Prelude

Leopold Anton Leutherius von Farmian was the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg during the Baroque Period. It was under him that the 200 year old religious struggle was dealt with in a radical way. The Lutheran heresy was no longer above ground. It had gone underground. Protestantism had been nurtured through no-Roman Catholic books and pamphlets that found their way into Austria through foreign lumber men, returning travellers, miners and others who felt the conditions for a change of religion were favourable in the land in light of the tolerance of Harrach the former Prince Archbishop who had reduced the restrictions and laws against Protestant literature. There were far too few pastoral care stations to meet the spiritual needs of the people. The people were hours away from churches. The clergy preached mainly about the rosary, indulgences, fraternities, and were most concerned about their priestly fees and showed themselves to be incapable of winning over the secret Lutheran Evangelicals. (This was not only true in Salzburg alone. The same situation was just as bad in Bavaria where the Holy Trinity was confused with the Virgin Mary or one of the saints.) This was common knowledge at the court of the Prince Archbishop.

Leopold Anton, influenced by his Court Chancellor Cristiani di Rollo from the Tyrol wanted to take the sterner action as early as 1728 when he called in Jesuits from Bavaria as “missionaries”. The oppression that they initiated is the blackest page in Salzburg’s Annals and history, a real tragedy. The clergy opposed the Jesuit mission from the start. Some refused to support the mission in any way. Even the Archbishop himself had to make them abandon their “mission theatre” in the city of Salzburg that the Jesuits said would attract 30,000 people in front of the Salzburg cathedral. The underground Lutherans in Salzburg turned to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Regensburg. Ever since 1730 an increasing mass of petitions and calls for assistance were sent to them by the beleaguered Protestants. Secret organizations like the “Salzbund” which had been formed by 150 peasants in Schwarzach on August 5, 1731 received nurture and support from Regensburg. Finally, a petition signed by 19,000 Lutheran residents in the region who were undergoing difficulty and religious repression requested either freedom to practice their religion or be allowed to emigrate without hindrance. The Peace of Westphalia of the previous century provided at least a three year timeframe for dissenters to arrange their affairs to leave and had the freedom to hold religious services in their homes until they left.

The first alternative was not something a Catholic Prince would ever consider, so only the second was a possible option. The petitioners knew nothing about “the treason” involved in their request but the Court in Salzburg did. For the Court of the Prince Archbishop, this request for freedom was a release from the feudal shackles that bound them to the Prince. He would use this to back up the severe charges he laid against the peasants who had the vague hope that the Protestant princes of Germany would send troops to release them. This movement to leave that was taking place among them was seen as open rebellion and high treason against the state authority. This was far too reminiscent of the Peasants Wars 1525/1526. It was simply wishful thinking of their part. The Archbishop’s claim that the peasants were in revolt against him was not taken seriously by anyone and no one supported him so that Leopold Anton had to appeal to the Emperor for troops.

In July 1731 a commission was sent into the mountain areas to investigate the peasant’s complaints. The response of the commission to the charges was rather mild and it imposed punishments where necessary and permitted household services. At the end of September one thousand of the Emperor’s troops arrived. Approximately 50 “ringleaders” were arrested and the Protestant peasants were unarmed. There was no resistance. On October 1 the unrest was silenced as far as the authorities were concerned.

On October 31, 1731 surprisingly enough on “Reformation Day” the Emigration Patent was promulgated in which non-resident servants and maids had eight days to emigrate and those remaining would have to leave when their spring terms ended. The emigrants had to have documents and custom certificates and had fees to pay and an extra ten per cent tax on any property or goods they took with them. A return to Salzburg was absolutely forbidden. The Patent which made the officials shudder themselves was proclaimed on Sunday, November11th. The peasants would sooner die than emigrate but they would not give up their faith.

On November 24th the expulsion of the non-residents began with Imperial troops assisting in the apprehending of the people in question. Only now the diplomatic manoeuvring began. Bavaria and the Tyrol initially refused to accept them or let them pass through their land because they were presented to them as beggars. The Protestant princes who were engaged in negotiations with the Emperor to support the Pragmatic Sanction threatened to take reprisals on their Catholic subjects if Salzburg did not permit freedom of religion to its population and wanted guarantees to that affect. Firmian based his position on the fact that the peasants deserved to be expelled because of their rebellious activities. But how could he prove their rebellion? The ambassador from Salzburg in Regensburg, Freiherr von Zillerberg had to use all of his diplomatic skills in the service of the Prince Archbishop to carry out his orders. But despite all of his best efforts no one was really convinced of his position on the matter.

The tension was finally relieved by the invitation of Prussia to receive 10,000 of the Evangelical Lutherans. The King of Prussia and Firmian achieved immediate rapport. The invitation was received warmly in Protestant areas and the generous invitation of Prussia resulted in an emigration fever among the peasants who had not wanted to leave at any price a short time before. As a result, many of those who had not even considered emigration now left, not for the sake of their faith but simply but because relatives and friends were going and they didn’t want to remain in their deserted mountain villages. The total that left was 20,000, most of whom left for East Prussia, some to Hannover, Holland and North America at Ebenezer, Georgia. The emigration created an uproar in all of Germany. Emperor Karl (Charles) VI stood on the side of the Archbishop but his ministers were opposed to the proceedings, which created difficulties for future Imperial politics. But Firmian and his Chancellor put hand to the pen and carried out their programme despite any opposition or threats from the Lutheran Churches and their own government ministers.

Archbishop Firmian’s personal involvement in the emigration (expulsion) is difficult to assess. In the mountains of documents related to this action there is nothing in his own handwriting nor are there questions or notations of his own. He does not seem to have cared much about the running or planning of the emigration programme. After the expulsion he divided the area into four large missionary districts using different orders in each: Augustinians, Capuchins, Franciscans and Benedictines.

History of the Salzburg Lutherans

The first Lutheran preacher in the city of Salzburg was Paulus Speratus. He was a Swabian by birth and in 1512 he was well known as both an Imperial and Papal notary as well as a teacher of Canon Law. As a result he was named preacher at Zell am See where he served from 1514-1516. He was then called to be the chief preacher at the city church in Salzburg the so-called Church of Our Lady now the Franciscan Church. What happened to create his move to Würzburg as cathedral preacher two years later is unknown. But in Würzburg he made no secret of his Lutheran convictions and as a result he married secretly. His wife as Anna Fuchs. He left Würzburg and returned to Salzburg. His preaching was met with great interest and acceptance on the part of the townspeople. Large numbers of his listeners were won to the teachings of Luther.

At this point, Matthias Lang, the Prince Archbishop stepped in and had him banished from his territory. But Paulus Speratus kept in contact with his followers in the town. He was now serving in Dinkelsbühl. Later he went on to Vienna for a short stay. It was in St. Stephen’s cathedral that he preached his famous Evangelical sermon on the defence of the marriage of priests. He was forced to flee from Vienna to Iglau in Moravia and later as Bishop of Pomerania he introduced Lutheranism into his diocese.

Throughout the bishopric of Salzburg there were other men who preached in the same vein as Speratus, both in the towns and countryside. Very few are now known by name.

Valentine Villrӧssl, a former priest, journeyed throughout the area as a Lutheran “preacher”. He was especially active at Dioenten and Rauris. Like the other “preachers” he introduced Holy Communion in both kinds. (Both bread and wine were administered to the communicants.)

The miners in Gastein identified themselves as Lutherans and were served by a “wandering preacher” well versed in the scriptures and was the obvious author of “24 Articles” presented by them at the time of the Peasants’ War.

There is far more information on Constantine Schalfhauser a Roman Catholic priest. He was one of the many children of the parish priest in Hallein, Virgil Schalfhauser. He like many other priests lived in concubinage. As a young vicar Constantine also lived in such a relationship modelled on his father’s example. He fathered three children. He attracted a large following at Kuchl in response to his Lutheran preaching where he served as co-pastor. In March 1564 he was ordered to Salzburg to defend and justify his Lutheran preaching but instead he left Kuchl and declared he no longer desired to serve as a priest.

He new became a wandering Lutheran preacher, now here, now there, throughout the province of Salzburg and neighbouring Upper Austria. During a stay in Bischofschofen on September 3, 1564 the peasants forced their way into the church and after he preached they asked to received Holy Communion in both kinds. As a result, his arrest was ordered but he remained in Bischofshofen for quite a long time and then went into hiding among the Lutherans in St. Veit and eventually was forced to flee to Upper Austria. His “common law wife” Christina, who called herself his wife had previously been arrested and taken and imprisoned in Salzburg.

On October 14, 1565 Schlafhauser was apprehended at St. Gilgen. At about the same time his wife and their children were driven out of the Bishopric of Salzburg. He was brought to Salzburg and put on trial. He either died in chains in prison or more probably he was secretly taken to the frontier and expelled from the Archbishop’s domains.

The priest Georg Scherer was condemned to death and beheaded at Radstadt because of his Evangelical faith and preaching. On April 10, 1528 his corpse was burned on a funeral pyre. Flacius Illyricus, in his booklet on the Salzburg martyrs reports all the information we have of him. Scherer was born in Saalfelden in the Pinzgau District of Salzburg. He had been a priest for nine years before he joined the Franciscan Order. Under the influence of Martin Luther’s writings he left the order after three years of inner struggle to do so and left the monastery. In his own confession of faith, Item 22, he tells of the reason for his decision.

“It is only three years ago that I began to loose my chains. The reasons were jealousy and hatred at first, disunity, quarrels and feuds among the bare foot monks and their hypocritical lives without any signs of the fruits of righteousness. I had previously been a secular priest for nine years before I became a barefoot monk. I became a monk to gain God’s attention and instead I met the Devil. But soon afterwards I was won over to the truth of the Evangelical teaching and I no longer wanted to be part of the Brotherhood of St. Francis but rather the Brotherhood of Christ, because St. Francis did not suffer for me, nor did he die for me and he is not my mediator or Saviour but instead Christ died for me and He alone is my Mediator and Saviour only through Him can I be saved and made holy.” His comments indicate that Luther’s teaching of the necessity of God’s grace was at the core of his faith.

“If we had to earn our way into the Kingdom, then Christ became human for no purpose, suffered for nothing, shed his blood to no avail and died and rose again for nothing.”

In 1525, following his exit from the monastery and the Franciscan Order he came to Radstadt as a preacher and through his exposition of the Gospel won many adherents. He discovered the truth of the Gospel at ever deeper levels. He was reported to Matthias Lang the Prince Archbishop because of his Lutheran position and convictions and had him arrested and put on trial. But in prison he was not afraid to testify to the truth of his Evangelical faith. Why he was condemned and beheaded is uncertain. The Archbishop normally relied on imprisonment and banishment in such cases.

But the peasants of Radstadt remained true to their newly espoused Evangelical faith and remained steadfast as their beloved pastor had been to the end. Even 90 years after their parish priest complained that the vast majority of the peasants still boycotted mass.

What were the major causes for the spread of Luther’s teaching in the Bishop of Salzburg? There were several.

a) The State of the Priesthood. It was in need of as much reform as the Church itself. They were guilty of feuds, carried weapons, gave up clerical dress, visited prostitutes, had concubines, did not pay their debts, embezzlement of offerings and tithes. Of course there were others who were examples to the flock but for the most part these were the very men who were won for the Reformation.

b) The Latin Mass. It was unintelligible to the people. There were few schools to provide religious instruction or any kind of education. There was no religious literature per se to nurture the faith of the people. Through Luther, some priests learned to use the people’s language in preaching and proclaiming God’s Word. Evangelical writings and service books entered the land and were immediately purchased by eager buyers. The local yearly markets became the main source to purchase Lutheran writings including the broadsides and cartoons aimed at the simply peasants.

c) Luther’s Catechism. It was used to instruct people in the basic tenets of the Christian faith. Those peasant farmers and tradesmen and artisans who could read gathered their neighbours in their homes and read them the proscribed Evangelical books. From these “readings” services of worship evolved and an “awakening” took place. Each participant felt he had to share the “truths” he had discovered with others. Priests, peasants, miners and craftsmen became “Prediger” (preachers) who traversed the valleys and country and mountain districts spreading the Evangelical teaching.

d) Lutheran Hymns. Soon the first of the Evangelical hymns came to the land. They were fliers at first and then later they were published in booklet form. Most of them were sung to familiar tunes and melodies of folk songs and they were sung at household services and people learned the Gospel in this way in a more simply way than books. As a result the Reformation in Salzburg became a people’s movement.

e) Religious Factors. These were related to the Peasants’ War that was just on the horizon (1525). The ancient rights of the peasants were being usurped by the nobles including the clergy like the Prince Archbishop. The Church would suffer from the peasants’ backlash against their noble landlords. Because the nobles and Church leaders refused to listen to make the conditions of the peasants better but rather made them worse rebellion was the only recourse.

In May 1522, the Archbishop called a Synod to gather at Mühldorf. The purpose was to improve the training and preparation of priests and vicars. The sale or possession of Lutheran books would lead to punishment and fines. Preaching such doctrines was forbidden. The spreading of Evangelical teachings or ideas was punishable as well as the non observance of fasting as directed by the priest.

In March 1523 at another sitting of the Synod in Salzburg the Archbishop was informed that none of the mandate of 1522 had been carried out. Only in the city of Salzburg were the restrictions against Lutheranism having any effect. The Archbishop ordered the sellers of Lutheran books and Lutheran believers to be exposed and punished. But it was too late! The vast majority of the townspeople were already Lutherans. When the Archbishop demanded and increase in taxes the response was so abusive that he feared a rebellion. He called for one thousand troops from the Tyrol to put down the “rebellion” and the citizens capitulated and were forced to pay indemnities. It was no wonder the townspeople would support the peasants in the coming conflict.

A new Edict of the Archbishop was promulgated on October 5, 1534 calling for the carrying out of the Edict of Worms against the followers of Luther and the eradication of all traces of the Evangelicals in his Domain. A new list of offences was circulated to be punishable by imprisonment or banishment:

a) Making fun of Roman Catholic ceremonies
b) Preaching against Canon Law and the Papacy
c) Claims that calling upon the saints was useless

Offences that would be met with the death sentence:

a) Anyone who claimed that Mary’s virginity was not inviolate all her life
b) Anyone who taught that the fires of purgatory did not exist
c) Anyone who did not recognize all seven sacraments
d) Anyone who denied the “sacrifice” of the mass
e) Anyone who served or received communion in both kinds

Plus 26 other infractions.

In the face of the ever more oppressive acts against the economic condition of the peasants and the shrinking of all of their rights and freedoms the peasants sought to alleviate their situation. The great Peasants War in Germany cast its shadow over the Salzburg holdings of the Prince Archbishop and the peasants saw this an alternative for themselves as well. All it took to set off a conflagration was an incident to light the match. The Archbishop provided it.

A priest from the Tyrol, Eustachius von Heiterwang (the place of his birth) was handed over to the Archbishop of Salzburg for judgment by the government of the Tyrol for his Lutheran views and his efforts to spread Lutheranism throughout the whole area. The Archbishop (Lang) condemned him to life imprisonment. He was to serve his life term in the castle at Mittersil in the Oberpinzgau District. As the armed column taking him to prison approached St. Leonhard, only a few hours from Salzburg, a group of courageous men attacked the column and feed the prisoner. An investigation was ordered. But not all of those involved could be identified. In fact only two of them could be identified, the peasants Hans Stӧckl of Bramberg and a now unknown companion who were arrested and taken to the Archbishop. He had them publicly executed immediately in the meadow below the fortress at Nonntal without a trial. The news of the execution spread quickly throughout the land. It was met with indignation everywhere. Like angels of wrath the brothers of Stӧckl spread the word calling for rebellion.

The Archbishop could hardly fail to hear what was happening across his domain. He responded in two ways. He sent out a secret order to all of his trusted authorities to carry out their orders and keep a close eye on their subjects and maintain law and order. In terms of the church they were to prevent any spread of forbidden teaching and to work for a good relationship with the parish priests and the congregants. Secondly they were to recruit troops to come to the Archbishop’s assistance. Further he ordered the preparation of all fortresses for a siege.

All of these measures were too late. On May 25, 1525 representatives of the mine owners, the miners and peasants of the whole Gastein valley gathered at Hofgastein. They developed 14 Articles listing their grievances. Article One called for the freedom to preach and teach the pure Gospel without hindrances of any kind. This would always be the number one concern of the Salzburg Lutherans throughout their history…the free exercise of their faith. They desired to elect and call their own pastors. The rest of their demands dealt with social and economic rights and concerns. Discontented peasants also met in assembly at Zell am See at the same time.

The authorities of the Archbishop sought to negotiate the demands of the people. But the people were only prepared to see the fulfillment of their wishes. The Archbishop refused and the revolt broke out. Under the leadership of the miners of Gastein, the mountain passes were occupied by groups of armed peasants. They surrounded the fortress of Hohenwerfen and took it be surprise attack and controlled the pass at Lueg. The way to Salzburg lay open to the peasants. In the area around Ebene by Golling peasants gathered from all sides and marched towards the capital city.

The Archbishop had only a limited number of troops and his underlings had not supplied him with re-enforcements, so he appealed to Bavaria for assistance. He called upon the townspeople to support him. They would only comply if he re-instated their rights and privileges he had had rescinded. He refused to do that and took refuge in the Hohensalzburg fortress which was supplied with weapons, munitions and food to withstand a long term siege.

On June 5, 1525 the citizens opened the Steintor and let the peasant army into the city. Under the leadership of Matthias Stӧckl the brother of the executed man, the army was welcomed with jubilation by the townspeople. The monastery of St. Peter and the Nonnberg Convent bought their freedom from looting by paying a huge ransom. The residence of the Archbishop was sacked. As the Archbishop’s cannons opened fire the peasant army took up their position in the Nonntal and the Rainberg and set up their war camp. The siege of the fortress lasted until August 31st. No help came from Bavaria. In fact they negotiated with the peasants and townspeople to elect one of the Wittelbachs of Bavaria–Ernst as the new Prince Archbishop of Salzburg and Count Wilhlem took Mühldorf as part of his extended domains.

In attempts at negotiations with the peasants, Lang was prepared to give up his Episcopal office but remain the secular ruler. His secularization of the Bishopric was a welcome idea on the part of the peasants but their personal hatred of the man himself prevented their acceptance of his offer. The siege continued.

At the beginning of July, a six day armistice was arranged by Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. Negotiations began between the Archduke and the Archbishop as well as between the Archbishop and the Duke of Bavaria. But the siege by the peasants continued. After August 4th Archbishop Lang resumed his bombardment of the city once again. Even though the Bavarians attacked the peasant camp they were unable to dislodge them from their position. Now both sides saw there was no sense in continuing. There was a need for some kind of agreement. On August 31st an agreement and armistice went into effect. The terms were: the peasants were assured they would not be punished in any way; the peasants would elect an executive committee to which the Archbishop would choose three of his own representatives to work with them. In this way all of the Articles of Gastein would be implemented. The citizens of Salzburg and the peasants would do obeisance to the Archbishop and lay down their flags before him.

An assembly of peasants in Pongau and Pinzgau in April, 1526 attempted to present a letter of complaint to Duke Ludwig of Bavaria because the Archbishop had not kept his promises. There was unrest in all of the districts. The peasants took up arms once again. But this uprising had no religious significance. This second Peasants’ War was more terrible and bloodier than the first. The castles in the land went up in flames and on both sides the war was fought bitterly. Soon the revolt was crushed. The punishment of the peasants was horrific. A large majority of the peasant homesteads were plundered and burned to the ground, whole districts like Altenmarkt in the Pongau were levelled to the ground, whole families, men, women and children were gruesomely murdered. In Radstadt alone, 27 peasants were beheaded as the leaders of the rabble and 22 others were taken to Salzburg where several of them were also executed. All church bells were removed from the church towers and brought to Salzburg. There they were recast as cannons. A special tax of 100,000 Gulden was imposed to be paid within five years. No wonder the population of Salzburg’s domains suffered greatly. The lot of the peasants was worse than it had been before. But it would be wrong to say there were no positive results of the Peasants’ War. Now the persecute and oppressed miners, peasants, and townspeople found their hope in the promise and truth of the Gospel. Poverty and need were now the order of the day throughout the land. The Archbishop had to sell his silverware to meet his simply household expenses.

But how would the Archbishop restrain Lutheranism in his territories? The preaching of his priests had been ineffective. The use of force had been counter productive. There was only a third option open to him. His sole support were the higher clergy. He ordered them to respond to the complaints of his subjects against their priests and force them to change their ways and respond to the people’s needs. All worship would be conducted in the “old” way until such time as the Holy Roman Empire and an Ecumenical Council would provide a new one.

Another man who lived in Hofgastein and was a contemporary of the Archbishop Matthias Lang was Martin Lodinger. There is very little known about him. If he was a miner as some suspect he had an above average education or was self taught.

For although every expression of Lutheranism was concealed throughout the land as a result of the harsh Edict of the Archbishop, that did not hold true in the Gastein valley where pretence was not necessary. What did the rich mine owners and the owners of the gold mines have to fear? The Archbishop ‘s coffers depended on the income they provided. He would not jeopardize that and the miners felt that too, for after all they did the actual work in the deep underground shafts and tunnels. As a result the spread and teaching of Lutheranism in the Gastein valley was done openly. Luther’s writings, although forbidden were read at household gatherings which were in effect simple worship services. The grave markers in the Hofgastein cemetery bear witness to the Evangelical character of the people’s faith. They had taken Lutheranism to heart. Only one thing was forbidden to the Gastein Evangelicals…the reception of communion in both kinds. They had no Lutheran pastors and if they desired to receive communion that had to do so in the Roman Catholic mode.

But this went against the grain for Martin Lodinger. He wrote to Luther for advice on what to do. He did not want to commune secretly and nor did he want to participate in the mass against his conscience in the matter. In turn Luther wrote to him.

“The worthy and wise Martin Lodinger of Gastein, my good friend. Peace in Christ, my dear friend. To oppose the powers that be is no advice. Because you know that it is right to receive the whole sacrament and not half it is fitting that you refuse to receive only half; it is advisable and prudent to simply do without and order yourselves in the meanwhile to a spiritual reception in faith of both kinds if not in fact. But if you desire to receive it materially and those over you will not provide both kinds, you will have to forsake your homeland and go somewhere else as Christ says: flee to another city.

Commit yourselves to the grace of Christ.

Wittenberg, Tuesday after St. Bartholomew’s Day 1532

Doctor Martin Luther”

Luther’s reply was probably not what Lodinger had already considered. With a heavy heart Martin Lodinger left his beloved homeland. He was the first Salzburg exile. His home in Gastein still stands and is know as the “Lutherhof”. People in Gastein consider it the birthplace of Luther having confused the names. Lodinger found a new homeland in Regensburg. From here he wrote two letters of encouragement to his “brothers in Christ in the territory of Salzburg,” which achieved a mass circulation and printing of the letters as early as 1557. The letters were sent far and wide. The letters provide insights for the wide dissemination of Luther’s teaching after the Peasants’ Wars. The writer identifies the printing press as a special gift of grace to spread the “true” Gospel. God had given them a “prophet” in Luther and “champions” in the nobles who supported the Reformation. And to that he added the Holy Scriptures now available to the people. In addition there were also the Evangelical hymns that had such a profound effect in the spread of Lutheranism.

In spite of Lang’s successor’s attempts to eradicate Lutheranism in the land they were unable to bring about the necessary changes because the parish priests remained unrepentant and drove the populace into the arms of the Evangelicals. In many areas, Evangelical preachers held secret services. In hidden and isolated areas where the services were held a “church-out-in-the-open” emerged. Often the preachers stood on a huge boulder as his pulpit. Dates were inscribed on the rocks and IHS (Jesus). Many such rocks and boulders are still called “pulpits”.

Always more numerous were the complaints of parish clergy of the numbers of their parishioners lost to Lutheranism, their distain of the mass and private confession, non-observance of fasting, the possession of Lutheran books and worship assemblies in homes. During the visitation of the new Archbishop’s representative in 1554 he discovered that the mountain valleys were populated entirely by Lutherans. The Archbishop went to see for himself and was convinced of the truth of his underling’s report. He took action to improve the situation and sent out new approved liturgies, vernacular hymns, new church year calendar and ordered them to preach against the Lutheran errors and all converts to Lutheranism would be punished severely in terms of his new Edict against them.

In 1559 all priests and teachers received a catechism in both Latin and German with the order to instruct all the children with it. All of this was in vain. The priests could not and would not change. The catechism was of no avail as the Lutheran preachers proved their errors from the Scriptures and by now the south Tyrol was also heavily Lutheran.

With another new Archbishop consecrated in 1560, representatives of parishes of St. Johann, St. Veit, Bischofshofen and Grossarl presented a petition for the restoration of the chalice to the laity. All of his predecessors had denied the chalice to them. But most parish priests had in fact not obeyed but had complied with the people’s request. The reason for their action was that if they had not done that they would have lost all of the people to the Lutherans.

The Archbishop like those before him refused to comply with the request. The response throughout the land was tumultuous. Unlawful assemblies were held in Bischofshofen and the exiled priest Constantine Schlafhauser and a Lutheran preacher were installed as pastor without official sanction by Church authorities.

In response the Archbishop sent troops into the mountains as a precaution against local rebellions. Surrounded by the military the populace surrendered the ringleaders who were arrested and taken to Salzburg for trial. The Archbishop decreed an Edict on February 28, 1565 to be proclaimed in all the districts of his domain. Any other rebel acts were punishable by death and the peasants were to be disarmed. In order to prevent Evangelicals from taking flight to other lands, the sale of farmsteads without the permission of the Archbishop was forbidden. The people became even more embittered because the Edict also restated all opposition to the reception of the chalice and private confession was necessary for reception of the sacrament. But German could be used in the Baptismal liturgy so that the Godparents would be aware of their responsibilities. The singing of hymns in worship was forbidden. Fees paid to the priests for religious acts and services were increased. Rules for fasting were made harsher.

All of this in effect had been the order of the day with the former Archbishops. But new restrictions now followed. No correspondence in secret or in its delivery would be tolerated if the authorities or church teaching were criticized in any way; all the homes and properties of townspeople and peasants in which books, pictures, tracts (even those that were handwritten) would be confiscated if they contained any proscribed material. The purchase or receiving of any Lutheran literature was harshly forbidden. Participation in assemblies with a preacher present were forbidden. Innkeepers could only accommodate trustworthy persons and report all undesirables to the authorities. Officials were to recruit and use spies to keep an eye on their subjects.

The strict control of schools was also ordered. In the cities and market towns all instruction would be provided by the clergy or their appointed schoolmasters. All schools in the countryside were to be closed and any attempts at conducting “secret” instruction would be punished. This was an attempt to make the peasants illiterate and unable to read the Bible, Lutheran books and spiritual growth books. This Edict was read each Sunday and holiday for several weeks throughout Salzburg.

The miners of Raminstein in Lungau who had continued communion in both kinds under the leadership of their priest Michael Kranzeisen (a convinced Lutheran) received the order to leave the country. Exile would be the punishment for all participants receiving communion in both kinds. Most of the people now returned to attend mass. But in their hearts they remained Evangelicals. But once again the numbers attending secret worship in homes increased dramatically. These gatherings attracted the attention of the spies. As a result the Evangelicals visited neighbouring lands where it was possible to receive communion in both kinds.

Especially harsh was the treatment of Evangelicals in the city of Salzburg itself. In 1578 the threat of expulsion and exile was made for all known Evangelicals. In 1582 this was put into effect and a majority of the townspeople were expelled from the country. The population of the city now appeared to be purely Roman Catholic but that was only for appearances sake. As a report of a visitation carried out reported that of 400 not more than 30 were Roman Catholic.

The chronicler Johann Stainhauser complained, “In their homes the citizens of the city have the Lutheran poison with their reading of heretical books, the postiles, catechisms. prayer books and hymnbooks; they support sectarian teachers to educate their children, send their sons to Lutheran junior colleges (Upper Austria and the Steiermark) so that only a small minority of the citizens are Roman Catholic and nor are the peasants in the mountains or the miners. The whole domain is becoming Lutheran.”

The Franciscans were called to Salzburg in 1583 to re-catholicize the city. This would eventually result in the demise of the Protestant community. Whoever did not want to be expelled from the country had to make a public confession of the Roman Catholic faith and with a lighted candle in one hand make obesciance at the Franciscan Church. Only some tombstones in the oldest cemeteries bear witness to the city’s Lutheran past.

As early as April 23, 1523 discussions were held by church officials with reference made to the activities of the Anabaptists in the domains of the Archbishop. Their preachers were active in the city and the countryside.

The founder of the movement in the city was Hans Hut. His fellow workers were the former choir director of the monastery, Ranshofen by Braunau on the River Inn, Hieronymos von Mohnsee and a carpenter from Coburg, Eucharius Binder both of whom were re-baptized by Hut. Hieronymous arrived in Salzburg summed there by the “brothers”. As a result of his coming to the city 32 Anabaptists were assembled secretly close to the city and Hans Hut was in their number and they were apprehended. Hans Hut was able to escape. The others were imprisoned and were interrogated under torture. They revealed the names of others in the movement who were also arrested. The punishment was severe. Three were burned at the stake, five were beheaded, a woman and a beautiful sixteen year old girl were drowned in the horse baths next to the cathedral. This teenaged girl was the daughter of the goldsmith Georg Stein, a friend of Hans Hut. A few days later, four more wre led to the stake, calling upon God to the end. Among them was the onetime monk, Hieronymous and the carpenter Binder. Four others were beheaded. Five, among whom there was a priest and a corset maker were burned to death in the house where the assembly had taken place. Only ten women and a few men who demonstrated some repentance were spared and were condemned to exile and banishment. The other 41 Anabaptists were not yet condemned when the pamphlet regarding the story was published.

Shortly afterwards in Tittmoning four Anabaptists were executed (beheaded) and three in Mühldorf. On February 21, 1528 the Archbishop, Lang at the time, notified the government of Innsbruck that the Salzburg Anabaptists had fled to the Tyrol.

In 1554 during a canonical visitation Anabaptists were discovered in Golling, Radstadt and Gastein. References to the movement are few and far between. In 1569 the clockmaker Veit Grünberger of Wald in Pinzgau and Veit Schelch were arrested as Anabaptists and imprisoned in the Hohensalzburg fortress. It was only after three years that the two of them were first cross examined. In the seventh year of their imprisonment after enduring much trouble and misery they were able to escape through a small window. The last reference to Anabaptists is Leonhard Sommenauer captured in Tittmoning and executed by the sword in Burghausen in 1584. His body was later burned.

On July 1, 1593 a new Edict against the Anabaptists was released. But despite the harsh persecution of the movement in the land, it was not extinguished even though no more is head about them. The followers simply joined the expanding Lutheran movement.

The new Archbishop, Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau moved into his residence in Salzburg on October 19, 1587. The papal admonition to him was “to break the onslaught of the heretics in his domains..”

As a result on July 20, 1588 he promulgated an Edict ordering all Lutheran members of the city council of Salzburg to resign from their offices so he could replace them with good Roman Catholic men. All of the Council members had to acknowledge the theological positions of the Council of Trent and had to set a good example in church attendance to the whole community. The deposed council members and all inhabitants of the land were ordered either to convert to Roman Catholicism or go into exile. Because a public profession of faith would be necessary the vast majority of the Evangelical Lutherans chose banishment.

They were often the wealthiest and most respected families in the city. They fled to Upper Austria, northern Bavaria, Nürnberg and Augsburg. Women without husbands had to leave their children behind in the care of Roman Catholic families.

The Edict of Banishment of September 3, 1588 did not only deal with the city of Salzburg but the whole country and created unrest in the mountain valleys. But the Archbishop did not call on his sycophants to carry out the Edict because of the possible economic repercussions. The sacred and secular were kept quite separate in the Archbishop’s planning and thinking. He anted to give Salzburg a “new face.” That would cost a great deal of money. This informed his “confessional religious” policy.

Now he ordered a cessation of all forms of oppression against his Lutheran subjects. But now the Archbishop went even further, he permitted the miners in Gastein and Dürnberg to freely practice their Evangelical Lutheran faith as expressed in the Augsburg Confession. In Hofgasten permission was given to establish a Lutheran cemetery. The miners of Badgastein donated a bell to the church, inscribed with: The Word of God Remains Forever.” The Archbishop, however, was still as adamant as ever in his anti-Anabaptist stance.

Was all of this only due to economic concerns? Or was there a sense of tolerance in the thought of the young Archbishop? Or did it have something to do with his relationship to beautiful Salome Alt? Who knows?

So much is certain, he sought to find another way to deal with his Lutheran problem. Not through laws against them and persecution would the Lutherans convert to Roman Catholicism but through instruction. For that purpose in 1593 he called in the Capuchin Order to Salzburg and converted a castle into a monastery on the Imberg. Their preaching in German was to wine the mountain population. He established a seminary and obtained fine teachers, he also created new parishes, through services and instruction the population would be re-won to Roman Catholicism. Unlike his predecessors the Archbishop set a priestly example. For the first time in decades he preached, unlike the former Archbishops. His favourite book was “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas á Kempis. His enemies among the clergy conspired against him and one of the issues they raised with the pope was the question of his relationship with Miss Alt, which of course was of little interest to Rome.

When he met the daughter of the merchant, Wilhelm Alt of Salzburg is uncertain and whether he married his daughter secretly as it was rumoured by the people or simply lived in an open common law relationship with her is now unknown. But what is known is that he remained faithful to her all of his life and that he provided well for her and their many children. Salome Alt would be important in terms of the destiny of the Archbishop. From 1600 onward his health gradually deteriorated. He sought to ensure the future of his children and built the Altenau Palace (now the Mirabelle) for them. He transferred over 400,000 Gulden in goods, property and money to Salome. The Emperor Rudolph, in response to the Archbishop’s request, elevated his wife and children to the nobility. From then on she used the name Altenau.

It appears that the Archbishop was setting a plan in motion to secularize the Bishopric and make Hannibal, is son, the ruler of the principality. All of this led to a conspiracy against the Archbishop, including the pope, emperor and Prince Maximilian of Bavaria.

Maximilian created arguments with regard to the borders of the two principalities and endless quarrels over the price of sale and the salt tax that finally led to warfare between the two and resulted in an utter catastrophe for the Archbishop. With an army of 20,000 on the attack against him and with no outside support the Archbishop fled from Salzburg on October 23, 1611. His wife and children had already been taken to Radstadt that morning seeking safety there. He was captured and robbed of all of his possession at Kärntner, mistreated and imprisoned in the fortress. Then he was moved to the Hohensalzburg and imprisoned in a narrow cell in the dungeons. On December 17, 1611 he “asked” the pope to be freed from his Episcopal office. In January 1617 he died after six years of imprisonment in which his situation worsened constantly in spite of pleas to the pope for his freedom. Neither his wife nor his children were able to see him again.

The new Archbishop was elected on March 18, 1612 following Wolf Dietrich’s abdication and immediately began a new wave of persecution of his Lutheran subjects. In the city and surrounding plains Lutheranism had been eradicated. In the mountain regions it was a different story. As in the past the people held fast to their Evangelical faith. The same conditions as in the past were still the cause for the still growing movement among the peasantry.

The Archbishop began the work of the Counter Reformation, and made the priests shape up, to preach regularly and instruct the children. But as always the priests dragged their feet and had no intention of fulfilling the orders of the Archbishop.

At first the people did not take the new measures against them seriously after such a long respite under Wolf Dietrich. The new Archbishop sent the Capuchins into the mountain regions. They brought the Edict of the Archbishop with them to put an end to heresy once and for all. The adherents of Luther’s teachings would not be buried in the cemeteries, all mixed marriages were declared annulled, Lutheran artisans and tradesmen were forbidden to work at their trades and all person were ordered to become practicing Roman Catholics.

Those would not comply and convert were to provide housing and board for the troops and retainers of the Capuchins. They would only leave when the more stubborn ones finally give in or chose banishment and exile. Those who chose exile had to sell their property to trustworthy Roman Catholics. A tenth of the sale price had to be paid as an emigration tax. In this way large scale emigration out of Salzburg was first set in motion. But these were not large contingents of exiles, but usually small groups and sometimes individuals who left their homeland, while the Evangelical Lutheran world outside played no role in their destiny. Most of them headed for Moravia and the Steiermark to make a new homeland for themselves.

The work of “reformation” was left in the hands of the clergy empowered with new and harsh ordinances. They were to keep their eyes open for forbidden books and take them away from their owners. They were also to impose all the rules for fasting and punish any and all infractions. The catechism of St. Canisius, the rosary, holy pictures and consecrated amulets were distributed at mass. Regular processions should demonstrate the power of the triumphant church. But still, the priests complained about the secret worship services and “walking out” to Evangelical Lutheran districts in neighbouring lands in Upper Austria and the Steiermark. There was simply no end to it.

There were new ordinances for the upgrading and educating the clergy and raising the status of the clerical office. For that purpose the Archbishop established a junior college in Salzburg and had the idea of starting a university. He ordered that all concubines living in parsonages be arrested and imprisoned, but they could chose to leave their children behind with their father. Charging exorbitant fees for masses, baptisms, funerals etc. would be met with stiff fines, even imprisonment and removal from office. To keep them free of heresy, all banned books had to be removed from their personal libraries. But the Archbishop died suddenly in 1619 on the eve of the outbreak of the Thirty Years War. The new Archbishop was a clever man who saw no reason to disturb the status quo and create unrest in such a volatile time. The next years were a time of freedom and peace for the Evangelicals with only minor repressions many of which were not actually carried out. But all of that changed on July 3, 1668 with the election of Maximilian Gandolf von Kuenberg as Archbishop. A student of the Jesuits was on the throne of Salzburg. In the first year of his reign he conducted a visitation throughout his domain. He did not like what he saw and heard. His first step was to establish new parishes and schools especially in the Pongau and Pinzgau. He also built a shrine church close to Salzburg. In addition to charmers and witches he had discovered Protestants all of whom were a danger to safety and order.

The Trustee of Hallein informed the Archbishop that the miners of Dürnberg salt mines no longer participated in mass but met for services in the nearby Abtswald. At the same time he also received word that in Defereggantal in the Tyrol the vast majority of the population had gone over to the forbidden Lutheran faith. The fact that the miners in Dürnberg were Lutherans was already well known in Wolf Dietrich’s time. But this was tolerated silently not to disturb the necessary flow of income from the salt mines for the country economy. The miners had been placed under the care of the Augustinians in Salzburg. The new Archbishop stationed an earnest monk as preacher at Dürnberg. His efforts resulted in larger and more house gatherings and services and in the forest greater than ever. In 1685 the Archbishop began a strict investigation of the situation. As leaders of the movement the preachers at the gatherings of the Evangelicals were the miners: Joseph Schaitberger, Matthias Kammel and Simon Lindtner according to the findings of the investigators. In the new year, 1686 they were arrested and placed in chains and taken to Salzburg for sentencing. Schaitberger records the story,

“Because we openly confessed our faith before the High Court we were put in prison for another 50 days in order to scare our brothers. Two old Capuchin monks were called in order to instruct us in the Roman Catholic faith. But they were rather unsuccessful with us. After 50 days in prison and conveying as accurately as possible our Evangelical Lutheran faith we once again faced the tribunal. The secular authorities ordered us to write out our confession of faith and personally present it to the Archbishop. We were eager to do so. We were also informed that we would first of all lose our jobs in the mines…Secondly we would have to give up our ancestral homeland, our homesteads and property and not be able to sell them. As an additional punishment for leaving the Roman Catholic Church we would be on bread and water for fourteen days as penance. Like the other prisoners in the Salzburg dungeons we were sent to work breaking rock on the Mӧnchsberg. Once more we were brought forward and questioned: Will you give up your heretical beliefs and remain Roman Catholics? We indicated we had no such desire because we had always held to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as we had indicated in our written submission to the Archbishop. But none of this was of any avail. They held back our children and property and we and our wives were expelled from our homeland with empty hands.”

The house of Joseph Schaitberger stands to this day in the area of Plaik not far from Dürnberg. The miners had hoped that with the exile of their leaders things would get back to normal. But it was not to be. As early as April 1686 several other miners were exiled by order of the Archbishop. The three leaders had to leave their eight children behind. Among them were the two young daughters of Schaitberger. They were given to Roman Catholic peasants to raise.

Up until 1691 there were 60 to 70 miners from Dürnberg who were sent into exile. This was a large number in terms of the local population. All of their children were kept behind and were raised as Roman Catholics. Many of the Dürnberg Lutherans found refuge in Saxony and took up work as miners in Erzgebirge but Schaitberger went to Nürnberg. At first he worked as a servant and baggage carrier. Later he worked in a silverware factory. His evenings were for rest and relaxation. Even though he was not a citizen of the city, the city magistrates listed him as being among the twelve poor brothers who were housed in the former Carthusian monastery where they received room and board. In 1732 he would greet his countrymen during the Great Immigration who passed through Nürnberg who all looked upon his as a legendary personality. He died in the night of October 3, 1733 at the age of 75 years and 6 months. His grave is still well groomed in the Nürnberg cemetery.

His wife, Magdalena neé Kämmel of Berchtesgaden died of a broken heart in being torn away from her two little girls in her homeland. She died one year after their banishment. Schaitberger remained a widower for five years. During this time he gained permission from the Archbishop to visit his old homeland in order to fetch his children. But they refused to go with this stranger.

In 1692 Schaitberger married a second time, is wife was Katharina Brokkenberger of Berchtesgaden who had also been expelled. She died six years later and left him with four sons, only one of whom outlived their father. In 1702 he tried one more time to have his daughters returned to him in Nürnberg and win them for them for the Evangelical faith. The result was completely unexpected.

One of his daughters came to Nürnberg in order to persuade him to become Roman Catholic. She was unable to do that. In fact the opposite happened and she became a Lutheran and remained in Nürnberg with her father.

As the Protestant princes became aware of the expulsion of the people of Dürnberg they warned the Archbishop that he was breaking the Treaty of the Peace of Westphalia. The Archbishop was one step ahead of them as he had listed them as sectarians on the passports he had issued to them. As sectarians they stood outside of the terms of the Treaty and as a result the charges of the Protestant princes were without merit. He would use the same argument in terms of the exiles from Defereggental.

This valley was part of present day Tyrol but at this time only a small portion was under the lordship of the Count of Tyrol, the larger part belong to Salzburg. It was part of the spiritual jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Salzburg. Up until now the populace had enjoyed an unhindered expression of their Evangelical Lutheran faith. The poverty of the valley made it necessary for many of the people to make a living as hosiers and musicians. In their trips into Germany they stayed in Evangelical areas and there they learned the beliefs of the Lutherans and returned home with books that were eagerly read in assemblies held in their homes. Through unannounced house searches the authorities discovered Bibles, the Small Catechism, books of sermons and prayer books and the Württemberg hymnbook. All of these books could be found in the homes of Lutherans in all of the Salzburg Districts.

Because of a charge laid by a Roman Catholic wood carver, Peter von Lenz, an investigation were set in motion. His business had been effected by the movement of many into the Lutheran faith. Capuchins were sent into the valley but were unsuccessful in winning the Lutherans to Roman Catholicism. The result was that the on June 22, 1684 the Archbishop ordered his representative Losser to arrest the ringleaders, put them in irons and bring them to him. Losser kept finding excuses not to comply with the Archbishop’s order but he was only too well aware of how the local population would react and he was afraid of the consequences.

On July 24, 1684 the authorities in Windisch-Matrei were presented with a petition from 70 peasants from all over the valley to be given to the Archbishop. In it they informed him that they were rumours in the valley that severe measures would be taken against them. They, however, felt that they were in “the right way” and they did not belong to any kind of sect but they could not come to any agreement or understanding with the Capuchin monks that had been sent to work among them. They were innocent of any wrongdoing; they hoped to remain in their homeland and were willing to pay taxes for the privilege and also pay the church tithe. But if they could not remain they would not compromise their faith but go into exile from their homeland.

On August 11th the Archbishop’s answer was read from every pulpit. “Whoever is not prepared to accept the teaching of the Capuchins must leave the country.”

The order for the expulsion was given on November 7, 1684. All single adults and poor landless peasants had to leave the land of Salzburg within 8 days and all landowning farmers were given four weeks to leave. All children under the age of 15 years were to be left behind and were given to Roman Catholic families who would raise them as “good” Catholics. Despite the protests of the Capuchin fathers the target dates were delayed. The reason was not mercy on the part of the Archbishop but simply due to the fact that the date for taxes would have been avoided if they had left. Their real concern was their own income!

As soon as all of the taxes were collected the order for the expulsion was re-instated. All of the pleas of the peasants for a further delay or at least have permission to take their children with them were all denied. On November 29, 1684 the single adults received the order to leave the valley within eleven days. The married couples were given an extension of six weeks. Two thirds of the sale price of their goods and property were paid for the upkeep of their children that they would have to leave behind. The remaining third they could take with them. But very few of them were able to find buyers for their property in such a short timeframe. The others had to leave with empty hands leaving everything behind. It is impossible to imagine the grief and sobbing that arose in the valley. They appealed to the Archbishop for mercy one more time but were refused. It was all to no avail.

On December 13, 1685 in the middle of a cold mountain winter, trudging through ice and snow the first column of exiles left. They numbered fifty persons. On December 29, 1684 a second band of 140 persons followed after them and then for the rest of 1865 group after group followed on their way to exile. We can now estimate that there were 570 persons who were sent into exile from the Salzburg portion of the valley and 271 of their children under the age of fifteen were taken away from their parents. While from the Tyrol portion of the valley there were only 51 persons sent into exile who left their 18 children behind. Few of them had horses and wagons. Most of them packed their meagre belongings on snow sleds and dragged them through the deep snow on foot and created their own pathway. Passing through Pustertal and Eisacktal the band arrived in Innsbruck. The goal of their banishment was Augsburg and Regensburg. The authorities in charge of the second group provided minimal guards for the journey at the outset. As a result it became possible for this group to smuggle their children with them. But this could not be concealed for very long. The Archbishop sent a strong reprimand to his representatives in Windisch-Matrei and on December 31, 1684 and they attempted to get the government in Innsbruck to take the children away from their parents. After many arguments, the governor was finally forced to comply but the blame would rest on the soul of the Archbishop.

Commissioner Martin Kremer appeared at Kranebitten and Zirl where the second group of exiles of 140 persons were encamped after leaving Defereggental at Christmas and asked them to hand over their children. We can imagine the heartbreak of these people who wanted to remain true to their faith for which they now suffered so deeply. The Chronicler writes, “The people of Defereggental said that it was a great heart break for them to leave their children behind but they did that rather than give up their faith.”

But there were ten mothers who relented and would not be separated from their children. Some of them were nursing mothers and the infants could not have survived without them. Using eleven horse drawn sleds the ten women and 45 children were taken back home. One child died on the way back, the other children were divided up among Roman Catholic families in the valley. But the fate of the ten mothers would be worse. As soon as the children were placed with Catholic families the mothers were forced to leave with the next group of exiles. After a long journey, where they were met with hostility because of their poverty they were finally able to join their families in Augsburg.

The lot of the expellees was difficult. They had lost their homeland, their children and their property. At Innsbruck they were forced to pay an emigration tax, up to ten per cent of what they had managed to keep. Not only did they have to pay for their own night accommodations and board and all of the transportation costs but they were also responsible for the upkeep and the daily pay of the troops who guarded them. Then there were the costs associated with filling out their passports. They were also charged 558 Gulden to pay for the transportation costs of the children and mothers who had returned home. They arrived as virtual paupers in Augsburg, Regensburg and Ulm.

But the lot of the children back home was also most sorrowful. To hinder the secret removal of the children and return them to their families only a few were allowed to remain in the valley. The others were scattered all over Salzburg. Brothers and sisters were not allowed to remain together.

As the number of emigrants in the time of persecution reached over one thousand the officials in Salzburg began to think seriously about the matter. The mountain valleys were being depopulated. As a result an order was issued to stop the expulsions. One group in the process of leaving was returned home.

Five years later the Archbishop died and the new government allowed parents to return to locate their children and take them to their new home. To return to Salzburg required a special permit on the part of the expellees. Many were afraid it was a ruse and for that reason they travelled without any documents and on finding their children left secretly. In 1693 when some of them were apprehended at the frontier and were brought to Salzburg. The fathers involved were sold as galley slaves in Naples. Only one was able to buy his freedom and returned to Württemberg.

In order to hinder the spread of Lutheranism through the efforts of those coming for their children, a new confiscation of Evangelical books was ordered to make sure the younger generation of Evangelicals left behind by their parents would not read the Evangelical literature that their parents had left behind for them. The Archbishop ordered the closing of the school in Defereggental for the same reason. But still Lutheranism was not stamped out in the valley. As late as August 1691 two Evangelical mothers and their eleven children escaped and left Salzburg secretly. The chief reason for Lutheranism’s continuance in the valley was the smuggled books and tracts, especially the letters of the Dürnberg miner, Joseph Schaitberger the “exile”. His letters in particular enraged the Salzburg officials and house searches and confiscations were the order of the day.

The news of the persecution and expulsion of the miners of Dürnberg and the peasant farmers of Defereggental spread throughout the land of Salzburg and the followers of Luther’s teachings practiced a great deal of caution. Now because of fear, people were careful not to give themselves away and enthusiastically took part in all of the externals of Catholicism. The churches were filled again. The Evangelicals played this role outwardly as they continued to meet in small household groups or went deeper into the forest for preaching services.

From the letters of Schaitberger we discover how the “secret” and “covert” Evangelical Church was able to spread and produce such courageous and articulate and brave confessors of the Evangelical faith. There was another man who was a Godsend to the embattled and persecuted Evangelicals in Salzburg. He was the Dean of the pastors in Augsburg, Samuel Urlspenger. He was a descendant of emigrants from the Steiermark and a student of the leader of the Pietistic movement, August Hermann Francke in Halle. Urlspenger recruited merchants and tradesmen going to Austria and Salzburg to secretly distribute Evangelical literature to help strengthen the beleaguered Evangelicals with God’s Word. Urlspenger and his Pietistic Circle were drawn to the plight of the persecuted Evangelicals in Salzburg. They felt close to them because they practiced Spenner’s collegio pieta: the priesthood of all believers gathering in homes around God’s Word and witnessed to their faith in word and deed. These mountain brethren found the same source of nurture as the Pietists did. In addition to the Bible they read Johann Arndt’s “Four Books of True Christianity” and other spiritual writings. Along with the Pietists they did not recant in the face of opposition and persecution.

But Urlspenger’s sending of books did something more to strengthen the Evangelicals in their faith. They now had the feeling that they had not been forgotten or abandoned. In the previous decades and centuries they had stood alone and relied on no outside help or support. But now they were receiving support from their fellow believers. That gave them comfort and hope for the future…they were not alone. As a result they no longer were afraid to acknowledge their faith or try to hide it. Evangelical pastors were assisting them in other lands by sending books, and the Protestant princes now could also be called upon for assistance and could use their influence on the Archbishop to tone down the repression of his Lutheran subjects. As a result the Salzburg Lutherans became fearless confessors of their Evangelical faith. The times ahead would require men and women like that. What was now ahead of them was beyond the persecutions of the past.

On September 30, 1727 a new Archbishop was elected by the Cathedral Chapter: Leopold Anton von Firmian who was a close friend of the Jesuits that would become pivotal for the Evangelicals in Salzburg. He set as his primary goal the eradication of Lutheranism and would pay any price to have religious unity in the land through the Roman Catholic Church. He began his work by attempting to get a clear picture of the religious situation in the land. He wanted an accurate count of the numbers of Luther’s followers in the land. For this purpose he called in the Jesuits in 1728 to uncover the Lutheran movement and win them back to the Church of Rome. The reports from the Jesuits were not encouraging. They found Lutheran books in many homes. Children who were questioned by the Jesuits innocently mentioned that their fathers read these books to the family each evening and some of their neighbours came to join them in simply services in their home or they would meet in deserted parts of the forest where Lutheran hymns were sung and men from unknown parts would join them and explain the scriptures to the assembly. Especially upsetting for the Jesuits were the reports from the Gastein valley. It was the nest of a herd of heretics from way back and there was hardly a single Roman Catholic left. It was therefore going to be very difficult to convert them from their heresy. Even after sixteen hours of questioning of some leaders the Jesuits had gotten nowhere. They acted like good Catholics, paid for masses, wore blessed amulets and accepted rosaries and they attended mass. But the Jesuits did not trust them for a moment.

On the basis of these reports Firmian took energetic action and steps. In 1729 he decreed severe punishment for all who possessed Lutheran books. Money fines, imprisonment and banishment were threatened as punishment for all who were discovered to won forbidden books. Unlike former threats this time action was taken and soon the dungeons in all the districts were filled to the brim. The prisoners were bound with chains around their throats, hands and feet to prevent escape because they refused to abjure their faith and would not seek salvation offered by the Jesuits.

A close watch was set in motion to capture the distributors of Lutheran literature. One can read the minutes of the trails of those possessing forbidden books and the answers to the question of where or from whom they had received the books. The answers were, “From someone not known to me personally.” Or, “From my parents or their parents before them.” Seldom was a name forthcoming. All persons entering the land of Salzburg had to undergo a personal and baggage check for forbidden books.

The Lutherans remembered that since the expulsion of the miners of Dürnberg and the farmers from Defereggental, the representatives of the Protestant rulers, the Corpus Evangelicorum, in Regensburg lodged appeals and protests to the Salzburg officials about their treatment of Lutherans in their territory. Now the persecuted looked to Regensburg with a sense of hope. More and more they waited for help and protection from them.

House searches occurred day and night; interrogations, imprisonments, heavy monetary fines, fear of expulsion and uncertainty swept through the mountain valleys. Fearful news was reported in one region after another. Rupert Winter of Werfen, a 72 year old man was receiving the oil of extreme unction from a priest when he discovered a book of Lutheran sermons under the man’s pillow. Winter was dragged from his bed and along with his wife were taken in an open wagon in the bitter cold to a prison where he was beaten so badly that his screams could be heard through the village. After paying a fine of 100 Gulden the elderly couple were eventually released.

Alarming rumours spread that Evangelical heads of families were not only cast in prison if forbidden books were found in their houses but were also expelled from the county but their wives and children could not leave with them. These were not simply rumours. In 1729 the farmers, Lercher and of Radstadt and Prambell from Werfen were charged with possessing Lutheran books. They were imprisoned and then driven out of the country. They had to leave their wives and children behind. Both men managed to reach Regensburg and report to the Corpus Evangelicorum who lodged an official complaint with Zillerberg the ambassador from Salzburg.

On February 17, 1730 the Evangelical Group officially protested to Zillerberg but he refused to honour the protest. His reason was that the peasants were not being punished because of their faith but because of their disobedience to their ruler. As rebels they had no recourse to claim protection under the Peace of Osnabruck nor the time limit of three years for emigration.

Only these two men are identified by name. The number of people banished and exiled after the promulgation of the Emigration Patent in 1731 was obviously very much higher. More and more complaints arrived in Regensburg. Protests and personal notes were delivered to Zillerberg but it was futile and the pleas of the persecuted were heard loud and clear. Ursula Burgschwaiger, a peasant woman from the region of Taxenbach was arrested because she possessed a Lutheran book and was eventually expelled from country even though she was married and the mother of five children she had to leave behind. A group of peasants in Werfen sent word to Regensburg that….”Wolf Fuchs, Ruprecht Bieler, Ruprecht Fromm, Philipp Pacher were clapped in irons like the worst of criminals. In addition the names of others are listed who were treated in the same manner. In this report from Werfen they stated, “It’s not only here that this oppression is taking place but also in other districts in Salzburg, at St. Johann, Gastein and Radstadt and in their vicinities. No week, no day passes by that people are not taken to prison because of their faith. One, Hans Klammer of Bischofshofen, after a long imprisonment in the fortress at Werfen was forced to emigrate and begged the Evangelical representatives in Germany to make it possible for his wife and children to join him.”

In light of all of these measures many of the people thought it was prudent to give the impression of “returning to the Roman Church.” And now as the Jesuit led religious commissions arrived in the different regions by and large the Evangelicals were secretive about their true allegiance…but only at first.

There were always new house searches, confiscation of books, interrogations, fines and imprisonment and finally it was acknowledged that expulsion from the country was next for Archbishop Firmian was determined to complete the work of re-catholicizing his domains. The result was that the Evangelicals were now determined to step out of concealment and openly confess their faith.

What brought about this radical change in tactics after two hundred years of playing at concealment and suddenly becoming courageous confessors of their faith?

There were many reasons. The first was the knowledge that in the midst of their trials they were not forsaken. All across the mountain valleys the new was out that the Corpus
Evangelicorum in Regensburg were aware of their troubles and were determined to stand by them. The powerful princes who were Protestants and the Lutheran territories as well cared about them and gave them hope that they would be able to force the Archbishop to grant them the right to practice their faith. But that could only happen if each person openly declared their Lutheran faith. Some even dreamed that the Protestant princes would send troops and force the freedom of religion if the Archbishop remained totally intransigent. But there was also another factor.

Through the confiscation of books and arrests it became obvious to the authorities and the people that the number of those holding to the Evangelical Confession (Augsburg) was much higher than originally believed. What was even more important individuals now confessed to their friends and acquaintances that they were Lutherans. Soon they made no secret of their faith in public places. They carried on religious discussions in the taverns and attempted to make contacts with fellow believers in other regions and districts of Salzburg. The result of all of this was that the religious commissions made up of priests and the Archbishop’s trusted representatives had no trouble in uncovering the local Lutherans. They simply declared themselves to be Lutherans when they were questioned about their faith. This became a lucrative time for informers. They no longer had to make up lists of names to fill the dungeons as they had earlier.

It is hardly any wonder that the arrests and confiscation of books rose sharply. But both of these factors strengthened the feeling of solidarity among the persecuted. They admonished one another to remain true to their faith to the point that it became a practice that at the conclusion of being together with one another they promised one another to publicly hold to their faith.

The confiscation of their books had another result. Those who were robbed of their Lutheran books assembled in the homes of those who had successfully hidden their books and held simple services. So that from farm house parlours became churches and unpretentious men became preachers who explained and admonished their countrymen with the Word of God without benefit of education or ordination.

Soon the farm houses became to small to accommodate the would-be-worshippers. As had been the case in earlier times they met in isolated places and in the forest to hold services in secret. The men who were the exhorters and preachers of God’s Word became the leaders of the Lutheran movement and were filled with joy by the steadfastness of the faith of their brothers and sisters in faith. The blacksmith of Hüttau, a small hamlet nearby Bischopfshofen, Ruprecht Stulebber by name, was known throughout the land as a preacher and was considered the head of Evangelical Lutheran movement by both friend and foe. He was known as the “Bishop”.

But it was not only the support they received from Church officials in Regensburg that did this. Above all it was the influence of the regularly read Lutheran literature and their gatherings in their homes. This showed itself immediately in the cross examinations that were soon to follow in the mountain valleys. No one offered excuses any longer but they had the courage to speak the truth without fear of the consequences. Only one reservation was preserved from the past and that was the refusal to incriminate some one else in any way. When someone declared that he did not know for sure if his married daughter in Werfen was a Lutheran or if another being interrogated claimed he did not know what his eighteen year old daughter believed and a third announced that he could not say whether his wife held to the Lutheran confession was not an indication of loose or distant family relationships. It simply testifies to the concern of those being interrogated not to create difficulties for others.

But one last and very important result was that the more severe the persecution became the committed Lutherans in the individual parishes began to develop closer ties and relationship with one another for mutual support.

Beginning in the Fall of 1730 the agents of the Archbishop sent more and more reports about secret meetings of the Lutherans in their area. As to what happened at these meetings the agents admitted they had absolutely no idea. That also indicates they did not know the identity of those involved. The result of these reports was intensification of the persecution. The Bishop’s agents in Werfen, Radstadt, Lichtenberg, Saalfelden and Taxenbach committed themselves to obey the harsh new orders of the Archbishop as rigorously as possible in conjunction with the parish priests. During the winter of 1730 complaints streamed in to Regensburg about the unleashing of new oppression directed against the Lutherans throughout Salzburg.

The Lutheran representatives at the Reichstag (parliament) meeting in Regensburg took new action to oppose the expulsion and asked for compliance with the Peace of Westphalia on the part of the Archbishop and called for a three year moratorium on expulsions. The ambassador from Salzburg responded that this did not apply to the Salzburg Lutherans because they were rebels. In Salzburg the Evangelical Lutheran religion was forbidden by law and a public confession of that faith was an act of treason and rebellion and the Archbishop’s punishment was not only legal but he was duty bound to enforce the law. But the leadership of the Lutheran movement in Salzburg were already planning for the future.

It is probable that the blacksmith, Ruprecht Stuleber of Hüttau was the person behind the initiative to send thirty-one representatives of seven parishes to Regensburg in May 1731 and present a petition in the name of 19,000 fellow Lutherans of the hardships and tribulation that was being imposed on them. They were forbidden to share the clear Word of God; were permitted to receive communion in only one kind; had to wear a rosary and amulets and call upon the saints. Failure to attend mass once resulted in a fine of 2 Gulden. The Roman Catholic priests went from house to house and put people through an examination of their faith. For each such examination the householder had to pay 7 Gulden. The failure to observe a fast was punished with a fine of 10 to 40 Gulden or more. In the services all the priests ever spoke about were indulgences, rosaries, the sacrifice of the mass, purgatory and the intercession of the saints.

That these allegations were actually true are substantiated by Zillerberg writing to the Chancellery in Salzburg, he writes, “The care of souls, which should be the most important concern of the priests, has been put on the back burner as unimportant because they know very little of what is to be believed. They preach about the rosary which requires very little effort or study on their part.”

The petition pointed out that under these circumstances it was understandable that the persecuted church could not withstand this ongoing pressure much longer, and they were coming to the point of desperation. They simply asked to be included under the terms provided in the Religious Peace of Westphalia and have the freedom to chose their faith. They asked the Corpus to intercede and intervene on their behalf with the Archbishop to grant them the right to practice their faith and give each parish the right to call its own Lutheran pastor and preacher. Should the Archbishop refuse this request it was their hope that he could at least cease the far reaching persecution and allow the unhindered emigration of the Lutherans from his domains and would allow them to sell their land and property so they could begin a new life elsewhere than their beloved homeland.

This petition is an important document. The fact that “seven parishes” worked together and were so strong in the Pongau district in the Spring of 1731 is astonishing in terms of the solidarity this expresses. And yet it is wrapped in absolute secrecy so that even to this day the identity of the representatives remain unknown. The total of 19,000 was later affirmed. In July 1731 less than three months later the following numbers declared themselves as Evangelicals and Lutherans before the Religious Commission or their parish priests:

Bischofshofen 744
Gastein 500
Radstadt 6,600
St. Johann 2,500
St. Veit 3,100
Wagrain 1,436
Werfen 3,100
Grossarl 500
_______________
Total 18,460

That the representatives had the knowledge of such precise “membership” figures again demonstrates the close contacts and relationships of the “underground Church.” There is good reason to believe that the apparatus of an “organized” church was in the process of formation…but a Church that already had a 200 year history and existence. A lay church with no ordained clergy or leadership led by a blacksmith.

The petition itself indicates that the oppressed Lutherans took the initiative to alleviate their situation and that at least seven of the parishes were working at a coordinated level, an expression of an extra-congregational organization.

The petition was soon public knowledge in Salzburg and a reaction set in. The agents of the Archbishop set to work to implement all of the laws against the heretics and began a new investigation. A Commission was set up by the Court of Salzburg to estimate the true picture of the situation on the basis of the complaints that had been lodged.

Even the Corpus was taken off guard by the requests contained in the petition. The Peace of Westphalia had not provided the guarantee of freedom of religion or the election of Evangelical Lutheran pastors. It was also impossible from their point of view to handle such a mass migration and provide support and relief for the people involved over a long period of time. The city magistrates of Regensburg declared that it was undesirable that such a large number of these people to emigrate to their city.

At the beginning of 1731 Zillerberg had received instructions from the Archbishop to compose a defence of Firmian’s position against his Lutheran subjects. He was to challenge the complaints of the Salzburg Evangelicals and establish investigative protocols and possible actions to be undertaken. This was to be a response to the various Protestant portrayals of the issues and sent to the Corpus for distribution to the princes. Zillerberg kept putting off the writing of the report. The reason was that he found it difficult, if not impossible to come up with “proofs” of the rebellion of the Lutherans that was credible. At the end of July he gave in to pressure and released a document. The document failed to prove its point just as its author had feared. The ambassadors of the seven parishes who had presented the petition on behalf of their 19,000 fellow believers were successful in returning home undetected.

In 1731 Archbishop Firmian called Hieronymus Cristiani von Rall from the Italian portion of the Tyrol as his Court Chancellor. No sooner had he taken up his duties than Firmian told him to carry out all of the measures against his Lutheran subjects forthwith. The Archbishop was more than happy to have someone else take the responsibility of carrying out those measures. This would free him to get on with own personal ambitions as some else carried out the task of re-catholicizing the realm which had been a thorn in the flesh in the past. Firmian was an ardent huntsman, loved courtly display and took delight when it was possible to erect palatial buildings like Wolf Dietrich had. The horse baths and Klessheim castle and Leopoldkron are examples of his efforts. All are indications of the Archbishop’s desire to leave state matters in someone else’s hands. That this hands were von Rall’s would have significant consequences for the country.

Firmian planned for a Commission to be established in the mountain areas which was to form a picture of the current situation. The intention behind the Commission he claimed was to hear the complaints of his subjects to see what excesses of his authorities had to be curtailed. The Commission began its journey into the mountains on July 15, 1731. The leader was von Rall himself. The news of the forthcoming investigation created both a sense of hope and apprehension among the Lutherans. Above all it was important for their leaders to provide counsel and advice to them on how they should handle themselves at the interrogations that lay ahead of them. Should one openly acknowledge that one was a Lutheran and risk the dangers involved in doing so and face new oppressive actions and suffer or to be driven out of the country, or should one again deny one’s faith and claim to be a good Catholic.

Now once again the response on the part of the Lutherans demonstrates their solidarity. On July 13th an assembly of the trusted spokesmen from the parishes was called at Schwarzach in Pongau in secret. Who called for the assembly is unknown, but in all likelihood it was the blacksmith of Hüttau, Rupert Steileber.

Schwarzach which is now a major railway junction with 3,000 inhabitants was then only a small hamlet. It consisted of a smithy, an inn and tavern and several farmsteads. The choice of the location was simply because it was in close proximity to where the representatives lived. There were about one hundred fifty Lutherans who participated. Naturally the assembly of so many men in this small hamlet could not be concealed. On the evening of July 13th , the priest in St. Veit alerted the church officials in Werfen about the gathering. Even though he was unable to report the content of the conference his report is still worth while because it contains a number of names of participants and also the areas and parishes from which they came. The day after the Archbishop’s agent in Goldegg in the district in which Schwarzach was located also sent in a report to Salzburg. He was enraged by their opposition and the holding of such a conference and wanted to discover what had taken place.

Later a rumour spread in Salzburg that an ambassador of the Protestant Reichstag had participated in the conference. If this had really been the case then the priest of St. Veit would certainly have been so informed by his spies who reported the names of all the other participants reported to Salzburg. Nor the claim that Lutheran pastors from Regensburg and Augsburg had supported the peasants at their conference hardly seems likely. While the majority of the assembled men met in the large room of the tavern and passed the time in singing hymns, prayer and readings from a book of sermons, the leaders met in a much smaller room. The decision to openly declare themselves as Evangelical Lutherans was quickly decided. This reflected an attitude that had prevailed among them for some time. Most of the time was spent in drafting their confession of faith that they wanted to present to the Commission.

After they came to an agreement on the wording it was read to all of those gathered in the main hall of the tavern. There was the desire expressed that a vote be taken. The blacksmith of Hüttau who had played a prominent role in the composing the confession of faith moved that the voting be done as was the practice among craftsman. A keg of salt was set on one of the tables and who voted in favour of the confession would indicate that by sticking his finger in the salt and who was opposed would refrain from doing so. His suggestion was accepted unanimously. One after another walked to the keg and stuck the finger that was used for swearing an oath in the salt. Men licked their finger afterwards as a kind of reflex action and had nothing to do with the voting. After the reading of the confession discussions broke out everywhere in the room and may not have heard the voting procedures being explained. They only saw that many went to the table with the keg of salt and licked their fingers and they did the same. In the cross examinations later many of them were unaware of the significance of licking the salt. But all acknowledged that they swore an oath. They were not conspiring against their noble lord, the Archbishop.

The arrival of the Commission was only two days away. The representatives at Schwarzach, according to the agents and their spies used this interval in quickly calling gatherings in secret, visiting farm houses and carried on discussions out in the fields to make them familiar with the decision made at Schwarzach to present a united front at the cross examinations and interrogations by the Commission. The Commissioners began their activities at Werfen. The Lutherans complained about the high taxes, the raising of the fees by the priests and the strict administration of the forestry laws. With regard to the question of their faith, their first response was evasive. They were Catholics but not all of them. As the Court Chancellor demanded a clearer answer they handed him their written Evangelical Confession of Faith. When the Chancellor asked if all of them concurred with this confession they remained silent and simply stared at one another. As a result the Chancellor ordered each person to answer personally. The majority now openly acknowledged that they were Lutherans.

After the questioning of these citizens, the other inhabitants of Werfen were next. They immediately handed over a document that contained their petitions and complaints. Above all else they complained about the parish priests. Instead of proclaiming the Gospel they busied themselves in their sermons with scolding their congregations. The agents of the Archbishop forced hardships on the people to oppress them because of their Evangelical Lutheran faith forcing them to pay heavy fines in money. On this basis they had turned to Regensburg for redress. In all things except in the case of religion and conscience they were prepared to be obedient to their liege lord and it was a lie to suggest that they were attempting to create an uproar or rebellion. On the evening of July 16th the interrogations came to an end. The Chancellor once again assembled the citizens and peasant farmers and warned them to obey the authorities and no longer organize any secret worship services and gatherings and to no longer propagate their faith and not to offend Roman Catholics in any way.

What occurred in Werfen also took place in other places that were visited by the Commission. On July 17th the Commission arrived in Radstadt. Here too they had to listen to charges and complaints about the heavy punishment imposed on them for religious reasons. The Commission appeared in Wagrain on July 18th and in St. Johann on the 20th. Here the complaints were about the priest who through his lifestyle and his greed drove the people from church. It was not a matter of the Lutherans falling away from the Roman Catholic Church but as a result of the Catholic Church falling away from the Gospel. The peasants in St. Johann were also more courageous than in other districts. They asked the Commission for permission to receive communion in both kinds and have their own Lutheran preacher. They even asked for a passport for Wolfgang Laufer who they wanted to send to Regensburg.

As the royal Chancellor and his commissioners came to Grossarl on July 21st they had to hear complaints about the priests too, who handled the congregation roughly by in their words and actions. The commissioners knew only too well that these complaints were more than justified. Even though the Chancellor had approached the priest, Joseph Peter Stickler in a friendly manner and the commission was given an opportunity to hear him preach in which he vehemently scolded the followers of Martin Luther, they themselves had doubts and wondered how the congregation managed to keep silent and listened to the very end without murmurs and rumblings breaking out. Then in Goldegg the complaints against Dr. Ekhardt of St. Veit’s were similar to those in St. Johann’s and were heard by the Commission on July 23rd. He said that no one should approach the altar without money in his hand.

The next day we find the Commission in Hofgastein the next day. Here they expressed something entirely new to them. The assembled inhabitants of Gastein greeted them with singing but they were Lutheran hymns and petitioned them for permission to call their own Evangelical Lutheran pastor. From Gastein they went off to Taxenbach on July 27th and then Saalfelden from where they began their return journey on July 28th.

Shortly afterwards they informed the Archbishop of their activities and findings on their return. As a result of their interrogations they had a list of 20,678 persons who had listed themselves as Evangelical Lutherans. They also brought forward the written confessions of faith they had received from the different districts and villages. In response, Firmian would declare his “rebellious” subjects to be outside the terms of the Peace of Westphalia because they were a sect and not one of the recognized confessions when in fact they all held unequivocally to the Augsburg Confession.

Court Chancellor von Rall now set in motion his response on two fronts.

On July 30th he sent an order to all of the Archbishop’s trusted agents with the instructions of the Commission: The peasants were forbidden to hold any gatherings and were to await further instructions. If soldiers had to occupy the mountain districts it was only for the purpose of peace and security and their maintenance. But then on August 4th a new order was sent out by the Commission. They were to arm the good Catholics to serve as their military and encourage and motivate them to repel an oncoming attack. In addition they should call up all retired soldiers and place them in their armed forces.

The Archbishop now attempted to use power to deal with the religious question and force the return of his Evangelical Lutheran subjects to the Roman Catholic Church. That is demonstrated by the fact that Firmian now approached the Emperor Charles VI with the request to send him troops for the forceful suppression of the Evangelical movement. This caused the Emperor no small embarrassment. Personally the Emperor was a devout Catholic and was only too glad to raise his hand against Protestantism, but his political cleverness was in control of his policies and did not allow himself that kind of prerogative. At the time he was in negotiations with the Evangelical Lutheran princes for their support for the Pragmatic Sanction to ensure the hereditary rights of his family to the Austrian lands. As a result he had to hinder an attack of Salzburg by the Lutheran princes because that would draw him into battle with them as well. On the other hand he needed the support of Salzburg to further his own plans. Upon the advice of Eugene of Savoy and his ministers and advisors he demanded the embassy of Salzburg to present a written report. It arrived in Vienna at the beginning of August. It took until August 16th before the Emperor agreed to send troops to Salzburg.

The Evangelical Lutherans of Salzburg naturally were not unaware of the troop movements taking place. This new development demanded new resolve on their part. Even when the Commission of von Rall was underway in the mountains, on July 20th and 21st several representatives from the parishes assembled at Schwarzach again. In making the decision to openly confess themselves to be Lutherans on July 13th, they had not considered the consequences. The Roman Catholic priests now tried to induce the Lutherans to belong to their parishes. They refused to baptize their children, conduct marriages and bury their dead in consecrated ground if they did not. These new conditions were the root cause of the second assembly at Schwarzach. They made the decision that beginning on St. James’ Day, July 25th they would no longer participate in Roman Catholic worship, would baptize their own children, bury the dead in their gardens and inform all of the assemblies of Evangelical Lutherans in the mountain districts of their decision and encourage them to do the same.

The news of this decision at Schwarzach was quickly spread and put into effect throughout the region. St. James’ Day became a milestone in the history of the Lutherans in Salzburg. The priests and agents of the Archbishop and Firmian himself saw this as an open break with the Roman Catholic Church and as an act of rebellion but it meant something different to the Evangelical Lutherans. They were prepared to be obedient to their noble lord in all matters secular. But in matters of faith they desired to follow their conscience and were not prepared to put their salvation in jeopardy through Papism. “We must obey God rather than men!”

The Evangelicals were only too well aware of the Archbishop’s military preparations, his arming of the Roman Catholic peasants and the occupation of the mountain passes with his troops. Up until now they had hoped that the Archbishop’s advisors had convinced him of a change in policy to allow the Lutherans to practice their faith. That hope was now dashed. There was no uncertainty in their minds that Firmian was determined to use force to implement his conversion programme. So what would they do? In order to determine a response to the new situation a call went out to meet at Schwarzach on August 5th.

It was this gathering that Firmian used as the cause of his decree, The Emigration Patent, identifying it as rebellion and insurrection of his Evangelical Lutheran subjects against him. This gathering at Schwarzach is the best known of the assemblies there even thought it was not as important as the earlier ones. The Evangelical Lutherans would later call it, “The Great Council” or the Landtag. This time there were at least three hundred representatives present at the tavern who discussed the issues all day. Silence was maintained with regard to the content of the debates and deliberations. But we discover information about the assembly as a result of the interrogations and cross examinations which followed.

Of course there were all kinds of rumours making the rounds. It was claimed that they had decided to issue a request to the Corpus in Regensburg to undertake an armed intervention on their behalf. Others claimed that Lutheran preachers had been requested to come to serve them from Regensburg. These were only rumours spread by people who were opposed to the actual decisions of the assembly. Many false documents were also circulated to put the Lutherans in a bad light.

In Salzburg all these rumours were accepted at face value and were the basis for the actions which followed. If there had been any facts to go on in terms of the deliberations of the Lutherans it would have been a different matter. There is no evidence that the Lutherans secretly planned to arm themselves to substantiate the claim that they were in rebellion against the Archbishop.

The same was claimed by the tavern keeper of Schwarzach, Georg Khähl, who under cross examination declared he had never heard the Archbishop being reviled or belittled at the assembly. In total solidarity, all those who were arrested claimed that an embassy of twenty-four men from the seven parishes in the Pongau were to be sent to Regensburg. There they were to deliver a petition on behalf of 18,000 publically declared Lutherans. In the petition the Evangelical Lutheran leaders in Regensburg were asked to work for the religious freedom of their fellow believers in Salzburg through intercessions with the Archbishop. All of those present at the assembly declared themselves ready to pay the travel expenses of their representatives. In response to the question as to whether they used the salt keg voting procedure most could not remember but we can assume they did.

Soon after the assembly the embassy undertook their journey. They crossed the frontier into Upper Austria at Gschütt because when passing through Wildenstein in the vicinity of Bad Ischl their Salzburg dialect gave them away. Twenty-one of them could not produce a passport and were arrested for further questioning and taken to Gmunden and from there to Linz and were eventually brought to Salzburg. Here they were imprisoned in the fortress of the Hohensalzburg. The other three, who fortunately had passports issued earlier could continue on their journey and arrived at their destination. They then presented their petition to the Corpus. The reply they received was not encouraging. The ambassador of Saxony indicated that his prince could not be of much help in achieving their right to practice their faith in Salzburg. The promise of the Corpus to raise the issue with the Archbishop held out little hope for the representatives.

The three representatives: Peter Hollensteiner of Werfen, Nikolaus Forstreuter of St. Johann and Andreas Gapp of Radstadt were bitterly disappointed by the response they received. In the past they had hoped to be able to live in their beloved homeland as Evangelical Lutheran Christians. There was nothing else to do other than emigrating. But where?

In answer to this question the three of them agreed to journey further. They left for Hessen-Kassel. Their plan was to discover if the King of Sweden was prepared to accept their people in his realm and domains. He refused because he only required miners and had no need for farmers and tradesmen. But he promised to say a word of support for them with the Emperor. He later did so but without any success. But their trip to Hessen-Kassel did prove valuable later. After the emigration a collection was taken in Sweden to assist the expelled Salzburg Lutherans. The King of Sweden gave 6,000 Gulden which was twice as much as the English King.

The three representatives proceeded to Frankfurt-an-Main and sought out the Prussian ambassador, the Privy Counsellor von Hecht who had been contacted by one of the representatives prior to their journey to Kassel. They presented him with their petition and requested that he bring it to the King’s attention. Hecht received them in a very friendly manner and was moved by their piety and faithfulness to the Gospel. He wrote them a letter of introduction indicating that he highly recommended them and told them to report to the King in Berlin. Unfortunately Andreas Gapp had a serious accident. He fell from the wagon on which they rode and a wheel crushed both of his legs so that he was unable to go on with the others. His companions did not want to leave him behind without any kind of care and gave him almost all of the money they still had and went on foot for the rest of their journey. That is why they only reached Berlin in November after Archbishop Firmian had already decreed the Emigration Patent and as a result a whole new situation had developed.

The news of the proposed expulsion had spread far and wide and the King of Prussia was anxious to get to know them so that he could satisfy himself as to whether they were rebels and insurrectionists as the Archbishop claimed in his Edict. He received them cordially. But to be certain in his own mind that there were really only religious grounds for their expulsion he had the two men appear before a Consistory to examine their religious beliefs. Their answers according to the clergy involved in examining them were “clear and colourful and totally within the tenets of the Augsburg Confession.” In the Minutes of the meeting indicated that the two men’s answers indicated the depth and sincerity of their faith. Forstreuter and Hollensteiner who had done so well in their examination by the Lutheran Divines in Berlin influenced the future of their countrymen but were not allowed to return home. Forstreuter found a new home in Regensburg. On the other hand Hollensteiner would be joined by his wife Barbara and their six children in Konigsberg in Prussia once the emigration was under way.

The newly awakened consciousness of the Evangelical movement in Salzburg meant that they were no longer prepared to conceal their Lutheran faith. They now proceeded to share their Evangelical faith with their remaining Roman Catholic neighbours. Whenever and opportunity presented itself, especially in the tavern, they attempted to point out the errors or Roman Catholicism and shared their Biblical faith. The Roman Catholic introduction of Canon Law, the intercession of the saints, indulgences, fasting and the rosary were the major points of discussion. That word of these discussions found its way to the priests and church officials and to the authorities was hardly any wonder. This gave them incentive to bring this to the attention of Salzburg. What was simply an eagerness to share their faith with others was interpreted as rebelliousness in their reports to the Archbishop. Whoever read these reports that were piling up in the Archbishop’s office had to see these reports as “facts” that the Lutherans were starting a rebellion.

The officials who sent the reports knew only too well how welcome the news they bore would be received by the Archbishop. That is why every expression of adherence to the Lutheran faith was seen as an act of disobedience and was rebellion against their ruler. Whether it was a matter of secret worship services in the forest, household worship and prayer, baptizing their children without the permission of the priest, were all acts of treason against the State. Religious discussions with Roman Catholics were seditious. There were all kinds of unsubstantiated allegations that the Protestant princes of Europe would intervene militarily on behalf the Salzburg Lutherans.

All kinds of complaints were registered against the Lutherans. In Uttendorf the Lutherans were said to have made fun of indulgences. In Saalfelden they pushed the statue of St. Neopmok off of the bridge into the river. In Hallein they smeared cow dung on the statues of the saints. The Lutherans sang chorales in their homes, with their house windows open just to annoy the Roman Catholics on their way to mass.

The fact that many secret gatherings for worship took place and house churches met were in effect a sign of a heartfelt and earnest religious commitment is never mentioned in the reports arriving in Salzburg. Nor the reading of scripture and spiritual literature and the singing of Evangelical hymns. All of this would come to the fore when the expulsions took place and these simple people demonstrated a deep and abiding faith in God and a commitment to the Evangelical Lutheran faith. During the emigration their hymns in particular carried them through their tribulations. Most of them were written by themselves while they were still in Salzburg.

One of these hymn writers was George Schwaiger from the vicinity of St. Veit. In 1730 he was put on trial because he ate meat on a fast day and during a house search an Evangelical prayer book was found. For some time he maintained silence but eventually stepped forward as a preacher at clandestine services in the forest. He was so good at proclaiming the Gospel in terms that the people could comprehend that an official wrote to the Court Chancellery warning that if they did not get rid of him the few remaining Roman Catholics in the mountain district would fall away.

Reports like this failed to reach Firmian’s ear. He left everything in von Rall’s hands. He made certain that his superior only heard of the non-religious acts of rebellion done by his Lutheran subjects. Firmian would have loved to have a peaceful reign. He gave all kinds of proof that he wanted to be a “father” to his people who were dutiful subjects. That is why he was so enraged against his Lutheran subjects because he depended on von Rall’s reports. He never considered making a canonical visit to the mountain districts to find out the spiritual state of his people. His blind trust in von Rall led to his tragic reign.

As a faithful son of the Roman Church and not to jeopardize his situation, Firmian remained silent about the spread and expansion of Lutheranism in his domains as far as the Papacy was concerned. He was taken by surprise on receiving a letter from Cardinal Banchieri. Pope Clement XII through his nuncio in Cologne had been informed of the religious situation in Salzburg and asked for a detailed report on the matter. The contents of the letter indicate that Rome was very much in the picture. The petitions of 19,000 Lutherans in Salzburg presented in Regensburg were obviously known to him. He indicated that action needed to be taken to erase this heresy as quickly as possible.

Firmian, true to form, had von Rall respond to this painful correspondence from Rome. That this task proved difficult for him is the fact that it took him four weeks to come up with a report. He wrote in Italian. He charged that it had already cost Firmian a fortune in his attempts to eradicate the Lutheran plague. These Protestant heretics did not just suddenly appear during Firmian’s reign but had been active since, “the arch heretic Luther first spread the poison of his false teachings.” He admitted every Archbishop had attempted to make his realm heretic free but they had all been unsuccessful. “But now in God’s good time and heaven itself the Church in Salzburg is in the hands of Leopold Eleuterius Firmian.”

Von Rall then recounts all of his efforts that had been undertaken to re-catholicize his diocese. “To re-win souls he secured Jesuit missionaries at his own expense to work in the mountain districts. Gave laws to strengthen the good and force the evil to leave. He established a commission of clerics and secular officials to investigate the religious situation. He tried every possible way to dispose of the evil heretical books, ordered house searches from time to time, discovered all of their hiding places, took the books away and punished converts to Lutheranism. He ordered his priests to special study and instruction at his cost and sent them from house to house to catechize the misled and ignorant people and taught them Catholic doctrine. He had to resort to imprisoning the “stiff necked” and the expulsion of many others.

Von Rall now claimed that in July of that year an open uprising had taken place with the goal “to give the land into the hands of another prince.” Such uprisings took place in St. Johann, Radstadt, Werfen, Goldegg, Crossarl, Taxenbach and Saalfelden. The priests fled in fear, law and order is non-existent and the land is in an uproar. His purpose was simply to use what was reported to him by his underlings to support his own thesis that the Salzburg Lutherans were in fact simply in rebellion against the established authorities of Church and State. He never questioned the truth or biases of the reports or those who wrote them.

Regensburg was also the scene of activity. The Corpus which had received the three representatives and considered the petition became aware of the new situation of the Lutherans in Salzburg and finally sent a memorial to the Emperor. It was dated October 27, 1731 and they pointed out, “that many living in the princely domain and diocese of Salzburg confess themselves to be Evangelical Lutherans and are hindered from the right to emigrate and are severely oppressed despite the privileges granted to them under the terms of the Peace of Westphalia.” The delegates and representatives of the Diet called upon the Emperor to send a commission to Salzburg and investigate the situation. The commission should consist of members of both Confessions and with their own eyes see the situation for what it really was. Their report would indicate what future steps needed to be taken. The importance of this memorial was the signatories and seals of the Lutheran delegates at the Diet of Regensburg. Unfortunately the memorial was too late. Five days later Firmian signed the Emigration Patent and whole new scenario was about to go into effect.

Before receiving the memorial the Emperor had already given in to the Archbishop’s entreaties and agreed to sending troops to support him. What led him to do so was the Archbishop’s warning that a similar spirit of unrest among the population was also noticeable in the Emperor’s hereditary landholdings on Salzburg’s borders: Steiermark, Tyrol and Kärnten. On August 16th the Imperial troops went into action, simply securing the frontiers but not entering the land of Salzburg. The Emperor wanted to try to establish peace in a friendly way in Salzburg. On August 26th, 1731 he released a two page document, “An Imperial Warning,” in which the Archbishop was also called upon to comply with the legal rights of his subjects.

Firmian did all he could to prevent the spread of the document in his domain. In place of it, on August 30th the Archbishop published a mandate to be put into effect throughout the land immediately. Household worship was permitted among the Lutherans but without a sermon. Persons not living in the house could not participate. Not more than three persons were allowed to assemble in public. Defaming the Roman Catholic Church or attempts to convert Roman Catholics was strongly forbidden.

A few years before these concessions would have been welcomed by the Lutherans but now they came far too late. The reception of the mandate was negative and led to animosity. Here and there the mandate was torn down, while some peasants prevented it being nailed on their houses.

The Salzburg government used this as an occasion to reiterate to Vienna that troops must enter the land. By the beginning of September the Archbishop had stationed 200 of is own troops in the mountain districts. In mid-September Imperial troops crossed the borders of Salzburg. By mid-October there were 3,600 Imperial troops stationed in the market towns, villages and districts of the mountain valleys. The Archbishop paid their wages. The householders with whom soldiers were quartered were responsible for their room and board. As a result of this order some farmers had to quarter up to 50 soldiers and local officials always chose Evangelical Lutheran households for this purpose.

Some of the troops refused to cooperate and were soon relieved. It appears that a large portion of them were Lutherans themselves and secretly assisted their fellow believers. They participated in household services and sang their Evangelical hymns. It has been ascertained that of the fifteen officers, six were Lutherans and of the 773 troops at least 100 were Lutherans.

Now with the land occupied by the military the Archbishop hoped to finally eliminate the Lutheran movement by force and suppression. He believed that if he had the leaders of the movement in his hands he could easily deal with the leaderless herd. The arrest of rabble rousers he left in the hands of his own soldiers. To make sure there would be no hitch, all of the arrangements were hushed up and kept secret.

The officials received instructions on September 27th not to leave their living quarters. On the evening of the same day, an officers and some men appeared and brought them the order of the Archbishop. With the support of his soldiers they were to surround the houses of known leaders of the Lutherans in order to arrest them and bring them to the nearest castle or fortress. The order was carried out at night in the darkness. On the whole, they did not encounter any opposition. It was only in Schwarzach where Peter Wallner and Joseph Pilzegger cried out for help at the time of their arrest. Even though this led to gatherings of people it did not lead to any action. Thirty-three Lutherans were chained and led away and a short time later were gagged and brought to Salzburg and imprisoned in the Hohensalzburg along with twenty-one peasant farmers brought from Linz. The news of the imprisonment of the men spread throughout the land and created great unrest everywhere. Secret consultations were held as to what to do. Hotheads proposed a violent liberation of the prisoners but the more thoughtful won out who advocated patience and keeping the peace.

It took weeks before the interrogations of the prisoners was completed. All of their attempts to get them to acknowledge and admit that they were involved in an uprising against their feudal lord failed. They assured their interrogators that each of them had remained in their workplace and occupation, they paid their taxes promptly and fulfilled all of their obligations of service willingly and opposed anyone who threatened the wellbeing of the Archbishop. It is understandable that the prisoners attempted not to incriminate themselves. As a result the Minutes of the cross examinations give a clear picture of the proceedings. Despite the distressing and painful treatment that the prisoners endured in the dungeons of the fortress, and even though the cross examinations were conduced more and more harshly, nothing was there to be extorted from them that could be used to convince the Emperor, the Diet or the Archbishop that an uprising was about to occur. It was therefore no wonder that Vienna counselled the Archbishop to free the prisoners, to purchase their property and goods and expel them from the land of
Salzburg. Perhaps then it would be possible to convert the remaining Lutherans through the priestly ministrations performed by the Capuchin missionary Order. Firmian never even considered that as an option. He was determined to get his way and carry out a violent persecution instead.

Not only was the Emperor dissatisfied with the manner in which the Archbishop was handling his Lutheran subjects. The Protestants, especially the princes of the Empire took new steps to better the lot of the Salzburg Lutherans. Von Rall did all he could to prevent the dissemination of the “Imperial Warning” issued by the Emperor and did all he could to prevent Vienna from being aware of the fact. But the Court in Vienna eventually found out and it grieved the Emperor personally. He felt betrayed by the Archbishop. The Lutheran princes believed the activities of the Salzburg ambassador Zillerberg were inappropriate and complained that their concerns for the persecuted Lutherans in Salzburg were not being brought to the attention of von Rall and the Archbishop. Zillerberg was impertinent according to von Danckmann the ambassador of King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia. The Prussian king informed the Emperor that unless he took action to suppress the violent persecution of the Salzburg Lutherans, he along with the other Lutheran princes and officials in the Empire would have to take similar reprisals against their Roman Catholic subjects, measure for measure by the Archbishop. The Danish ambassador received a similar warning from his King to present to Zillerberg with the same threat of reprisal. Even as these consequences for their actions were being communicated, von Rall and Firmian had already decreed the Emigration Patent.

On October 22, 1731 a general mustering of all defence forces was ordered. Those who reported were placed in columns and dressed in uniforms. On secret orders from the Archbishop a group of soldiers were formed into a unit in every parish but gave the impression of being mere spectators of some event. The soldiers took up arms upon orders of the local officials who then ordered the defence forces to place their rifles on the ground. The order was simply obeyed and the soldiers were to be ready to fire if there was any opposition. Surrounded by armed troops and threatened with death each man was called by name and was questioned as to whether he was Lutheran or Roman Catholic. Whoever claimed to be Roman Catholic could retrieve his rifle. The Lutherans had to hand theirs over to the officials and were discharged. They did so without complaint. This is certainly another example of how unfounded the official claims were that they were on the verge of open rebellion and waiting for an opportunity to start an uprising. On November 2, 1731 a universal house search was ordered to confiscate any hidden weapons. Once again they met no opposition. Firmian now felt himself to be powerful enough to order the publication of the Edict.

There was also a new intervention on the part of the Curia in Rome. He was ordered to take immediate steps to make his land Roman Catholic again. Cardinal Bancheri let him know that the Pope was in a state of great anger and rage over Firmian’s permission for the heretics to hold household worship. Such an approach could not be tolerated by the holy chair of St. Peter in Rome. The rebellion had to be put down.

But how did Rome envision the destruction of Lutheranism in the mountain districts of Salzburg? Completely different from what Firmian had in mind. But like the Emperor the Pope also advocated the use of Capuchin missionaries to win back the population to the Roman Church. Along with an apostolic blessing the Pope spoke of his hope that the Archbishop would undertake the holy work of re-conversion in every way necessary or possible. The missive was dated November 10, 1731.

On November 11th Firmian had the Emigration Patent nailed and posted throughout the land and also had it read publicly. He disregarded all the advice and counsel of others and placed himself in the hands of his Jesuit friends and his Chancellor von Rall.

On the whole the theme of the Edict is that it is directed not against his subject’s religion but their rebellion and disobedience towards him.

Point One:

All those adhering to the Augsburg Confession or the Reformed religion which are tolerated in the Holy Roman Empire and have declared themselves to be Evangelicals are to emigrate after paying appropriate fines on the sale of their property and goods.

Point Two:

Those who are not property owners and are above the age of twelve years who confess themselves to be either Lutheran or Reformed have eight days from the publication of the Edict to emigrate taking whatever they can carry or face punishment and conversion with absolutely no hope for grace of any kind.

Point Three:

This point deals with property-less individuals who are servants and officials in the domain of the Archbishop.

Point Four:

Relates to the citizens and tradesmen in the towns and market towns of the land. All those who subscribe to the Evangelical Confession lose their citizenship and the right to practice their trade as well as their standing as a master tradesman and must leave the land of Salzburg.

Point Five:

The poor who own property or houses are identified separately and are marked for emigration.

Point Six:

This point in particular surprised the readers because it claimed that although they claimed protection under the “tolerated” religions identified in the Peace of Westphalia they in fact were actually sectarians merely claiming to subscribe to the Augsburg Confession. Thereby they had created unrest and rebellion throughout the land.

Point Seven:

This item dealt with those who wanted to avoid expulsion and become Roman Catholics. Only those who claimed to be Evangelicals before the Commission in July 1731 and acknowledged their error within 15 days and themselves listed as Roman Catholics were allowed to remain. Those who were now prepared to take the step back to the Roman Church were not to be trusted. Those who claim they were falsely accused or listed as Evangelicals must be able to present a document to that effect. Those who had possessed Evangelical books at some time were to be expelled.

Point Eight:

This is a further elaboration of point Seven and deals with “clandestine” Evangelicals who publicly practiced Roman Catholicism. They too would have to sell their property and go into exile. Reading between the lines we catch a glimpse of what life will be like after the Emigration Patent is fully implemented. House searches would become a daily affair. A closer watch would be kept on the population by spies. Informers would engage in a lucrative trade. No one could be trusted. Neither friend, neighbour or family member. Above all those who remained had to prove by outward appearance and observance that they were devout Roman Catholics.

Point Nine:

This point deals with those holding to one of the tolerated Evangelical religions of the Holy Roman Empire who had not participated in any of the “uprisings“ or were guilty of sectarian heresies. They would be given the best possible consideration for emigration and be given appropriate documents through the assistance of officials. They would not have to pay an emigration tax. They would have to be certified by a local court ruling.

Point Ten:

This point deals with all of the `guilty` emigrants who had to pay all of their local fines and give half of their funds in payment for their passports. Another tax of ten per cent was paid on everything they took with them out of the country. Those unable to sell their property before emigrating would have the appropriate taxes deducted from the sale.

Point Eleven:

This item was directed to all officials to obey the Edict as strictly as possible. After the period of grace ended all those who failed to emigrate were to be chained and arrested with the help of the military.

Firmian and von Rall were convinced that the Patent would cleanse Salzburg of all heresy once and for all. They knew they acted illegally in terms of the Peace of Westphalia with regard to the religious issue, their whole strategy was to prove that those involved in the Lutheran movement were political rebels…which they were never able to do. No one in Salzburg believed there were except for Firmian and von Rall.

As diplomatic notes were being exchanged the expulsion was already under way in the land of Salzburg as the poor, labourers and servants, the maids and hired hands were being driven out of the country.

The decree signed by Firmian on October 31st was posted and read throughout the land on Sunday, November 11, 1731. This was done to make certain that everyone would hear it in the churches. One wonders if Firmian was aware that October 31st marked the anniversary of the posting of the 95 Thesis in Wittenberg by Martin Luther and that November 11th was Luther’s baptismal anniversary. It was also decreed one year after the 200th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession. On Friday, November 2nd a house search was carried out throughout the mountain districts in search of weapons. November 4th was too soon to get the decree out to all of the districts and that is why 11th would do. No symbolism was probably intended.

Naturally we would assume that that those who were effected would have been devastated at the reading of the Edict. But that was not the effect at all! So great was the confidence of the Evangelicals in the support of the Corpus in Regensburg that they did not lose hope that they would prevent the Archbishop from carrying out his plans and intentions. This was hardly the first time that the followers of Martin Luther’s teachings found themselves threatened by harsh mandates issued by Archbishops of Salzburg. The economic factor always had a way of getting in the way of the Archbishop’s religious zeal. The situation was not really as bad as it appeared. Besides now the Evangelicals were too numerous (estimated at 20% of the population). The Archbishop surely would not depopulate his domain. Just because the Edict sounded stern and harsh is should not be taken too seriously by the Evangelicals.

In addition the time of year made such an expulsion next to impossible. How could 20,000 men, women and children journey through the land in mid-winter over roads covered in snowdrifts and mountain passes that were closed? They were not alone in this opinion, many of the authorities were also concerned that it would not be possible to travel at this time of year.

A day later, on November 12th an official in Gastein went to Salzburg and met with members of the Court to find out if the authorities were serious about carrying out the Edict in light of the time of year. The answer he received from von Rall was that he was to proceed with all vigour and an example would be made of those who failed to comply.

In Salzburg itself no one had actually taken a look at the implications involved in an expulsion of so many people. In terms of the poor and property-less that in itself would be a matter of over 4,000 persons. It was only at this point that the Archbishop gave thought to whether the neighbouring Roman Catholic lands of Tyrol and Bavaria would permit people who he had declared to be unruly rebels to pass through their countries.

In great haste, on November 12th an inquiry was sent to the Bavarian Elector to instruct his officials to allow the expellees passage through Bavaria with the understanding that none would be allowed to settle there. Firmian’s request remained unanswered but the time for the implementation of the Edict had arrived.

The officials in the mountain districts were still not convinced that the removal of the poor expellees would take place very quickly. An official in Werfen wrote the Archbishop indicating that the handling of the property and goods of these people would take much longer than proposed and asked for a reasonable extension to prepare for the expulsion. Firmian took note of this and extended the time table for another week. In the interim the officials received orders by special courier related to carrying out the Edict.

These instructions were quite detailed. They were to form groups of 200 to 300 persons and send one group after another. There was also a rigid schedule to be followed, parish by parish to put the expulsion into effect. The beginning of the expulsion was undertaken in the district of Goldegg-St. Veit. Those who were effected were still convinced that the action would not take place. With the arrival of the military they realized the expulsion was in fact underway and they were taken completely by surprise. The soldiers forced their way into their houses and notified all servants and maids to assemble immediately and begin their journey into exile. They were no time to take along their clothes, money, necessities for the journey or do any packing. Just dressed as they were they had to go out into the winter cold. Military units guarded them on their way to Salzburg.

Social distinctions have always been strictly maintained in the land of Salzburg right up to contemporary times. Those who possessed more land held themselves distant from the “cottagers” and “little farmers”. They considered themselves to be high above their servants. But now because of their mutual faith and the same fate that all of the social classes among the Evangelicals now faced created a fellowship of brothers and sisters that demonstrated itself in many ways in many places.

As forty-eight day labourers from Wagrain were taken to St. Johann they were escorted by the entire Lutheran community. The peasant farmers from Wagrain vehemently resisted the order of the Richter (local magistrate) to surrender their servants. When he refused to comply with their request, three farmers Rupp Schwarzenegger, George Rüth and Simon Hofer handed him a piece of paper with a handwritten note as follows:

“It is the will and intention of the entire Evangelical Lutheran community that we be allowed to serve our God courageously and do His will remaining in our Evangelical Lutheran faith, for this is where we wish to live and die. In God’s Name we ask for the release of these captives and as soon as they are we will return to our homes.”

Captain Lapponi and his soldiers had to use every means to prevent the release of those to be led away for deportation. Not even warning shots were enough to disperse the people and make them turn back home. As the column of captives was marched through the area more and more people joined them and soon all of the valley of Kleinarl was in motion. Over one thousand singing Lutherans marched into St. Johann.

The local official, Ruttmayr was terrified that an uprising was about to break out and asked the huge assembly what they wanted. Their answer was that they wanted to go into exile with their servants, hired hands and maids. The official declared that this was not possible and threatened to punish them if they did not return home immediately. In response the spokesman of the people said, “We are not afraid of death, we find our confidence in the death of our Saviour.” It was only with a great deal of effort and force that the official was able to separate the forty-eight day labourers from the peasant farmers and force the farmers to go back home. The same took place at Radstadt.

By the end of November about 1,000 people were on their way to exile passing through Bavaria while another 200 were expelled through Tyrol.

The border between Salzburg and Bavaria lay much farther west than it does now. It was a two day forced march beyond the city of Salzburg before the 1,000 expellees arrived drenched and frozen at Tittmoning. Some of them had had to lie down on open barges on the Salzach River along the way. Now the Archbishop’s allegation that they expellees were rebels backfired on him. The Elector of Bavaria who had left unanswered Firmian’s second letter of request for permission for the deportees to pass through Bavaria were refused entry at the border. It was it was too dangerous to let such people into Bavaria. They should head for the Swabian border along the Lech River.

The poor exiles had to set out again and at Waging and Teisendorf they attempted to cross the frontier into Bavaria. Here again they were not allowed access through Bavaria. They had to persevere there for the next three weeks. The local official at Teisendorf provided some support but not even their basic needs were covered. The indescribable misery of the expellees endured waiting at the border finally forced the Archbishop to take up the matter personally with the Bavarian authorities. The idea of having the 1,000 exiles marched over to Tyrol was suggested since permission had been granted for more than the 200 persons who were already passing through.

Johann Phillip Wolfner, a Court Counsellor was sent to Traunstein to check out the Bavarian official there to get him to comply with allowing the expellees to pass through Bavaria. He was unsuccessful and so he set out for Münich. After long and difficult discussions he was able to get consent but only if the column of deportees passed through Bavaria as quickly as possible. Costs for support and care of the people could not become the responsibility of the Elector. An appointed paymaster had to accompany the columns of exiles and pay their expenses beforehand. Once those now encamped at the border had passed through Bavaria in future no more than 500 persons would be accepted weekly. Finally the band of misery could journey towards Landsberg and Rosenheim.

The expellees waited in Teisendorf and Waging until December 19th. The elderly and the sick were loaded on wagons. The Court secretary at Waging accompanied them as the paymaster for the group and provided six Kreuzer per person to those who were without any resources at all. The reason for that was that the official at Teisendorf had demanded Thaler per person as a travel tax.

(The journey into exile of those without land our property would differ from that of the property owners who would follow in the Spring of 1732. The major difference was that these later groups were organized and had a definite goal.)

The expellees now journeyed to Schongau am Lech and there they received the counsel to head for the Imperial City of Kaufbeuren and left Bavaria behind. Sixty-three of them got jobs as servants or work in terms of their trade. From there 326 persons from Pongau in the vicinity of St. Johann went to Memmingen, 152 from Radstadt went to Kempten and the rest from Wagrain, St. Veit, Gastein and Saalfelden went to Augsburg.

Before they took leave of one another a worship service was held on Sunday, December 30th in the city church. With blessings and hearty good wishes from the secular and religious authorities the three columns of exiles left Kaufbeueren “like a flock of sheep full of confidence and patience.”

The arrival of the emigrants in the Lutheran Imperial Free City of Memmingen was recorded by an eyewitness. Johann Georg Schelhorn writes, “…it was as if I was a witness of a living portrayal of the escape of the Israelites out of Egypt. The people came in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, bent over and shaking elderly men along with young men in the bloom of their youth; bundled up old women along with sturdy women and beautiful maidens. There was no dearth of children who walked in the steps of their parents with light hearts and steps, laughing children in their mother’s arms, holding onto the necks of their fathers who cradled them in their arms. Following them came the wagons loaded with those injured on the trek, the sick, the invalids, women in child birth, weak nursing infants, newborns and sleeping children. Who would have believed that these homeless people who now approached us had not raised their voices in complaint about their fate and destiny nor shouted to the clouds of heaven and cried tears of anger. Those of us who stood there and watched found ourselves with tears rolling down our cheeks and sighing deep sighs. But the exiles marched like triumphant Christian martyrs who we had been told about who had sung hymns on their way to a dreadful fate. And now our present day confessors of the Name came singing into our city just as they would later leave us in search of a new home in a strange land not knowing where they were going but trusting in Jesus Christ who would uphold them in spite of expulsion and all that they had endured.”

A large number of them would remain in Memmingen while the others went to Ulm. Most of them remained there but a small group journeyed to Tübingen and took up residence in various places in Württemberg. This concludes the first phase of the tragic emigration of the Salzburg Lutherans in the winter of 1731.

Both the Archbishop and von Rall had every right to be afraid that the plight of the expellees would have repercussions on the part of the Protestant princes and protest notes would be forthcoming. And they were. Including complaints from the Court in Vienna. The Emperor sent Franz Gentilotti on an investigative mission to report to him with upset Firmian and von Rall.

This is when von Rall hit upon the idea that although the Peace of Westphalia allowed dissidents three years to emigrate, he would employ the ruse that the peasants themselves had requested to leave immediately and that was actually true in some places. In November 1731 von Rall sent a communiqué to all of his underlings to this effect. He included an outline of a petition that the peasants could sign to make such a request. His officials did their best to do their master’s bidding. The plan failed utterly. For instance in Abtenau only eight persons took advantage of the offer. In most parishes the peasants were totally uninterested in the petition. For that reason a secret order was given hurriedly to all of the officials to get the peasants to request an extension of the deadline for emigration to St. George’s Day. To prevent the Lutherans from discussing the matter with one another beforehand, the officials were to invite the heads of the Lutheran households for a meeting with no reference to its purpose. Although 1,800 peasant farmers were questioned in this way the results were thoroughly unacceptable. It was now when Genitotti arrived in Salzburg. Meeting with Firmian on Feburary 3, 1732 the Archbishop claimed he could not rescind the Edict because the Evangelicals were political rebels and had requested permission to emigrate in the Spring without any opposition among them to do so. That made no impression on Genitotti. He still saw no proof of the charges of rebellion, it was simply the Archbishop’s obsession. That is what he reported to the Emperor and the fact von Rall was the most hated man in the realm.

On February 1, 1732 a new edict from Salzburg was brought to the attention of all officials. Now once again all worship assemblies of the Evangelical Lutherans was forbidden as well as the singing of Lutheran hymns or attempts to win others for the Lutheran faith. Household services were permitted as long as there were no visitors present. The officials were to keep an eye on all of those they suspected. The Edict’s intention was to make life miserable for the Evangelicals so that they would comply with von Rall’s plans and request banishment from Salzburg.

Von Rall ordered his officials to meet with each peasant privately and tell him that their fellow believers in other parishes had sent a petition to the Archbishop requesting banishment that he would now read to him. He encouraged the peasant to do the same and send a petition to Salzburg through him. The Chancellor kept his officials in the dark and they actually believed there had been such a petition that was sent to Salzburg. This failed once again. He did not allow that to deter him and had his officials sign for the peasants “who could not write.” Finally von Rall achieved his goal. The Archbishop ordered his officials to announce he was unable to the Evangelicals the freedom to practice their religion but he could allow them to emigrate in the Spring. The target date for the expulsion became St. George’s Day.

Diplomatic notes were exchanged once more from Regensburg, Salzburg and Vienna. Firmian was once again requested to revoke his Emigration Patent and comply with the rules of the Peace of Westphalia. His reply to them was that his Lutheran subjects stood outside of the law because of their rebellion. The kings of Denmark and England protested and sent ambassadors to the Imperial Court in Vienna for this reason. Even threats of reprisals against Roman Catholics in Protestant lands had no effect on Firmian.

Early in February 1732 Firmian informed his Evangelical Lutheran subjects in all of the parishes that he granted them permission to their request to leave the land on St. George’s Day, April 24th. Uncertainty about their destiny upset the people. Would they suffer the fate of their poor servants and maids and wander aimlessly? Fear and hope, confidence and worry filled their hearts. Suddenly the whole situation changed. To their surprise and the Archbishop’s. It was an act of God.

The King of Prussia signed a resolution on February 2, 1732 in which he declared that he would gladly receive the Evangelical Lutherans of Salzburg on his domains and provide them with a new homeland. Holland and other countries also offered them asylum including the colony of Georgia in America.

In all there were seven different emigrant treks of the poor and those without property in the winter of 1731-1732. The first consisted of 800 persons and left in November 1731. In the same month 153 others were sent via the Tyrol. In December another group of 506 persons had to leave. It passed through Bavaria across to Augsburg, Nordlingen to Franconia, while another group of 109 went via Tyrol and settled in the vicinity of Kempten. 424 more people left in January 1732 across to Landsberg, Mindelheim and Ulm to Wurttemberg where they found a new home. A sixth group of 688 persons followed them heading for Nurnberg where they arrived three weeks later. The last of these groups left at the end of March 1731. They left in several columns totally 1,504 persons and 800 of them went to Prussia. In all, up to March 29, 1732 there were 4,184 Salzburg Lutherans who were expelled from their homeland.

With his show of “grace” in extending the dead line for the expulsion until April 24, 1732 the Archbishop told the Evangelical Lutherans to use the time wisely in selling their property and goods. For their part they still hoped that the Corpus would intervene.

Because the numbers to be banished was so great Salzburg ordered that the Lutherans in each parish would leave on a different date. Letters of instruction were delivered and the exact date was given to the officials. These officials and the troops stationed all over the land carried out the action so that the peasant families were at the assembly places and were escorted into exile. They began their emigration in sixteen treks. The last group crossed the frontier on August 6, 1732. Horses and wagons were used to transport supplies and provisions as well as the elderly, sick, infants and small children. Only a minority were successful in finding purchasers for their property. The majority left their homes and property with the hope that the King of Prussia and the Corpus would help them get compensation later.

There was no single settlement in the Pongau and very few in the Pinzgau that were left unaffected by the emigration. Some areas, villages and the parishes of Werfen, Bischofshofen, St. Johann, Goldegg and Radstadt were virtually depopulated.

Parish Expellees

Golling 37
Abtenau 234
Saalfelden 667
Zell am See and Mittersil 53
Taxenbach 550
Rauris 166
Werfen/Bischofshofen 3,961
St. Johann 2,266
Goldegg/St. Veit 2,838
Grossarl 412
Gastein 487
Radstadt 3,096
Wagrain 1,521
__________________________
16,288

In addition there were 4,100 in the earlier treks made up the poor and those without property.

This meant that 1,776 farmsteads were abandoned and the neighbours had to look after the livestock they had to leave behind.

The first group of expellees left on May 6, 1732 from Salzburg and in their number was the recently released prisoner from the Hohensalzburg, the leader of Evangelical Lutheran movement, the blacksmith from Hüttau~Rupert Stulebner whose enemies gave him the nickname “bishop”. He had to ride on a wagon. He was lame and because of the hardships of the journey his leg would not heal. His fellow sufferers who shared imprisonment with him also lived with disabilities. To give the impression that the emigration was voluntary von Rall would meet each trek personally at Salzburg and give a speech on behalf of the Archbishop telling them to convert and remain in the land. For if they left now they could never return. The same declaration was read to them once more when they crossed the frontier in Teisendorf. Not a single person recanted or remained behind.

The first of the treks and the fifteen which followed were met and escorted by von Gӧbel to the Prussian border. They were warmly welcomed everywhere by their fellow believers, housed in their homes, served food and drink. Often the church bells rang as they entered a Lutheran town or village and services of thanksgiving were held. Johann Sebastian Bach played his compositions for the Salzburg Lutherans at services in both
St. Thomas and St. Nicolai Churches in Leipzig.

In the sixteen treks that left up to August 6, 1732 a total of 14, 179 peasant farmers set out for East Prussia. Unfortunately 805 of them died of hardship and illness on the way. Many left family members behind especially in cases of mixed marriages.

One group of Salzburg Lutherans were not effected by the actions and measures of Firmian and von Rall. They were the miners in the salt mines at Dürnnberg by Hallein. Because of Salzburg’s economic dependence on the income produce from the exporting of salt a forced emigration of the miners would have been economic suicide. Even though banishments had taken place here in the past the inhabitants had to a great extent been spared any actions against the although their Evangelical tendencies were well known in Salzburg. This silent forbearance is important to recognize and to recognize that the miners were not in contact with their fellow believers in the Pongau and Prinzgau districts before the expulsion of 1731-1732. They had no reason to identify with the situation of the other Evangelicals. Unhindered they could gather in the tavern of Durnnberg and hold services before going to work in the mines or join in Lutheran services at the wayside chapel.

It was only at the beginning of 1732 as the treks of deportees from Pongau and Prinzgau passed through Hallein that the miners gave up the concealment of their faith. Several of the miners greeted the exiles passing through and got into conversations with them and they made no secret of their own Evangelical faith in their discussions with the citizens of Hallein. The result was that they were reported by name to the local priest to whom they openly admitted as well that they were Lutherans. The report of this to Salzburg was unwelcome to say the least. We discover that rather than confront the Durnnberg miners with the choice of their faith or their homeland, the Religious Commission sought to minimize the consequences for Hallein economically by not permitting any further cross examinations in matters of faith in terms of the miners. They thought that in this way the miners would not consider joining the emigration and would in the course of time find their way back to the Roman Catholic Church. These hopes were however not to be met. The sight of so many faithful believers from all of the parishes in the mountains on their way to expulsion because of the Lutheran faith on their way to a new homeland and their courageous confession of their Lutheran faith awoke the Durnnberg miners from the peace they had always enjoyed. There were now more and more people at their gatherings, they sang Lutheran hymns in their homes without any timidity with such loud voices that could be heard at a great distance and above all at the priest’s rectory. They met at the Preacher’s Chair out in the forest Sunday after Sunday.

There is also information about a preacher who led in worship at the forest gatherings and in homes. All of the efforts of the Augustians, to whom the care of souls at Durnnberg was committed were in vain in their attempts to arrest him. They could not even find out his name. In all probability he was a tradesman from the Pongau district, who following the expulsion of his fellow believers began his activities as a preacher at Durrnberg. He may also have been the one to have encouraged the miners to make an open confession of their faith and planted the idea of joining their Evangelical countrymen into exile. In any case, the situation of the Durnnberg Lutherans changed radically following the trek of the exiles through Hallein and the arrival of the “preacher.” Again and again, miners did not enter the pits or those who did put down their tools and stood in groups in deep discussion. It could no longer be concealed that their discussions were either for or against emigration.

The decision to leave their homeland hurt them deeply. Someone was always sneaking down to Hallein to speak with the exiles passing through. They greeted them as fellow believers and were prepared to offer opposition to anyone who tried to separate them from one another. They sang Evangelical hymns with them and called themselves Lutherans. As a result the local judge, Franz Joachim Kineger reported to Salzburg that there was danger abroad because the Evangelical roots of the miners ran deep in the countryside and they were springing up all over the place. The officials in Salzburg were convinced that the miners would never leave their beloved mountain homeland. If they did leave they would have to find replacements if salt production was not be effected. They would have to find these miners in the Salzkammergut but it was a well known fact that the miners there especially in Hallstatt were also Lutherans. As a result they would have to find replacements in Berchtesgaden. But how many? No one knew how many were prepared to emigrate.
Reports coming to the Commission from Durnnberg were always contradictory. One reported that 200 persons had committed themselves to emigrate, others insisted that only a few were prepared to do so. Many had decided to stay because they could never find a better life anywhere else. Above all they were afraid of the possibility of having to journey during the winter.

In order to get a clearer picture, the Archbishop announced to the miners he would grant permission to all desiring to emigrate to leave the land with the understanding that they had to pay an emigration tax. For that purpose a list of names of the Lutherans, their age and property were to be prepared. For now gatherings were not be forbidden.

The result of the spies’ information indicated that of the 300 miners only 30 were not Lutherans and the rest had committed themselves to emigrate. At the end of June 1732 a single young man, Tobias Wӧrndl was sent secretly to Regensburg by the Lutheran Durnnberg miners to get information as to what state was prepared to accept them. He returned by mid July. After he had reported to the members of his own household on his trip an assembly was called for St. James’ Day (July 25th) in the Abstwald at the preacher’s chair. There he read two letters he had received through the good offices of the Saxon ambassador and from the ambassador of the Netherlands. In both letters they were encourage to emigrate as soon as possible. They would all be accepted in the Netherlands. The two hundred participants were divided in opinion. But through discussions the “ayes” for emigration won. Above all it was three miners, Hans Eggl, Johann Kambl and Andreas Egger who convinced the uncertain to support the vote. Immediately the decision was made to send a delegation to Salzburg to present a petition to the Archbishop to assent to their emigration. In their petition they acknowledged the Augsburg Confession as their own and requested that the Archbishop allow them to leave their homeland. They were not guilty of rebellion and they fell under th terms of the Treaty of Westphalia.

Because the petition was written in the name of all of the Evangelical Lutherans but without their signatures a Commission was appointed to investigate the matter. Under the leadership of von Rall the Commission arrived in Durnnberg and in three days they cross examined 222 persons. After each hearing only one item was recorded. That was the answer to the question of their confessional allegiance. The answers were short and to the point. They declared they believed everything taught by the Apostles and the faith of the old Catholic Church that had once been. They said the scriptures say nothing about purgatory. The new religious instruction provided by the Augustinians had no positive results. They believed in the Gospel and had no need of any other teaching. They were committed to emigration but had not set a date. Just like the Lutherans in Pongau and Prinzgau they refused to name or incriminate anyone else or their intentions about emigration.

At the conclusion of the hearings the Commission announced that the holding of religious discussions was forbidden. Von Rall admonished them to be peaceful and obedient. Household worship was permitted but not public gatherings. He then demanded that the date of the proposed emigration be shared with Salzburg at least two months in advance. Tobias Worndl received permission to travel to Regensburg again to arrange for the needs of the oncoming emigrants.

Now that the decision had been made to leave Durnnberg the miners began to think seriously about their future destiny. As miners they would no longer be able to follow that occupation. Consequently they planned to use their “moonlighting” second occupation as their primary trade in their new homeland. All of them, men, women and children knew the art of knitting and through the sale of stockings and cotton goods to peddlers they had a worthwhile second income. As soon as they arrived in Holland they wanted to stay together and jointly erect a factory and thereby ensure their economic future.

Von Rall and his advisors had yet given up about losing this asset to their economy and realized that the only thing that could prevent the emigration was to win them for the Roman Catholic faith. The Agustinians were given the assignment to conduct a mission from August 17th to September 3rd in the church at Durnnberg with the support of the priests in Salzburg. Day after day they were to instruct the miners from the pulpit with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. But they soon gave up because no listeners occupied the pews. Their attempt to hold conversion gatherings in homes also failed. As a last resort the local officials ordered that everyone had to appear at the rectory and provide a personal confession of faith. But only three persons were prepared to convert to Roman Catholicism.

The mission was a failure and the only real result was the opposite of what was intended for the miners were more resolute than ever to meet for services in homes and gathered for worship in the tavern. In a new petition they attempted to receive permission to emigrate. Salzburg’s suggestion that those without property and the poor among them should leave first to be followed later by property owners was turned down by the miners on the grounds that the poor among them needed the support of the others more fortunate than they were simply out of Christian love and compassion and for that reason they deserved to travel together. They requested permission to leave in six weeks, to head for Regensburg in ships on the Salzach and the Inn and eventually the Danube. Since they had horses and wagons, it was easier to transport their many children, elderly and sick to the river port.

Firmian and von Rall attempted one last measure to spoil the emigration. They encouraged the miners to stay at home until at least the winter was over. But if they were still determined to leave on the date they had specified each person would have to indicate that in his own handwriting. November 29, 1732 was the date set for the emigration. The miners sent a delegation to Munich and Passau with regard to their proposed river route asking for their permission and also the Corpus in Regensburg was asked to make arrangements for their passports with the Archbishop. Before the documents for permission to pass through Bavaria and Passau arrived news came from Regensburg that the Dutch ambassador once again assured them that they were welcome to come to Holland. They would immediately receive Dutch citizenship. The cost of the emigration would be met entirely by the Dutch government. They would not only have the freedom to practice their religion but the state would provide them with a pastor and a teacher at the state’s expense. Worship would be in their own language and would be taught in their school. They would receive land upon their arrival. Until they were in a position to look after themselves they would be supplied whatever they needed. They would be free from paying taxes for several years.

On November 22nd the certificate for passage on the water route through Bavaria and Passau was finally received. Nothing now stood in the way of departure. The Salzburg government had used the time to good advantage and had recruited 200 people would immediately take over the abandoned homesteads and work in the salt mine.

In the forenoon of November 30, 1732 the Durnnberg Lutherans bade farewell to their homeland and boarded the waiting ships at Hallein. There were 780 persons of every age who left their homes and property behind. Only 30 people remained behind. But in 1734 there was the complaint that they were decidedly not good Catholics and that it was imperative that someone keep an eye on them.

After many adventures the Durnnberg Lutherans arrived in Regensburg on December 13th and 14th. They had to come on foot for much of the journey because at Vilshofen the river was frozen and the ships could go no further. Only the old people and the baggage could be put on a few wagons. They rested in Regensburg for four weeks after their gruelling journey. They were lovingly cared for by the local population. Many were prepared to remain but it was out of the question. Shortly after their arrival the Saxon ambassador provided a pastor, Johann Gottlieb Fischer to care for them and accompany them to Holland. The choice of the man proved to be fortunate. He not only strengthened them in their faith through preaching but also became a trusted counsellor and advisor on the journey. We have him to thank for his recording of the journey.

On January 9, 1733 they departed from Nürnberg where they had arrived on January 12th. They rested here for another week. During these days their preacher was examined by the theological faculty at Altdorf close by and was immediately ordained. The people also had the opportunity to visit Joseph Schaitberger their former leader in their homeland who had resided here since his exile.

They left on January 19th after receiving many gifts of support and reached Kitzingen am Main on the 24th. From here on the journey was by water. They were loaded onboard eight ships. Everywhere where they docked they were warmly welcomed by the populace and were well cared for. Bible studies and services were held regularly where Pastor Fischer preached. Everywhere they went they were put through their paces by pastors who were amazed by their piety and their knowledge of the Bible and catechism. Going across Hanau and Frankfurt an Main they reached Rüsselheim on January 31st. They remained there until February 8th because the river had frozen and the ships were unable to go on. The journey now became tedious and often dangerous. It took until February 21 to reach Nymwegen in Dutch territory. They rested there for a week. They then sailed on further in 18 sail boats. Now the journey became unbearable. The weather was cold and stormy. On the ships no fire for cooking or warmth was even possible. Many were sick. Four small children had died while they were in Rüsselheim. At Dordrech thirteen of the adults were buried.

Now just about at their destination after four months they found themselves in a storm that almost destroyed all of them. Before their very eyes three other ships went under and no one was able to help or rescue any survivors. With relief they finally made it to their destination. The pastor led a service on thanksgiving with all of his fellow travellers on March 11th.

It was the last time they would be together as a group. Contrary to the promise to allow them to settle as a group in one place they were split up and portioned out all over instead. They were terribly upset. The scenes of final farewell were painful. Gone now was the plan to establish a knitting factory to support the community in addition to working their land. This is not what they had looked forward to when they had left their homes and homeland. These were flat lands as far as the eye could see, their neighbours had strange customs and spoke a strange language. How could they ever feel at home here? Deep depression affected all. They could not deal with it and they were in a weakened condition as a result of the hardships endured on the journey. They bitterly regretted not joining the others who had gone to East Prussia.

That hot summer brought an epidemic with it and over one hundred of them died. Some of them had already taken it upon themselves to leave the unfriendly land and returned to Germany where people spoke their language and practiced the same faith and had welcomed and helped them so much. Here they were at home and the majority of those in Holland wanted to follow them. All of pastor Fischer’s efforts going from place to place to encourage them to stay proved fruitless. By the end of July about 40 from Durnnberg had returned to Regensburg from Holland. They informed the Corpus of the conditions and situation of the others. The Dutch ambassador complained that they were impatient, work shy and ungrateful. He further claimed they had been well looked after and they had spent 20,000 Gulden on them. Once he visited their colonies he admitted things were not as good as he had claimed. Only recently had they had a German speaking teacher for the children and a small orphanage was set up. Only 42 families that consisted of 216 persons decided to remain. The others were determined to go to Germany and find a new home. They set out in small groups in the various places where they had been settled. A portion of them settled in the area around Hamelin. The others found other communities and assimilated with the local population quite quickly.

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