Constantin von Dietze

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Friedrich Carl Nicolaus Constantin von Dietze (born August 9, 1891 in God's grace ; † March 18, 1973 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) was an agricultural scientist , lawyer, economist and theologian. During the time of National Socialism he was active in the Confessing Church (BK) and in the Freiburg Circle , and since 1938 he has campaigned for a new economic order for a democratic Germany determined by Christian ethics . Constantin von Dietze was a grandson of Adolph von Dietze .

education and profession

Von Dietze graduated from high school in Schulpforta near Bad Kösen in 1909 and then studied law and political science in Cambridge , Tübingen and Halle (Saale) . In Tübingen he became a member of the AV Igel . After his first legal exam in 1912, he became a trainee lawyer at the local courts in Staßfurt and Breslau . During the First World War he was a Uhlan lieutenant on the Eastern Front and was taken prisoner by the Russians . In 1918 he was able to escape from it. He initially became an interpreter for Russian , English and French . In 1919 he received his doctorate in Breslau. rer. pole. ( Political science ). Then he worked at the Research Institute for Agriculture and Settlement in Berlin under his doctoral supervisor, the economist Max Sering , where he also completed his habilitation in 1922 .

In 1924 von Dietze taught agricultural science in Göttingen , and in 1925 as a guest lecturer in Rostock . In 1927 he became a full professor in Jena ; In 1933 he was appointed to the Friedrich Wilhelms University in Berlin.

As a Christian against National Socialism

After Adolf Hitler came to power , von Dietze became an active member of the Confessing Church in Potsdam, where he lived in the Holy Spirit community . In 1934 his regional church elected him to the brotherhood council of the BK.

In November 1936 the authorities wanted to relocate him to Jena; he was able to avert this at first. Because of the National Socialist influence at the Berlin University, however, he moved to the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg for the summer semester of 1937 . When he visited his family in Potsdam in July of that year, he was arrested for his work in the BK and charged with trespassing and disrupting a church service. However, the ad was dropped.

In Freiburg, together with two colleagues, the economists Adolf Lampe and Walter Eucken , von Dietze founded a working and discussion group, the " Arbeitsgemeinschaft Erwin von Beckerath ", later known as the third Freiburg circle. This had contacts to the conspiratorial resistance against National Socialism , u. a. to Carl Friedrich Goerdeler . In 1943 Dietrich Bonhoeffer suggested that the people of Freiburg draft a secret memorandum on the reorganization of Germany on the basis of the Christian conscience ; this should also be the program of the BK for an ecumenical world church conference after the war. In addition to Gerhard Ritter , von Dietze played a key role in the result.

Because of his involvement in this memorandum and the contacts to Bonhoeffer and Goerdeler von Dietze in September 1944 as part of the Action grid arrested and charged with high and treason accused. He was u. a. in the Ravensbruck concentration camp and finally into the Lehrter Street prison cells spent 3 in Berlin. He was one of the few political prisoners who were not executed in Plötzensee , but were released in the last days of the war in May 1945.

Scientific work

As co-initiator of the opposition Freiburg Bonhoeffer Circle, von Dietze wrote the appendix “Economic and Social Order” together with Walter Eucken and Adolf Lampe, which in many parts resembles an early manifesto of the social market economy . His theoretical contributions to economics and modern agricultural economics have contributed to this.

Post-war activities and honors

After his return to Freiburg on June 17, 1945, he immediately resumed teaching at the university there and was its rectorate from 1946 to 1949; he was also director of the Institute for Agricultural Sciences. This continued the work of the German group of the International Conference of Agricultural Economists . Von Dietze also founded a research company for agricultural policy and agricultural sociology, of which he remained chairman until his death.

In 1948 the Theological Faculty of the University of Göttingen appointed von Dietze an honorary doctorate in theology in order to recognize him for his commitment to the Christian way of life and ethics in the economic sector. In 1950 he became a member of the advisory board at the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forests . 1955 to 1961 the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) elected him as its President . In 1960 the Faculty of Agriculture in Bonn appointed him Dr. agr. h. c. In 1958 he received the Great Federal Cross of Merit , in 1961 the Federal Cross of Merit with a star.

See also


  • Judgment on the Stolypin agricultural reform and field community. 1920
  • The East German farm labor conditions since the revolution. 1922
  • German agriculture and the new trade policy. 1925
  • Germany's current agricultural crisis. 1930
  • Agriculture and competition rules. 1942
  • Economics and theology (= The Christian Germany from 1933 to 1945 . H. 8). Furche, Tübingen 1947
  • Thoughts and Confessions of an Agricultural Politician. Collected Essays. 1962
  • Broad agricultural policy. 1967
  • Duty in conflict with obligations. 1980


  • Dictionary of Economics. 1930/32


  • Hans Herbert Götz: Constantin von Dietze on the 100th birthday. In: Orientations to Economic and Social Policy. 48, June 1991.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Constantin von Dietze, Walter Eucken, Adolf lamp: Economic and social order. In: Nils Goldschmidt (ed.): Basic texts on the Freiburg tradition of order economics. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-16-148297-7 .
predecessor Office successor
Arthur Allgeier Rector of the University of Freiburg
1946 - 1948
Gerd Tellenbach