Emden - European City of the Reformation
Exhibition "Martyrdom and Protestantism"
"Die Wahrheit ist untödlich – Martyrium und Protestantismus" meaning "The truth is immortal - Martyrdom and Protestantism" was the title of a joint exhibition presented by the Johannes a Lasco Library, the East Frisian National Museum Emden and the Mennonite Church Emden / Norden in cooperation with the University of Oldenburg (26 July to 31 October 2014).
The genre of the Book of Martyrs was the focus of the exhibition "Die Wahrheit ist untödlich – Martyrium und Protestantismus" meaning "The truth is immortal - Martyrdom and Protestantism" in the Johannes a Lasco Library. These are books, which tell of the blood testimony of persecuted Christians and which have appeared in various countries and denominations. Two issues have been published in Emden which have been widely used; these are the "History of the Martelaren" by Adriaan van Haemstede (1559) and the collection of songs "Het offer des Heeren" (1561/62). The exhibits, which were shown in the cabinets of Johannes a Lasco Library, originate from its own collection, from archives and libraries in and outside of East Frisia and in part from the University Library VU Amsterdam and the Tresoar in Leeuwarden.
In one section of its armoury, the East Frisian National Museum Emden showed documents about the Baptist persecutions in the 16th century - among them are documents which were adopted at imperial level and Emden’s police regulation of 1545, issued by Countess Anna. Also, some instruments of torture from the Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg will be on display which were used by executioners during the so-called "Peinliche Verhöre" (meaning “torture interrogations”) at the time. A listening station will present this in a lively manner. An Emden exhibit: An executioner's sword from the inventory of the East Frisian National Museum in Emden.
In Emden’s Mennonite Church biographies of martyrs were presented which have been vividly prepared by students of the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg. All of the martyrs portrayed showed references to East Frisia.
Accompanying the exhibition is an elaborately illustrated publication with the title Die Wahrheit ist untödlich – Martyrium und Protestantismus" meaning "The truth is immortal - Martyrdom and Protestantism" which soundly explains the persecution of people with different faiths i in the 16th century - especially the persecution of the Baptists, practiced by both Catholic and Protestant authorities.
At that time the Baptist movement was of particular significance in Emden and East Frisia - not least because this country enjoyed a religious freedom and tolerance which is deemed exemplary. In the Netherlands, however, the Baptists were ruthlessly persecuted and punished – there, East Frisian Baptists ultimately found death as well. Their fates are presented in this accompanying publication, which also discusses the imperial decrees against the Baptists and which documents, among other things, the role of the executioner at the time of the Reformation.
The brochure is available for three euros in the ART-shop of the East Frisian National Museum and in the Johannes a Lasco Library.