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A Swabian Cobbler-Farmer Survives the Thirty Years War – Hans Heberle (1597-1677)

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The emperor and the Saxon made peace at Prague (5), for the Saxon was the head of the Protestant camp. The emperor thought that when he had [peace with] the head, he would have the whole Protestant Union, and so it happened. For when the Saxon came to the emperor and allied with him, Nuremberg was first in line to follow, and Ulm followed Nuremberg. They met the Hungarian king, the emperor's son who was at that time King of Hungary, at Heilbronn. There the Ulmers got their liberties confirmed, as follows: that they will be left secure and un-coerced concerning the free exercise of their religion, their form of government, and their rights, liberties, and laws as of old. [ . . . ] Then the Te Deum laudamus (6) was sung in all the churches, and the bells were rung for an hour, and at the end all the city's artillery was fired from all bastions at once. After Ulm, Memmingen was next [to make peace], then Frankfurt. I read about this in a newsletter. [ . . . ]

Cannibalism at Breisach (1638)

Almost all the dogs and cats in the city [of Breisach] (7) were eaten, and some thousands of horses, cattle, oxen, calves, and sheep were also eaten.

On November 24, a captured soldier died in the jail, and when the provost went to bury him, [he found that] the other prisoners had taken his body, cut it up, and eaten it. The prisoners in the jail made holes in the walls with their fingers so that they could partake of it. Two dead men in the burying ground were carved up, and the entrails were extracted and eaten. Three children were eaten in one day.

The soldiers promised a pie-maker's son a piece of bread, if he would come into the barracks. When he entered, they butchered and ate him. On December 10 in the Fischerhalden alone, eight prominent citizens lost children, probably eaten, because nobody knew where they'd gone to. This doesn't count the strangers and beggars' children, of whom nobody knew anything. In the square alone ten deaths occurred, not counting those found in the manure piles or in the alleys.

On December 12, another soldier died in the jail, and when the provost went to bury him, the others lying about fell upon the body, ripped it with their teeth, and ate the corpse raw. [ . . . ]

(5) Refers to the peace signed on May 30, 1635. This might well have ended the Thirty Years War, except that the specter of peace prompted France to enter the war, which then continued for another thirteen years – trans.
(6) "O Lord, we praise thee," the traditional hymn of thanksgiving – trans.
(7) Breisach was a strong fortress city on the right bank of the Rhine below Freiburg im Breisgau and well above Strasbourg. It guarded the crossing of the Rhine in the direction of Colmar – trans.

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