Update planned, Jan. 2023
Original post from 2015:
I’m writing this post from Münster, Germany, where I’m visiting a colleague (Ralf Klötzer) and doing some research. If you know my work or even just spend a few quick minutes clicking through some of the other entries in this blog site, you will notice that the history of “Anabaptist” Münster is a major subject of my scholarship. Since the recent death of Karl-Heinz Kirchhoff, Ralf is the expert on this important subject. If you are in Münster and would like to learn more about noteworthy sites related to this theme, you can probably book a guided tour that he will lead (see the tour offerings of the StattReisen company). The pictures below show some of the sites you would visit on that tour.
It was through Kreuztor that the siege army broke into the city in late June 1535. I posted about this in June 2015. In the background (almost at the centre of the arbor) you can see the sign of the Pinkus Müller Brewery Restaurant. It’s a landmark in the city, but its roots “only” go back to the beginning of the 19th century.
The three cages hanging from the Lamberti tower (difficult to see because of picture size) are the originals that were used to display the bodies of 3 of the Anabaptist leaders after their executions in January 1536. I took the picture from the memorial stones. The stones date from around 2002.
One of the memorial stones is inscribed “1534 Wiedertäufer”. Wiedertäufer is the German name for Anabaptists, but most scholars writing in German now tend to use the less pejorative term Täufer (Baptist) to describe these men and women. Although “Anabaptist” is the common term in English-language scholarship for the continental European baptist traditions of which the Mennonites and Hutterites are examples, I am becoming more and more uncomfortable with the term. That is why I have modified it in some of my uses in this post (see the post title). I intend to write more about the problems of names in a coming post (update: see Michael Driedger, “The Year 1625, the Dutch Republic, and Book History” .
I’ll end this post with a short video of one of the pillars in front of Münster’s city hall (also on the Prinzipalmarkt). The pillar depicts the three Ana/Baptist leaders whose bodies were placed in the cages: Bernd Knipperdolling, Bernd Krechting, and Jan van Leiden (listed in order of appearance in the video).
Many thanks to Ralf Klötzer for his hospitality during my stay in Münster!
All photos are by Mike Driedger, 19 and 20 August 2015, taken with an iPad. For the approximate locations of the photos, see the map below.