German aristocratic association

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The Deutsche Adelsgenossenschaft (DAG) was the largest association of German nobles in the German Empire .

Foundation and role in the empire

It was founded in Berlin on February 26, 1874 by 30 real estate noblemen from the Prussian provinces of Brandenburg , Pomerania , (East) Prussia , Saxony and Silesia . By the highest cabinet order of March 7, 1883, Kaiser Wilhelm I granted the DAG the rights of a legal entity. It was supposed to counteract the “ liberalism ” of the time , which was viewed as pernicious, and set a conservative counterweight. The DAG was promoted by the state leadership in the German Empire. She published a magazine called Deutsches Adelsblatt .

The aristocratic association was, among other things, the operator of schools, such as the Löbichau Economic Women's School in Thuringia 1908-1930. This was affiliated with the Reifensteiner Verband since 1908. In addition to the founder Ida von Kortzfleisch , the DAG also awarded scholarships for the Reifenstein schools in general. The Reifensteiner Verband, in which noble families played an essential role, was a member of the comparatively liberal Federation of German Women's Associations .

Role after the monarchy

With Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution of August 11, 1919, the "public law privileges or disadvantages of birth or status" were repealed. The privileged nobility was thus effectively abolished. Titles of nobility could no longer be awarded and became part of the name. " Pseudo-aristocrats " could arise through adoption or marriage . In order to record this, a separate department was created in 1923, which from 1925 onwards created lists of "false aristocrats". After the November Revolution, the DAG was reorganized. The statutes of February 4, 1921 for the first time also allow women as members.

At the same time, non-Germans and Jews are marginalized for racist reasons: "Anyone who has a non- Aryan born after 1800 among his ancestors in the male line , or more than a quarter of a non- Aryan race or is married to someone to whom this applies, cannot become a member of the DAG be. " In a slightly different version had been since 1918 an Aryan certificate has been requested. Members of the German Nobility Association were able to be included in the list of the pure-blooded German nobility , which from then on was explicitly referred to in the Gotha paperbacks .

Since the DAG increasingly moved into the anti-republic camp, Reichswehr Minister Wilhelm Groener forbade members and civilian employees of the Reichswehr from membership in 1929 . From 1933, the DAG declined under the leadership of the so-called aristocratic marshal Prince Adolf zu Bentheim-Tecklenburg , who was elected chairman in 1932 . This was received by Hitler on June 22, 1933, and promised to remedy the aristocracy's lack of enthusiasm for National Socialism . The co-ordination of the association was prevented, but at the cost of extensive adaptation to the regime. After Claus Schenck Graf von Stauffenberg's assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944 , Bentheim-Tecklenburg published an address of allegiance to Hitler in the Adelsblatt.

After 1945

After the Second World War , the DAG lost its importance. During the Second World War, it had not only lost its office in Berlin, but also its Central and East German regional departments and was dissolved by an emergency board on May 15, 1956 in Hanover. New associations of the historical nobility were no longer centrally controlled, but structured according to the landscape. In 1956, the DAG merged with the newly founded “Working Group of German Aristocratic Associations” to form the “ Association of German Aristocratic Associations ” (VdDA).

In 1949 the German Nobility Law Committee, which still exists today, was founded (as the successor to the DAG's department for nobility law issues) .

Aristocratic marshals / chairmen


  • Georg H. Kleine: Nobility Association and National Socialism. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte . Volume 26, H. 1, 1978, pp. 100-143, online (PDF; 8.64 MB) .
  • Stephan Malinowski : “Leadership” and “New Nobility”. The German Nobility Association and the German Gentlemen's Club in the Weimar Republic . In: Heinz Reif (ed.): Nobility and bourgeoisie in Germany. Volume 2: Lines of development and turning points in the 20th century (= change in the elite in modern times 2). Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-05-003551-X , pp. 173-211
  • Stephan Malinowski: From King to Leader. German nobility and National Socialism (= Fischer 16365 The time of National Socialism ). License issue. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-596-16365-X (also: Berlin, Technical University, dissertation, 2001).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ortrud Wörner-Heil: Women's schools in the country - Reifensteiner Verband (1897–1997) , series of publications by the Archives of the German Women's Movement, Volume 11, Archives of the Women's Movement, 1997
  2. General publication of the Reifensteiner Verein, Gotha 1915
  3. Ortrud Wörner-Heil: Noble women as pioneers of vocational training: rural housekeeping and the Reifensteiner Association . kassel university press, 2010