Peasants' War memorial stone at Rieseninger

The monument made of 200 hundredweights of shell limestone was erected by the Mühlhausen Beautification Association and inaugurated on July 14, 1901. The inscription on the valley side was changed twice in order to rededicate the original "Peasants' War Memorial Stone" as the "Thomas Müntzer Monument" in 1953 and to adapt it once again to the historical image of the GDR in 1975.

When the Rieseninger Berg was redesigned as a town park on the initiative of the Mühlhausen Beautification Association, the "Peasants' War Memorial Stone" was erected on the northern slope in a frame typical of the time. This was the first time that the events of 1525 and in particular Thomas Müntzer (ca. 1489-1525) were permanently commemorated in a public space in the town. The text of the inscription on the valley side was designed by the grammar school professor and town historian Reinhard Jordan (1847-1916):

In memory

of the

Peasants' War

and the unfortunate year

of Mühlhausen


On this hill

the heads of the leaders executed at Görmar

executed at Görmar

Thomas Müntzer and Heinrich Pfeiffer

were impaled

Erected by the Verschönerungsverein

of Mühlhausen

at the foundation of the town park


At the inauguration on July 14, 1901, the dignitaries of the association explained that they had "not created a monument [...] to glorify the deeds of those blinded, violent masses and their fanatical leaders" (town councillor Max Langhammer, 1856-1940). It was expressly intended that "the memorial stone erected should not in the slightest glorify the Peasants' War and its leaders, who brought so much disaster, misery and humiliation to our home town, but only record and mark the historical episode and bloody final tragedy of the Peasants' War that took place in the areas surrounding us" (association chairman, farmer owner Gustav Weymar, 1843-1903).

During the Weimar Republic, the site and its memorial were nevertheless adopted by the organizations of the workers' movement in order to demonstrate their contrary view of history at events held there in May 1925 to mark the 400th anniversary of the German Peasants' War, in which Thomas Müntzer in particular was stylized as the champion of their own cause.

The nationwide veneration of Müntzer, which began in 1949 with the founding of the GDR, increased identification in Mühlhausen with his person and his work in the town in 1524/25. The "Thomas Müntzer Battle Week for Peace" from 25 to 31 May 1953 was then the reason for the renaming of the Rieseninger to "Volkspark Thomas Müntzer" and for the removal of the original inscription on the monument. It was replaced by a new memorial plaque on May 27, the 428th anniversary of Müntzer's death:

Much blood was given

since Müntzer's bold deed;

the German people shall live

and the seed grows magnificently!


Thomas Müntzer

the revolutionary

peasant leader against

feudalistic oppression

and exploitation

who established the eternal council in Mühlhausen

council in Mühlhausen and proclaimed the

proclaimed the People's State in 1525

The introductory verses were taken from the poem "The New Germany" by the poet KuBa, alias Kurt Barthel (1914-1967), which was dedicated to the GDR.

The celebrations for the 450th anniversary of the German Peasants' War in 1975 in the GDR, which were celebrated in Mühlhausen with "Thomas Müntzer Festival Weeks", meant that the 1953 inscription no longer seemed appropriate. A new plaque was unveiled on July 4:

"Violence shall

be given

to the common people"

Thomas Müntzer in the year 1525

His far-reaching ideas

far-reaching ideas

were recognized by the

working people in the




realized today

According to a report in the daily press about the inauguration by Mayor Karl Saul (1919-1977; official from 1973-1977), he "emphasized in his speech that Müntzer's dream of establishing a free people's state has become reality in our socialist republic, and he recalled the traditions of the working class, which, among other things, honoured Thomas Müntzer with a meeting of the Red Front Fighters' League at the same place in 1925." The new inscription modernized the image of Müntzer in accordance with the GDR's understanding of the state, which had changed in the meantime. It fully corresponded to the official interpretation of history at the time, which was not corrected until the end of the "first workers' and peasants' state on German soil", which presented itself as such. As a result, the inscription on the monument in the park outside the town was not redesigned when the 500th anniversary of Thomas Müntzer's birth was celebrated in 1989.

The political change in the fall of 1989 and German reunification also freed Mühlhausen's own town history from state-ideological predeterminations. The time-bound nature of older images of the Peasants' War and Müntzer is all the more evident today. The monument in Rieseninger itself documents their development over the 20th century. It will therefore retain its last memorial plaque on the valley side and will be supplemented with a new inscription on the back for the present in 2025. - Knowing full well that every form of historical assessment remains connected to its respective time.


Peasants' War memorial stone at Rieseninger
99974 Mühlhausen

Phone: +49 3601 404770
publicly accessible

Pets allowed

free entrance

Photography allowed

no sanitary facility

further information

Distance to public transport:
1.3 Kilometer
Guided tours
guided tour (only) with registration

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Legal information

Name of company

Mühlhausen City Council, Lord Mayor Dr. Johannes Bruns
Ratsstr. 25
99974 Mühlhausen

Phone: +49 3601 452115


Wirtschaftsbetriebe Mühlhausen GmbH
Windeberger Landstraße 73
99974 Mühlhausen


Tel.: +49 3601 404770


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