The Woodcarvings of Balthazar Hasselbacher

About Balthazar, the Brother of Peter:

I had a nice visit in Münchsteinach in mid-April.  The church there is larger than most of the others in the area because it was originally an important monastery.  It apparently controlled much land in the area and was a major landlord.  I took many photos.  I have a special surprise for you Hazelbakers.  You are probably aware that Peter Hasselbacher’s father, brothers, and nephews were wood turners and woodworkers.  (In fact, it is quite probable that Peter himself was trained as a “dreschler” or turner.) I discovered that Peter’s brother Balthazar Hasselbacher carved a number of important pieces for the churches in the area.  In Münchsteinach itself he carved one of the processional crosses.   However, the special treasures were in the nearby town of Stübach where he carved several major sculptures of Christ.  These are beautiful to look upon and I include photos below.  For any of us who go to this part of Franconia, the church at Stübach is a must-see, but because the church is locked most of the time, special arrangement needs to be made.  (I will discuss this elsewhere in the sections on traveling or earlier on request.)

Another major piece of sculpture by Balthazar, a baptismal font, originally stood in the Stübach church. However, it is currently in a church in Alladorf and was too far for me to try to see this trip. Below is a published image of the font. You will notice immediately that it is modeled after the famous baroque baptismal font in the Münchsteinach church.  Unfortunately I must dispel a family myth that Peter was baptized in that font.  The original, carved from sandstone, is attributed to Christoph Rendel and is dated from 1776.

This information about Balthazar and his family was obtained from an article written in German in the Franconian history journal, "Streiflichter aus der Heimatgeschichte" in 2006.  I spoke with its author, Pfarrer Italo Bacigalupo, who along with the journal has very kindly allowed me permission to reproduce it here for non-commercial family use only. Please respect their generosity and copyright.

One of the things that continually strikes me is how much information is buried in old church and secular records and available to historians with the special language skills and background. We could not do this by ourselves!  The article contains much information about Balthazar’s life and family. Even the crude electronic translation I was able to manage tells us that there is more information available about the individual social lives of our ancestors than is available in church birth and death records alone. Help me find and disseminate it.

Peter Hasselbacher
revised 22 Jun 2007

Processional cross made by
Johann Balthazar Hasselbacher.
It is in the church at Münchsteinach.
Christ figure in church at Stübach
made by Balthazar.
Processional cross in Stübach
by Balthazar.
Wooden baptismal font made by Balthazar for the church in Stübach that is now in Alladorf. It is modeled after the sandstone font in Münchsteinach.