienced state suppression. Hans Huter, having been informed that at Austerlitz in Moravia Anabaptists were tolerated, sent groups of Tyrolean Hutterites to Moravia and went there himself in 1531. In 1535, Huter was arrested, estradited to Tyrol where he was executed.

B.) The Spread of Hutterite Communities

In 1600, the Hutterite community of Moravia was estimated at over 15,000.
Hutterite communities then were founded in various regions of Germany - outside Tyrol the strongest concentrations were in Swabia, the Rhineland, Bavaria and Hessen; in the period of the COUNTERREFORMATION they suffered severe suppression, and a number of communities disappeared. Then in Switzerland, Slovakia and Transylvania (in 1621). Many communities managed to survive over extensive periods, keeping contacts with the outside world, especially with state authorities, at a minimum. Often they were the subject of state suppression.
Maria Theresia ordered a policy aiming at converting the Transylvania Hutterites to Catholicism; groups of Hutterites then moved into the Ukraine.

Die Wiedertäufischen Hutterer, from Humboldt-Gesellschaft (The Anabaptist Hutterites), in German
Die Hutterer in Tirol, from IMWAC (The Hutterites in Tyrol), in German
Hutterite History, from hutterites.org, in English
Bibliography on Hutterites, from Mennonite Church of Canada
GAMEO . Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online
DOCUMENTS 1517-1525 : The Beginnings of Anabaptism as told in The Chronicle of the Hutterian Brethren, Vol. 1, pp. 41-47, posted by Biblical Viewpoints Publications; in English
REFERENCE Mark Greengrass, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation c.1500-1618, Harlow (Essex): Longman 1998, pp.109, KMLA Lib.Sign. 374.06 GB 121

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 9th 2003, last revised on November 7th 2006

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