Hutterian Brethren , a body of Christians practicing strict communism (communitarian) based on religious principles. The Brethren are descendants of those Moravian Anabaptists who were followers of Jacob Hutter, a minister from the Tyrol who was burned at the stake in 1536. In the 17th cent. there were a number of Hutterian brotherhoods in Moravia. Persecution drove them eastward to eventual settlement in Russia. In 1874, in company with Russian Mennonites, a group emigrated to the United States, settling near Tabor, S.Dak. Other groups followed. Their doctrines and principles, aside from their practice of common ownership, are in accord with those of Mennonites in general. There are around 400 Hutterite colonies in the United States (chiefly in south Dakota) and Canada (Manitoba and Alberta) today.
They are also known as Hutterische Brüder or Hutterites and took their name from Jakob Hutter (Jacob Hutter). Throughout most of their history, the Hutterites have formed agricultural colonies, called Bruderhöfe. Their way of life is rural and conservative. On the basis of the New Testament, they are pacifists and shun political participation. As a result, they have often been subject to social pressure and persecution. Over a period of centuries in Europe they sought to escape persecution by moving eastward, finally reaching Russia, before migrating (1874-79) to the northern U.S., from which they spread to Canada. They now number more than 20,000; their inward-looking sectarianism continues to elicit some hostility from their neighbors.