|In Berchtesgaden, Protestants had the same struggle. Many, if not most, were related to miners on
the other side of the mountain in Salzburg land. The first exiled Berchtesgadeners took their skills
with them, and their finely painted children's toys, tin products and turned wooden musical
instruments were sold by the exiles around Nürnberg and in the neighboring Altdorf under the
collective term of "Berchtesgadener Ware". They were popular and a major competitor with similar
items being produced back home.
This raised economic concern for the Berchtesgaden government who, for a time, held people back
from emigrating. Instead, the church began a toilsome rooting out and massively rampaged against
everything left behind which was remotely Lutheran. Prohibited from holding any meetings among
themselves and not allowed any more work, they were forced to live on limited rations of food and
were not even allowed to bury their dead in the local cemetery, but "only in remote rocky places".
Systematic house searches for Protestant writings were increased and the books were confiscated
with their owners severely punished. One Hans Ecker was thrown in jail for three days with only
bread and water, then forced to stand in the marketplace pillory with a "heretical" book tied around
his neck. Two years after his punishment, Ecker escaped and fled to Nürnberg.
In Berchtesgaden, the man in authority was Lord Provost Anton Cajetan Freiherr von Nothafft, a
resolute foe of Protestantism. On October 26, 1732, he finally signed an "emigration patent", a
decree mandating the Protestants to vacate the country within three months, which fell in the middle
of a cold January. The deadline was extended until April, but the harassment which the Protestants
endured until their departure was horrible.
Fortunately, recruiters from Hannover had been active. George II, the Elector of Hanover and King
of England, promised them a settlement in Hanover, with a ten years tax exemption and assistance to
ensure their maintenance until they were able to support themselves on their own. Commissioners
came into the area in order to accompany the exiles and pay the "transfer fee" imposed upon the
poorer emigrants for dismissal from their serfdom. In Mid-April 1733, first by ship, then by
marching, around 800 emigrants walked across Germany, men, women with small children and old
people, many of whom died en route. One father carried his daughter, whose leg had been broken,
on his back the whole way. Another girl, 14-year-old Margaret Ganser, was taken in by a Duchess in
Coburg. It is this trek that Goethe later used as the basis for his epic "Hermannn and Dorothea".
About 1,000 people from Berchtesgaden, not miners, but peasants and small farmers, were allowed
to leave and most settled around Hannover, and in 1733, 82 Protestants from Bischofswiesen also
decided upon Hanover as a destination.
|Aus der Heimat hinter den Blitzen rot
From the direction of home,
behind the red flashes of lightning
Da kommen die Wolken her,
The clouds come,
Aber Vater und Mutter sind lange tot,
But Father and Mother are long dead;
Es kennt mich dort keiner mehr.
No one there knows me anymore
|Wie bald, ach wie bald kommt die stille Zeit,
How soon, ah, how soon will
that quiet time come,
Da ruhe ich auch, und über mir
When I too shall rest, and over me
Rauscht die schöne Waldeinsamkeit,
the beautiful forest's loneliness shall rustle,
Und keiner kennt mich mehr hier.
And no one here shall know me anymore.
|Over the Mountain
|Above left: The year that the Protestants were driven out, the jubilant Catholic authority commissioned the building
of the pilgrimage church of Maria Kunterweg. The painted ceiling of the church shows 14 local Protestants on the
bottom getting their punishment from God (click to enlarge). Despite these intense measures, it was not until a
parish report from the year 1788 that it was confidently stated that "the erring faith" was finally eliminated.
|THE SALZBURG EXILES