906 05 Sobotište, Slovakia
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Social and family life in the Anabaptist community

The Community of the Anabaptists perceived as a fraternity (Bruderschaft) was an independent socio-economic unit whose members were guided by specific religious principles. In economic and social terms, the basic organizational principle was equality between its members. After 1622, when Sobotište became the seat of the Haban bishop, it was at the same time an important social center of the anabaptists in Slovakia.

The citizens of the anabaptist court were guided by an order with precisely defined rights and obligations. The social organization of the Court has undergone several developmental changes which have been influenced by various economic, political and social factors. Individual households were managed by a farmer (Haushalter). They managed food stores, issued clothes, procured raw materials and supervised order. The movable and immovable property of the members of the Community was shared by the fraternal community. Working tools were given to individual manufacturers for long-term use, they were given personal clothing. Personal objects after the death of the individual fell to the court. Moderation was maintained in food and drink, more profound meals were given to those who performed harder physical work and children. The Anabaptists were given food four times a day in the communal kitchen, with men sitting on one side and women sitting separately on the other side of the dining room, with dedicated tables for craftsmen.

Applicants could choose their spouse within the municipality or from the neighboring fraternal courts. Marriages were not freely entered into. Every bidder had to give his intention to marry to the elders who showed him three brides at the next general meeting. Of them, he had the opportunity to choose the one he liked most. If the adept did not choose, he could not come up with a proposal for marriage until a year later. (Marriages should not be entered into the fourth degree of kinship). The couple lived in the assigned chambers in the attic above the workshops. During the day they did not meet and did their duties. After the birth of the child, the mother paid special attention (hearty food, drinks, etc.). After the end of the puerperium, the woman returned to her work.

During breast-feeding, the baby could stay with her mother, but up to two years. Subsequently, their parents transferred them to the so-called small school (Klanaschuel). They were entrusted to nurses who were appointed to raise young children. They slept under the supervision of nurses in separate rooms. After completing the fifth to sixth year, they were entrusted to the teacher so-called great school (Essenschuel). It was the duty of the teacher to devote himself exclusively to the education of young people; every child received education without distinction. The main virtues the children were led to were devotion, humility, honesty and bravery.