Anabaptist Utopia

It was a religious movement, a reaction against corruption in the church, and a call for return to the values of Jesus. And it was also an appeal to radical egalitarianism, sharing of wealth, defiance of the prevailing feudal social order.

The Anabaptist rebellion was led originally by a baker from Haarlem in the Netherlands, named Jan Matthys. Matthys identified the German city of Münster as the New Jerusalem.  He was murdered viciously and his body displayed as an example to future rebels.  But the people of Münster were not to be deterred, and they elected the Anabaptist Bernhard Knipperdolling as mayor in 1534.

There was a year of chaos and freedom and rejoicing and suffering, as the Anabaptist experiment unfolded under Knipperdolling.  On this day in 1535, the Anabaptist rule was brutally crushed by the church authorities.

 

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