By Duane C. S. Stoltzfus

To Hutterites and participants of alternative pacifist sects, serving the army in any respect is going opposed to the biblical commandment "thou shalt no longer kill" and Jesus’s admonition to show the opposite cheek while faced with violence. Pacifists in Chains tells the tale of 4 younger men―Joseph Hofer, Michael Hofer, David Hofer, and Jacob Wipf―who those ideals and refused to accomplish army provider in global struggle I. the lads paid a steep expense for his or her resistance, imprisoned in Alcatraz and fortress Leavenworth, the place the 2 youngest died. The Hutterites buried the boys as martyrs, mentioning mistreatment.

Using archival fabric, letters from the 4 males and others imprisoned through the warfare, and interviews with their descendants, Duane C. S. Stoltzfus explores the strain among a rustic getting ready to go into right into a international struggle and a humans whose background of martyrdom for his or her pacifist ideals is going again to their sixteenth-century Reformation beginnings.

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Additional resources for Pacifists in Chains: The Persecution of Hutterites during the Great War

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During their days in confinement, through narrow fields of vision, the five Hutterite men watched the Ninety-first Division prepare for war. Michael Hofer described their glimpses of camp life: “We go from one window to another. ”16 The view from outside the guardhouse was decidedly more upbeat. Virtually every press account portrays a camp full of recruits raring to confront the German army with green fir-tree insignias on their 32 Pacifists in Chains uniforms and bayonets in hand. ”17 Most of the men assembled at Camp Lewis were being trained for offensive operations as foot soldiers in a large mobile unit bound for the trenches in Europe.

They broke into the high school and hauled off German textbooks; then they drove to Observatory Hill, with fanfare worthy of a parade, and there they lit a giant bonfire. ” In Groton, a group burned all the German books in the schools; in Lennox, the German textbooks simply disappeared. No arrests were reported in either case. 12 Pacifists in Chains Efforts to eradicate German in all forms in South Dakota reflected a national hysteria. Near the town of Vermillion in South Dakota, Rhine Creek became Marne Creek.

Catholic leaders recognized the threat to their authority in this emerging lay priesthood of believers. To their mind, if the church is composed of units of two or three or more people independently gathered together in prayer and Bible study as the earliest believers did, then what role is left for the archbishops, the priests, the hierarchical church structures? And how would the state maintain order if baptized babies were not automatically added to the tax rolls as new citizens? And so the state church responded with ferocity, tracking down suspected Anabaptists and ordering them to recant under threat of torture and death.

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