The Anabaptists and other groups originated in the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest, initiated a series of events beginning on October 31, 1517, which shook, divided, and in some instances revitalized Christianity in Western Europe and which are collectively known as the Reformation.
The early Anabaptists were educated and urban–but the persecution drove them from the cities and towns to the remote and relatively inaccessible highlands and mountain fringes of the fertile areas of the Canton Bern. Here they hid and persisted in spite of persecution, through the centuries to the present time. Persecution, of varying intensity, was the lot of the Swiss Anabaptists (Mennonites) until the middle of the eighteenth century.
The severe persecution inflicted on the Swiss Mennonites during the latter part of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth, resulted in the migration of several hundred Mennonites to the Palatinate. There had been large movements of Swiss Mennonites to the Palatinate prior to this time, especially in the first years of Anabaptism, but such settlements were largely destroyed by persecution and the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).
Two groups of ethnically Swiss Mennonites also proceeded to Volhynia, and met and merged there into a larger community. One group from South Germany, coming as part of the Mennonite movement to Galicia in 1784-86, consisting of nine families (prominent were Krehbiel, Miller, Schrag, and Zerger), left the Galician Mennonite settlement in 1796 and attempted unsuccessfully to integrate themselves into the Hutterite Bruderhof located in the northern Ukraine on the River Desna at Vishenka.
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1943 Memorial Marker