Hinterhütten — Anabaptist Hiding Place

Hinterhütten — Anabaptist Hiding Place

There is a farmhouse on up the mountain from Trub, Switzerland that provided a hiding place for Anabaptists in that area. We drove on past Trub and Fankhaus and kept going up the mountain. Finally we reached this little farm. The building is typical for Switzerland as the house and the barn are in the same building. There are more buildings on the property.

The couple who lives there now have three children. Their ancestors owned this place and they are the ones who helped Anabaptists to hide from the Bernese authorities. The hiding place is described below. But this farm is also very close to the edge of Canton Bern and by running on up the hill behind the farm and crossing the line into Canton Lucerne. Authorities from Canton Bern were not allowed to cross the line into the next canton so it provided a safe place for people to escape.

This hiding place is unique. There is a new floor in place now to use as this is a working dairy farm. You see the long planks. One of them was hinged and when you jumped onto it, you would lowered into a small compartment below from which you would block the plank from coming down on whoever was chasing you. The description says that people would run in the barn over hay and suddenly disappear and the authorities could not find them even though they searched the whole building. There used to be a large smokehouse in the building and there were rooms constructed of heavy planks in which meat was hanging. This room was hidden among those rooms.

Hinterhütten

This is a model of the building. I am pressing down on a plank to show how it worked.

The smokehouse is evident rooms there on the right of the photo. It is now longer in use as a smokehouse today and is now part of the museum.

 

Hinterhütten

The Hinterhütten building today.

We entered in the big doors on the top floor. The house is on the lower level to the right. The hidden trap door was straight ahead against the rear wall of the barn. The barn is a part of a dairy farm and in use today. Hay and equipment are stored on the top floor as well as equipment from generations past. The couple has made this into a living farm museum. They remodeled rooms below the top floor to house more displays and have a unique museum here honoring the Anabaptists of this area and also their ancestors, the Fankhaus family.

There are more pictures on Facebook. www.facebook.com/myamishstory

3 Comments

  1. Thanks, Laster, for sharing. I understand (from GAMEO I believe) that Christian Fankhauser was a dairyman and a cheesemaker. Did you learn anything about their cheesemaking activities, like what kind of cheese (Emmental or some derivative thereof) and was it for their own consumption or was it marketed? I understand that Christian ended up in the Jura mountains during the latter part of his life and made cheese there. I am doing a book about cheese and how it got to Sugarcreek, Ohio. So I am particularly interested in the Anabaptists’ role in cheesemaking.

    Reply
    • Henry,
      My Great Grandfather was Christian Fankhauser the Cheeser. He came from Switzerland and originally lived in Holmes County then later opened a cheese shop in Mount Eaton, Ohio. I don’t know if the other Fankhauser’s who came before him began the cheesemaking in Sugarcreek or if he had something to do with it. I would be very interested in your research so far.

      Reply
  2. Is it still possible to visit this place? We will be in the Trub area which is where my ancestors lived. I think an appointment has to be made because the family doesn’t appreciate it if people just show up. We would like to go there in the beginning of October ’17. Can you let me know how to get in touch with the people who live there.
    My e-mail is mmaarsen_keim@hotmail.com

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *