Fate of Johann Bernhard Aldinger

In the year 1689-90

The church books of the Fellbach Evangelical Church inform us of an outstanding happening with an Aldinger which is absolutely unusual. In the year 1688, French King Louis XIV covered many parts of Germany, including the state of Württemberg and the town of Fellbach, with a war. The French troops had marched and invaded with panic and horror. However, in 1689 the German rulers did not want to remain as helpless as the year before.

Therefore, it was decided by the Dukedom of Württemberg (German ruler of the state) that each and every town would be forced to have a certain number of citizens under arms for protection. As a result of the policy set by the Dukedom of Württemberg, thirty-one (31) men from Fellbach were selected as men under arms, one of them being Hans (Johann) Bernhard Aldinger. By the way, Hans was the grand-nephew of Michael and Agatha Aldinger. Michael Aldinger was the Bürgermeister (Mayor) of Fellbach in the year 1681.

The German contingency from Fellbach was assigned to a troop of approximately 500 men who were detached to Knittlingen, then to Bretten to avoid the "murder burning" of the French. Really, the French invaded the land again in 1689. The German amateur-warriors of Württemberg, including the Fellbachers and Hans Bernhard Aldinger, were soon surprised by the French professionals and most of them were arrested. The "Fellbacher" prisoners were taken through Philippsburg and Strassburg and then over the Champagne and deep into France. Most of them died away from home.

But (!), Hans Bernhard Aldinger was NOT among them. Hans, then 26 years old, was taken from Champagne to Katalonia, near the Spanish border where the French king was also at war with Spain. Probably, Hans Bernhard Aldinger was forced to become a French soldier to serve as cannon fodder against the Spanish. However, before this could happen, Hans escaped when he was sent out to fetch beans. Hans, the Fellbacher, was lucky and reached the site of a Spanish military camp. Then, he was brought to Madrid, Spain, where at a favorable occasion he met the Spanish king and his wife. The Queen was touched and sent Hans to the hospital for food and medical attention. Therafter, Hans was cared by the King and the Queen and became the servant chamber to the Bavarian Ambassador in Madrid. In spite of this, Hans Bernhard Aldinger would have ended his life in Spain if it were not for his decision to fight his way back to Württemberg and back to Fellbach in 1690. He happily and joyfully reached his hometown of Fellbach on December 23, 1690.

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