- The Bruderhof is a Christian communal group inspired largely by the Hutterites, a communal Anabaptist group. It began in 1920, when Eberhard Arnold (1883-1935) and his wife, Emmy, opened a Christian commune in a rented German farmhouse. Reading Anabaptist history led to a fascination with the Hutterites, and in 1930 Arnold spent a year visiting the colonies in Canada.To escape the Nazis, in 1933 Bruderhof members moved first to Liechtenstein and then to England, where Arnold died in 1935, to Paraguay at the start of World War II, and finally to the United States, where they settled initially at Rifton, New York, still the informal headquarters. Further growth, largely from members of other communal groups, led to the founding of eight additional hofs in the U.S., England, and Australia. Internal discord has led to desertions at several important points, most recently in the 1980s, when charges of child abuse were leveled at some of the leaders. Ties with the Hutterite movement were broken in the 1990s. In 2000, the Bruderhof reported some 3,000 members.Further reading:■ Eberhard Arnold, Why We Live in Community (Farmington, Pa.: Plough, 1995)■ Emmy Arnold, Torches Together: The Beginning and Early Years of the Bruderhof Communities (Rifton, N.Y.: Plough, 1964)■ Benjamin Zablocki, The Joyful Community (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.