North Central Europe     (p. 7 )

Anabaptism was introduced in the lower Rhine and northern Germany in about 1529. A succession of leaders Melchior Hoffman, Jan Matthys and Jan van Leiden embarked on a militant type of millenarianism. According to their interpretation of Daniel and Revelations, Münster would be the New Jerusalem, and the radical Anabaptists (Melchiorites) were predestined to help God usher in the New Kingdom by force. The episode ended tragically. Thousands of misguided people were killed. The bodies of the two leaders, Jan van Leiden and Bernhard Knipperdolling were placed in an iron cage and suspended from the pinnacle of the St. Lambert’s Church tower in Münster. The cage is a tourist attraction to this day.

In 1536 after the Münster tragedy, the moderate Anabaptists approached Menno Simons, a Catholic priest who had embraced the Anabaptist faith, to become their leader. In the course of time the whole movement adopted his name.

The map shows many of the places where Menno Simons lived: Witmarsum, Groningen, Emden, Cologne, Wismar and Bad Oldesloe. He also visited the Mennonite Church in the Vistula Delta.