Not far from Herrnhut, also in the Oberlausitz region of Saxony, lie the ruins of the water castle once owned by Zinzendorf's maternal grandmother, Henriette Katharina von Gersdorf. Here, "young Lutz," as he was called by his family, grew up and was early exposed to Pietist influences. His grandmother, a remarkable woman who corresponded with Leibniz and read the Bible in the original languages, had as visitors to her castle the two main figures of German Pietism: Spener and Franke. Here young Zinzendorf also became familiar with the work of the Pietist missionary Ziegenbalg in India, the first organized Protestant missionary effort. Later he would write: "I know the day and the hour and the place at Hennersdorf, in the large chamber, anno 1708 or 9, when I heard people read from the newspaper about East India [=India] for the first time, even before there were any reports. There arose also within me a first desire [for missionary work]. (Erich Beyreuther, Der junge Zinzendorf [1988], 61-2).

According to local information, the castle was still liveable after World War II but quickly deteriorated without proper maintenance during the period of Communist rule. When I visited the castle in 1994, it was fenced off because of the danger of collapse. --Hans Rollmann


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Please contact Dr. Hans Rollmann at hrollman@morgan.ucs.mun.ca for info, enquiries, criticisms or problems.
This page currently maintained by David Cantwell. Last modified July 3, 1997