Balthazar Hubmaer was born in Bavaria in 1480. He studied the doctrines of the Protestants, embracing the views of Luther, pastoring a Lutheran church and becoming a good friend and associate of Ulrich Zwingli. However he expected the Reformation to return to Biblical truth, and when that did not occur he embraced Anabaptism. He formed a Baptist church and immersed more than a hundred of his former church members, drawing the wrath of both Protestants and Catholics.
Both Hubmaer and his wife were arrested and jailed separately. The dungeon cells in which they were kept were dark, cold and full of disease. Balthazar’s health deteriorated. He pleaded with his old friend Zwingli for assistance but was refused. After some time, the only hope he had was in death or recantation. Torture on the rack and with other means were applied. In his weakened condition, and fearing the worst for his wife, he agreed to meet Zwingli’s demands.
Balthazar Hubmaer was taken into the city cathedral and placed on the raised pulpit before a huge congregation. Swaying back and forth in weakness, he began to read his letter of recantation, but then he stopped. As if miraculously empowered by God, he raised himself to his full height, and he filled the cathedral with the shout, “Infant baptism is not of God, and men must be baptized by faith in Christ.” The huge crowd exploded, both with curses and some praise. Hubmaer was dragged back to prison where he once again wrote out a clear and Biblical confession of faith.
On this day (March 10) 1528 Pastor Hubmaer was led to the place of his death. His wife, in bonds, was forced to watch, but she exhorted him to be strong and faithful. He was stripped of his clothes, and his long beard was doused with sulfur and gunpowder. During these preparations, he exhorted his friends, prayed, and asked forgiveness for his earlier weakness. When the guards lit the faggots, under the direction of his former friend Zwingli, Pastor Hubmaer suffocated from the smoke of the sulfur. Then three days later his wife joined him in the presence of their Lord, having been executed by drowning in the Danube River.