Hans Heinrich Landis, the Martyr

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Hans Heinrich Landis, the Martyr

Also Known As: "Hans Landis the Martyr"
Birthplace: Horgen, Horgen District, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Death: September 29, 1614 (61)
Wellenberg Tower, Zürich, Zürich District, Zurich, Switzerland (Beheaded)
Place of Burial: Body lost or destroyed Specifically: Beheaded; remains presumably disposed of by the state or the Reformed Church.
Immediate Family:

Son of Johannes Hans Landis and Katharina Landis
Husband of Verena Landis and Barbara Landis
Father of Jakob Landis; Konrad Landis; Caspar Landis; Rudolf Landis; Reverend Hans Heinrich Landis, II and 7 others
Brother of Ulrich Landis; Rudolf Schinz Landis; Verena Landis; Agta or Agatha Landis; Ludi Landis and 4 others

Occupation: Reverend
Managed by: Dr. Jon Dennis Bayer, MD
Last Updated:

About Hans Heinrich Landis, the Martyr


On Friday morning, September 30, 1614, his wife and adult children came to the prison, weep-ing. "Please go home," he said, "and remember me as I was." He feared that their presence would make him lose his resolve to meet death nobly and courageously. The headsman begged Hans's pardon for what he was about to do. "You must carry out your orders," Hans replied. "God has already forgiven you, and so do I." He was the last Mennonite martyr to die at Zurich.

Landis Family History Originally submitted by vincedasilva to Our Family Tree on 18 Apr 2007 Adapted from of Herald Press, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 280-281. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website. SEE MORE BELOW

Landes (Landis), a widely ramified Mennonite family in South Germany and in the United States. It stems from the canton of Zürich, Switzerland, where it is found (spelled Landis) in Pfäffikon on Lake Zürich in 1417, Hirzel in 1438, and Menzingen in 1454.

Horgenberg near Hirzel was the birthplace of Hans Landis, a Mennonite preacher who died as a martyr on 29 September 1614, in his seventieth year. He left a large family. His wife Margaretha Hochstrasser was 60 years old and stood loyally at his side. The father's steadfastness engraved itself deeply into the hearts of his children, who preserved his spiritual legacy for the most part, resisting the pressure of the government on their faith. His son Felix died in prison in 1642 in consequence of inhuman treatment, but Felix's wife Adelheid Egli managed to escape after four years. Another son, Hans, married to Elisabeth Erzinger, was also a preacher; his daughter Margaretha lay in prison with him for 60 weeks. The martyr's daughter Verena was married to the weaver Jacob Suners of Holland(?); she died in prison at Zürich in 1643 at an advanced age in consequence of maltreatment (Mart. Mir. D 822, E 1121), one of the last victims of the persecution of the Zürich Swiss Brethren. Through Hans Suner, probably a son of Jacob Suner, frequent relief offerings of the Dutch Mennonites passed to the Swiss Brethren.

After the execution of Hans Landis the Zürich council decided to confiscate Anabaptist property without respite. On 22 October 1614, it ordered the confiscation of the property of exiles. The property left by Hans Landis was indeed promised to his wife and children on 23 February 1615, but only on the condition that they join the state church within two weeks. Otherwise they could expect only exile and loss of property. Since the sorely tried widow could not make such a promise she was "laid in bonds" on 24 May. The Reformed preacher tried to win her to his church in prison. It is not known how long she was held. Her children were at first intimidated, but finally most of them decided to stay with the Swiss Brethren. The government then confiscated the property and put dependent members of the family among strangers. About 1640 the property of Rudolf, Hans, and Felix Landis, all sons of the martyr, was sold.

The descendants of the martyr Hans who were loyal to the faith of their fathers left the country. Some of them settled in Alsace (especially in the Rappoltstein region). The first mention of the family in the Palatinate occurred on 2 March 1661, when a group of 50 persons was surprised at an evening meeting at Steinsfurt near Sinsheim on the Elsenz; they were heavily fined. Among them were Hans Heinrich Landes of Rohrbach, his son Rudolf Landes of Weiler, and his mother and sister.

In the 18th century there were Mennonite members of the Landes family in the Palatinate at Steinsfurt, Zuzenhausen, Schatthausen, Richen, Bockschaft, Kirschgartshausen, Ibersheim, Heppenheim, Hochheim, and Herrnsheim. In Monzernheim near Alzey a member of the Landes family (his Christian name is not stated; it was probably Johann Jakob Landes who was at this time a renter of the Dalberg estate near Herrnsheim) wanted to purchase an estate owned by a merchant living in the Dutch province of Groningen. He had already paid, but the Catholic renters (Roll and Walldorf) objected and demanded that the sale be nullified; they also demanded a decision as to whether a Mennonite in the Palatinate could buy land at all and own it like a Catholic citizen. On 24 January 1726, an electoral decision compelled Landes to yield the land to the plaintiffs upon repayment of the purchase price and other expenses. On 18 January a decree was issued by which any member of the three established churches could require a Mennonite purchaser to return it for the original sale price. This regulation remained effective until 1801, with the modification in 1737 limiting the right of redemption to three years.

In the 19th century the family produced personalities whose influence on the Mennonite churches in Baden, Württemberg, and Bavaria was very beneficial. Heinrich Landes (d. 1886) of Ehrstadt, later at Lautenbach near Heilbronn, was one of the leading elders. In a similar spirit his sons worked, Christian Landes (d. October 10, 1933) and Heinrich Landes (d. June 24, 1918) at Lautenbach. The former was a cofounder of the Mennonite deaconess work taken up in 1904 in Baden and Württemberg, and was for many years the director of this charitable work (see Gem.-Kal., 1933, 36-38), and a cofounder of the Heilbronn branch of the Evangelical Alliance. A son of Heinrich, Walter, was elder of the church at Heilbronn, and another son, Christian, was a preacher there.

The task of visiting minister among the Mennonites of Baden was undertaken by Michael Landes of Albertshausen in 1872 after completing his training at St. Chrischona. He was the first full-time visiting preacher (Reiseprediger) in Germany. In his later years he preached for the congregations at Eichstock and Ingolstadt (d. 13 July 1926). His deep piety and humility won him honor and appreciation even on the part of the Catholic clergy of his vicinity (Gem.-Kal., 1928, 63-74). Emanuel Landes served the congregations of Munich, Regensburg, and Eichstock as pastor for many years until his retirement in 1954 at the age of 74.

The members of the family expelled from Switzerland who did not settle in the Palatinate, emigrated to America in the 18th century, retaining the Swiss spelling of their name. In 1717, with the first German mass immigration, three brothers, Benjamin, Felix, and Johannes Landes of Mannheim, landed in Pennsylvania. American immigration lists of 1727, 1732, 1734, 1736, and 1745 contain the names of other members of the family. The towns Landisville and Landis Valley were named for them, in which large Mennonite churches were established. The name is of frequent occurrence among the Mennonite preachers in Pennsylvania. The Dutch Naamlijst names Jacob Landis as a preacher at Indian Creek in the late 18th century, and Abraham Landis from about 1790 at Deep Run.

John Landis settled at Quakertown in Bucks County, Pa., Franconia Conference (MC) district. Jacob, who settled in Lancaster County, had one son Benjamin (1700-81), ordained to the ministry before 1746, who became the progenitor of the widespread Lancaster Landis line. Among the prominent Lancaster Conference (MC) ministers have been John B. Landis (1820-1902) of East Petersburg, John L. Landis (1832-1914) of Mellinger's, Sanford B. Landis (1869-1926) of Mellinger's, and Noah L. Landis (1857-1940) of Landis Valley, preacher from 1898 and bishop from 1905, moderator of the conference 1928-40. His son Ira D. Landis (1899- ), also of Landis Valley, preacher since 1921, was the historian of the Lancaster district. Noah E. Landis (1893- ) was a bishop at Alpha, Minnesota. In 1954 eight ministers in Eastern Pennsylvania bore the name Landis.

excerpt by John Landis Peeling, copied from a website http://genforum.genealogy.com/landis/messages/1021.html

The Landis families have their origin in Menzinger, Aeugst am Albis, Hirzel, Horgen, Kappel am Albis, Kilchberg, Richterswil, Schönenberg, Urdorf, & Wädenswil, all of Canton Zurich, Switzerland, and all sitting on the western shore of Lake Zurich, in about 1392. There are still Landises living there. Swiss records state that this family name identifies an old family of the parish Hirzel in 1485. The oldest known Landis homestead is located in Hirzel was built in 1488 and is still kept by a Landis descendant, Alvin [Alwin] Landis, in the area now known as Oberhirzel, near Wädenswil, Canton Zurich, Switzerland. Address: Dorfstrasse 53, 8816 Hirzel, Canton Zurich, Switzerland. Others living at that address include: Dieter, Hedy, Peter, and Werner Landis.

The name Landis comes from "land" and "oesen" which means "land destroyer". The original spelling was Landoes (Landös).

Various historical sources record early Landises. A Hansen Landos of Uerikon is recorded in 1372 A Rudi Landos is recorded in 1415 The first appearance in the Horgen records of a Landis is 1485.

From the Historic Background and Annals of the Swiss and German Pioneer Settlers of South-eastern Pennsylvania: A Landis is one of the names joining when Menno Simon founded the Mennonite Church in 1538. Hans Landis, who in 1614, against the prohibition of the government preached before large meetings in forest and field, baptized and solemnized marriages. He was, for that reason, taken prisoner and as he would not promise to cease such activities in the future, condemned to six years’ punishment on the galleys of Venice, but escaped. He returned to Switzerland and was soon recaptured and beheaded on Sept 29, 1614. It was reported that he was a tall, stately person with a long black and gray beard and a manful voice. In 1637 a Hans Landis (the second) a minister of the Church of Horgerburg and his daughter Margaret Landis were placed in Othenbach prison (about 6 miles southwest of Zurich on the Reuss River) for 60 weeks and all of their property was sold.

In 1640 an Oswald Landis, his wife, and two daughters-in-law and his son Jacob Landis and his entire family were imprisoned in the Othenbach prison. One or two years later Felix Landis of Horgerberg (a son of Hans Landis who was beheaded in 1614) was similarly imprisoned and almost starved to death before release. In 1643 Verena Landis also suffered threats and imprisonment.

Two Landises are listed as preachers to those who were Mennonite land buyers in the Skippack settlement in Pennsylvania in 1706. A Jacob Landis of Switzerland is one of the signers of a letter written on March 3, 1709 to the Anabaptist congregation in the Netherlands (Holland). The signers list themselves as ministers and elders of the Mennonite congregations of Switzerland. A Landis who is identified as being from Zurich is banished from Bern in 1710. With others from Zurich and Bern, they were transported down the Rhine in 1710 and are believed to have eventually moved to Obfeldon and Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania. Because Prussia had become depopulated by pestilence and war, King Frederick of Prussia in 1710, asked Bern, who wanted the Mennonites out of Switzerland, to send a colony of the persecuted Mennonites there. They would have religious freedom and be exempt from war. Bern expressed the hope that the Mennonites would find it (land near the border of Lithuania) comfortable so that none of them would attempt to come back. The project failed. They found that their principle of non-resistence was not respected and while not compelled to bear arms, they were compelled to pay large sums of money as the price of exemption, and too, the hope of going to Pennsylvania was a great a temptation.

<> In 1712 a Johannes Landis is living in Pequea Valley, PA. On 2/14/1729 a Felix Landis, Jr. is naturalized and recognized as having arrived between 1700 and 1718

Hans Landis was the last Anabaptist to be exicuted for his faith in Zurich, Switzerland. He was beheaded.

Was a Reverend, Behead because of his religious beliefs at the Wellenburg Tower in Zurich ,Switzerland. Martyr

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Hans Heinrich Landis, the Martyr's Timeline

April 19, 1553
Horgen, Horgen District, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
April 19, 1553
Horgen, Zürich (Ch)
April 19, 1553
Horgen,Canton Zurich,,Switzerland
April 19, 1553
Hirzel, Zurich, Switzerland
September 8, 1583
Hirzel, Horgen District, Zurich, Switzerland
January 27, 1585
Horgen, Horgen District, Zurich, Switzerland
Horgen, Zürich (Ch)
February 12, 1587
Horgen, Horgen District, Zurich, Switzerland