Also the small town of “wirnt von grafenberc had to suffer from the consequences of the thirty years” war, as the village was located on an important trade route to nuremberg. However, the chroniclers of the town, all of them priests, saw it rather as god”s will to be drawn into the conflict.
The reason for this is simple: according to the chronicler hans ackermann, grafenberg has been protestant since around 1540. And since 1618, the beginning of the thirty years’ war, the religious war between protestant and catholic christians has been raging. "God sent help and salvation from sweden", wrote the other local chronicler and pastor gustav adler in 1850 when looking back on the war about the landing of the swedish king gustav II. Adolf on the island of usedom in 1630.
Capture of kunreuth
adler further wrote about god-fearing warriors "who burst into tears at the sight of the praying king". Adler entered the thirty years war with the year 1630, when the (catholic) "imperial soldiers" on 22. In november, the castle of the von egloffstein family in kunreuth was captured. Four weeks later these troops came to grafenberg and occupied the place.
The people of grafenberg got wind of it and fled in time. At leupoldstein some stragglers were caught up by the horsemen and plundered. The rest made it to pegnitz and bayreuth. "On 1. XII. 1631 afternoon 4 o’clock came grafenberger with woman and child and 14 wagons to pegnitz", reports the local chronicle.
One year later, on 24. November, croats came into the town, feared warriors of the opposing, catholic warlord wallenstein. They plundered the town "smashed and devastated everything", partially set fire to grafenberg and took everything they could use. Obviously it was an easy victory, because three months later the croats came again and plundered the place once more.
In 1633 the swedish soldiers – often even german mercenary troops – came to grafenberg for a third time. They had to defend nuremberg against wallenstein and needed for the huge army of about 70000 men a lot of food, which they "collected" around nuremberg. Since the people of grafenberg resisted the attack, "about 60 people were murderously shot, beaten and wounded", writes the chronicler adler. Grafenberg was burned in half, all food was taken away, which is why grafenberg even remained uninhabited for a while, as the remaining inhabitants had fled to nuremberg.
Trail of destruction
on 11. June 1633 the new swedish commander bernhard, duke of weimar – king gustav II. Adolf had fallen in the battle of lutzen – through grafenberg and the surrounding area and also left behind a trail of destruction. Guttenburg almost completely burned, grafenberg-hull burned, hiltpoltstein burned. Four weeks later grafenberg was taken again. This went on for a total of three years: once the imperial troops were in the village to plunder, then again the swedish soldiers.
The war actions lasted until 1635, reported local chronicler adler, after that there were also soldiers in the place. However, they did not plunder any more, but had to be fed and endured. "Anno 1635 the 8. October wallische and rotenberg 200 men billeted themselves and ate out grafenberg in 14 days", reports local chronicler adler depressingly.
The war time had devastated the country and halved the population. "You walk ten miles and you don’t see one person, not one cattle, not one sparrow. In all villages the remaining houses are full of corpses: man, woman, child, horses, pigs next to and among each other, strangled by hunger and the plague, gnawed on by wolves and crows, because there is no one to bury and mourn them.", reports an eyewitness.
Also the discipline and order among the citizens suffered from the rough treatment. In grafenberg, the "new gallows" was the scene hans lang from regenthal was hanged because he was caught as a thief and woman abuser. Another time a certain hans behem was put in the pillory and expelled from the country for blasphemy. At a wedding in forchheim he is said to have shouted:"… That the thunder and hail should strike god in heaven, because he let the horsemen and soldiers devastate the land".