Bernhard Knipperdolling, a German Anabaptist, born in Munster near the end of the 15th century, executed Jan. 23, 1536. Exiled for several years from his native town, he adopted in Sweden the doctrines of the Anabaptists. On his return to Munster, he united with Rothmann, John Matthias or Matthiesen, John Boccold of Leyden, and others, and being wealthy was able by the favors which he granted to unite the poorer inhabitants against the rich. Ho was imprisoned, but released by his partisans, and succeeded in banishing the nobility, clergy, and many of the most influential citizens from the city. A council was chosen in 1534, in which the Anabaptists were predominant, and they immediately tilled all public offices with their adherents, made Knip-perdolling first burgomaster, and proclaimed an equality of estates, polygamy, and community of goods. All who refused to cooperate with them were driven from the city or slain. Knip-perdolling was subsequently proclaimed stadt-holder, and John of Leyden king, it being prophesied that the latter should be victorious over all the princes and princedoms of the earth.
On the capture of the city by a Catholic army in 1535, Knipperdolling was taken prisoner, and put to death with fearful torture. which he endured with extreme inflexibility. (See Anabaptists, and John of Leyden.)