Thursday, February 21, 2013

Anneken Haunts Me

Anneken Heyndriks isn't done with me — nor I with her. Here is the account of her trial, torture and death from Martyrs Mirror. I'm hoping to post some further thoughts by Monday.


In the year 1571, there was burnt alive, at Amsterdam in Holland, for the testimony of Jesus, a woman named Anneken Heyndriks, aged about fifty-three years. Having come from Friesland to Amsterdam, she was betrayed by her neighbour, the underbailiff, who entered her house in order to apprehend her. She said to him with a meek spirit: “Neighbour Evert, what is your wish? If you seek me, you can easily find me: here I am at your service.” This Judas the traitor said: “Surrender, in the name of the King.” And he bound Anneken with a rope, and led her along with him, as Judas and the scribes had done with our predecessor, Jesus.

When they arrived on the Dam, Anneken said that they should not hesitate to look at her, since she was neither a harlot nor a thief, but a prisoner for the name of Jesus. After arriving in prison, she thanked and praised her Lord and Creator with an humble heart, for counting her worthy to suffer for His Name's sake. And she boldly confessed her faith before Pieter the Bailiff and the other lords. They greatly tormented her with Baal's priests, in order to cause her to apostatize; but through the grace of God she valiantly resisted it. This greatly astonished the bailiff, that she did not pay more regard to his spiritual lords, and he said to Anneken, “Sir Albert, our chaplain, is such a holy fellow, that he ought to be mounted in fine gold; and you will not hear him, but make sport of him, hence you must die in your sins, so far are you strayed from God.”

Thus they suspended this God-fearing aged woman (who could neither read nor write) by her hands, even as Christ had been, and by severe torturing sought to extort from her the names of her fellow believers, for they thirsted for more innocent blood. But they obtained nothing from Anneken, so faithfully did God keep her lips. Hence the bailiff preferred against her the charge of being infected with heresy, having forsaken the mother, the holy church, now about six years ago and having adopted the cursed doctrine of the Mennonists, by whom she had been baptized on her faith, and married a husband among them. Thereupon she was sentenced to be burnt alive. She thanked the lords, and said with humility, that if she had done amiss to anyone, she asked them to forgive her. But the lords arose and made no reply. She was then tied on a ladder. Then she said to Evert the underbailiff, her neighbour: “Thou Judas, I have not deserved it, that I should be thus murdered.” And she asked him not to do this any more, or God should avenge it on him. Thereupon Evert angrily said that he would bring all those that were of her mind the same trouble. The other bailiff came once more with a priest, tormenting her, and saying that if she did not renounce, she should go from this fire into the eternal. Thereupon Anneken steadfastly said: “Though I am sentenced and condemned by you, yet what you say does not come from God; for I firmly trust in God, who shall help me out of all my trouble.”

They did not let her speak any more, but filled her mouth with gunpowder, and carried her thus from the city hall to the fire into which they cast her alive. This done, the traitor Evert, the underbailiff, was seen to laugh, as though he had done God an acceptable service. But the merciful God, who is the comfort of the pious, shall give this faithful witness, for this brief and temporal tribulation, an everlasting reward, when her stopped mouth shall be opened in fullness of joy, and these sad tears (for the truth's sake) shall be wiped away, and she be crowned with eternal joy with God in heaven.

Note: we have obtained this sentence of death of this pious and valiant heroine of Jesus Christ, as the same was read to her in court; as also the record of her torture, which, as it appears, took two weeks before her death; which we shall place here one after the other, as they were copied by the secretary from the criminal records of the city.

2 comments:

Joel said...

Curious about this, all the more so because of the Dutch connection? Who was it that burned Anneken Henydrinks? Catholics? Lutherans? Dare I ask, Calvinists?

Darrell Reimer said...

Well ... I should think 1571 clears your forebears of this particular execution. The predominant religion servicing the ruling regents of Amsterdam would still have been Catholicism.