Christoph Zeller

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Tomb for Stefan Fadinger and Christoph Zeller in the Seebacher Moos

Christoph Zeller († July 18, 1626 near Urfahr , Upper Austria ) was the landlord in Haibach ob der Donau and St. Agatha , brother-in-law of Stefan Fadinger and went down in history as chief captain of the farmers of the Mühl and Machland districts in the Upper Austrian Peasants' War of 1626 .


Christoph Zeller's ancestors owned a tavern in Haibach ob der Donau for several generations . We know about Zeller's life before the Peasants' War mainly from a letter from Erasmus von Rödern to Baron von Tattenbach from 1626: He was brought up by Hieronymus Schlux zu Grueb and Haglau, a member of the Obderennsian knighthood who has his seat in the castle Grueb in Kirchberg on the Danube . He probably accompanied him on his travels, which he undertook in his function as Starhemberg fiefdom to Austria above and below the Enns. After the death of his mentor in 1603, Zeller became a soldier. From 1606 at the earliest, he held his parents' tavern in Haibach, which then passed to his brother Georg between 1607 and 1611. Shortly before 1625 he acquired a tavern in St. Agatha.

After the Bavarian governor Adam Graf von Herberstorff had a rebellion of armed subjects against the forcible appointment of a Catholic priest in the Frankenburg dice game of May 1625 cruelly sanctioned, the entire peasantry of Upper Austria was in turmoil and enjoyed solidarity among the non-peasant classes.

Together with his brother-in-law Stefan Fadinger , he planned an uprising for May 31, 1626, but a fight with Bavarian occupation soldiers in Lembach im Mühlkreis triggered the general contingent on May 17. The farmers immediately occupied castles and markets, including the Peuerbach market . Then the governor Herberstorff set out with a force there. The rebellious peasants, led by Zeller, succeeded in luring the governor and his armed forces into a trap, and by attacking the right flank in sloping terrain, they were almost completely open. After this battle he was elected chief captain of the farmers in the Mühl- and Machlandviertel. During the subsequent siege of Linz , he commanded the farmers on the left bank of the Danube for two months.

On the night of July 18, Bavarian reinforcements landed in Linz with weapons and food. Herberstorff supported the lay-in with increased artillery fire at the enemy positions in Urfahr and with a sortie. During these fights Zeller was killed by a heart shot. Like his comrade-in-arms Stefan Fadinger, he was buried at the Eferdinger cemetery.

After the collapse of the peasant uprising in November 1626, the corpses of Zeller and Fadinger were dug up again by the executioner in March 1627 in the course of the criminal court against the ringleaders on the orders of the governor Herberstorff and buried in the Seebacher Moos (near Eferding, today Hinzenbach ).


Like his brother-in-law Fadinger, Zeller was not characterized primarily by his leadership qualities or military experience, but by his personal courage and daring, which had an encouraging effect on his comrades in arms. The lack of military competence of the leaders, who had no idea of ​​contemporary military strategy and were thus unable to develop a plan for the campaign, turned out to be one of the main reasons for the defeat of the peasants. Particularly the long hesitation of the peasants after the meeting at Peuerbach, which enabled the defenders of Linz to fortify the city, should be mentioned in this context.


  • Felix Stieve: The Upper Austrian Peasant Uprising of 1626 . Mareis, Linz 1904.
  • Dietmar Straub (Red.): The Upper Austrian Peasants' War 1626 . Exhibition of the Province of Upper Austria, Linz Castle, Scharnstein Castle in the Almtal, May 14th to October 31st 1976. Office of the Upper Austrian Provincial Government, Linz 1976.
  • Hans Fattinger: Stefan Fadinger and Christoph Zeller. Your family and your home . In: Oberösterreichische Heimatblätter 19, 1965, ISSN  0029-7550 , pp. 49-60, online (PDF) in the forum

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