A New Book on the Schwenkfelders

After a long preliminary exchange of e-mails Dr. Horst Weigelt, Germany’s foremost scholar on Schwenkfelders, decided that he wanted his latest book to be translated into English and specifically wanted me to be the translator. I feel much honored that he chose me for that task. Of course, I agreed.

The pre-publication title of the book is Migration and Faith: The Flight of the Schwenkfelders from Silesia and their Emigration to America. The book is written in nine chapters and runs about 200 pages of double-spaced lines. There will be some illustrations. This book presents much new information since Weigelt’s last book published in 2007. Dr. Weigelt has spent his entire life researching and publishing on the Schwenkfelders. His dissertation appeared in 1973. It was translated into English by Dr. Peter Erb and published in 1985. His next book, Von Schlesien nach Amerika (From Silesia to America) was published in 2007 but no English version exists.


Only the English version of Migration and Faith will be published. With this volume Dr. Weigelt shows how the migration of the Schwenkfelders from their home village in Silesia to a refuge in Saxony and then finally to a permanent home in Pennsylvania brought about changes in Schwenkfelder faith and religious practices.

In the course of translating this book we have had some interesting discussions on how to translate certain words, as is normal in translation work. One of our recent discussions has been on the term “Magistrat”. Weigelt thought this might be translated as “magistrate”. I felt it was a possible translation for a person who participates in the governance of a city, but I felt that “city council” was the appropriate translation for the governing body itself. Weigelt felt that “civil” should be used instead of “city” and thus the body should be called the “civil council”. I still prefer “city council”.

The process of translating is always fascinating and always requires some give and take between the author and the translator. In the end I am certain that Weigelt and I will feel good about our efforts to bring new information and insights of Schwenkfelder culture to the broadest possible audience – and we hope you will, too.

Allen Viehmeyer

Associate Director for Research


About schwenkfelder

We are a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of the Schwenkfelders and the history of southeastern Pennsylvania and the Perkiomen Region. The Heritage Center offers educational programming and tours, exhibits, workshops, and events throughout the year. Our blog is maintained by museum educator, Rebecca Lawrence, SLHC staff and guest bloggers.
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