Hans Haslebacher was born near Sumiswald around 1500 and lived in this house which is not far from there in Kleinegg. Direct descendants of him still live in the house today and run the farm and dairy at that location.

Castle Trachselwald

If you are Amish, Ex-Amish or are familiar with Anabaptist history, this name should ring a bell.  There is a long hymn in the Ausbund telling about this Anabaptist. The Amish still sing that song to this day.

Hans was a farmer and preacher and travelled around the Emmental encouraging believers. He was imprisoned several times and spent quite a bit of time in Castle Trachselwald.

At his death, when he was beheaded in Bern, he told the executioner and the crowd that had gathered that his head would jump into his hat and laugh, the sun would turn blood red and the city well would sweat blood.   He laid his big hat in front of him.  Everything happened as he had said it would.   The song says that the executioner and the crowd was so touched that they quit killing the Taufer (Anabaptists). Haslebacher was the last public execution in Bern. Persecution would continue on for quite some time and would include imprisonment, banishment and other forms of harassment.


Gerechtigkeitsgasse, Bern, Switzerland

This is Gerechtigkeitsgasse, an important street in Bern. This photo was taken while standing in the intersection of Gerechtigkeitsgasse and Kreuzgasse. The Rathaus (courthouse) is a block to the right.

After being condemned to death in the Rathaus many prisoners were executed at this intersection. It is believed that Hans Haslebacher may have been executed here. We know he was executed in Bern.

That is a nice fountain just past the intersection heading on down to the clock tower which you can see in the distance. I was impressed with the tall buildings, the cobblestone streets and the electric trolleys that ran up and down this street on a regular basis. This is a busy street in what I believe is the old downtown in Bern.



Marker on the trail of the Anabaptists of Sumiswald
Marker on the trail of the Anabaptists of Sumiswald

In the area of Sumiswald there is a Taufer Trail; marked with signs like this at important places along the route. There are two of these markers at Trachselwald and another one at the Haslebacher House.

Some of the information that I have in this post comes from these signs. If you are touring in Switzerland and are interested in Anabaptist history, find these signs in the Sumiswald area. The first one is at the church in Sumiswald and is where Hans Haslebacher was in attendance when he was growing up.

One Comment

  1. Dick Somer

    I recently visited the church where my ancestor, Ulrich Rinehart, was recorded along with other members of his family. It was a moving experience to be where a man decided to move to America. What courage !

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