One is amazed at the courage, fortitude and depth of conviction of Manz, as a young man in his mid-20s. He suffered martyrdom before he was 30 years of age. He was the first Swiss Anabaptist to be martyred at the hands of the Protestant followers of Zwingli.
Manz was the son of an "illegitimate" Catholic priest in Zurich, Switzerland. He was well educated and became an enthusiastic evangelist who was instrumental in bringing hundreds, if not thousands, of people to faith in Jesus Christ.
During his lifetime he suffered much persecution and numerous imprisonments. In 1526, he had been condemned to prison where he was to eat bread and drink water until he would "die and rot."
At 3:00 p.m. on January 5, 1527, he was taken bound from his last imprisonment to be drowned in the cold waters of the river Limmat which flows through the hear of the city of Zurich. Last minute efforts on the part of the clergy to cause him to recant were of no avail. He could hear the supportive and encouraging voices of his mother and his brother who stood nearby on the shore. His last words were, "Into thy hands, O God, I commend my spirit.