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"Vasmer-Kreuz" 1435


"Vasmer cross"



The so-called Vasmer cross was erected by the Vasmer family in memory of the mayor of Bremen, Johannes Vasmer (1365-1430), in 1435.

Johannes Vasmer was councilman from 1417 to 1428 and mayor of Bremen from 1422 to 1430. In 1428, a majority in the council and the parliament passed a new city law. Vasmer did not agree with the changes and left the city in May 1430 to unite with other old councilman who had already fled. He was captured close to Rekum by the city of Bremen during a trip to Oldenburg. The council sentenced him to death for high treason. He was executed by decapitation on the Mühlenberg (“mill hill”) in front of the Ostertor, close to the monastery of St. Paul.

Vasmer’s family erected a penitence cross made from stone at the place of his execution in 1435. The original has been located in the Bremen museum for art and cultural history (the Focke museum) since 1977. The cross was likely moved later and replaced by a replica. It bears the inscription:


„In deme iare unses Heren MCCCC an dem XXX iare [1430] des dinxedages vor Johannes Baptiste ward her Johan Vassmer Borghermester hie ghedotet. Biddet god vor de sele.“ 


(Old German: “In the year of our Lord 1430, on the Tuesday before John the Baptist, Sir Johann Vasmer, mayor, was killed here. Pray to God for his soul”)


The replica of the Vasmer cross in the Ostertor district of Bremen sits on the original base, whereas the original cross in the Focke museum is placed on a replica cast of this base.


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