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Gutsbezirke (in Austria Gutsgebiet ) were the rural communities comparable municipal units . However, there was no municipal council in the manor district. Rather, they were administered by the respective landowner . All public rights and duties therefore met in his or her person.


In the agricultural area of northern and especially eastern Germany, there were more than 10,000 manor districts on the territory of Prussia and Mecklenburg until the first half of the 20th century. Most of them were located in East Elbe, but Schleswig-Holstein (there as the successor to the noble estate ) also had a significant number. In 1928/29 most of the manor districts in Prussia were dissolved .

The communal structure of the country was previously characterized by the dualism between

  • Individual farms, villages or parts of the village where the nobility had its seat (" manors ": independent estate districts) and
  • Villages where free farmers lived together on their own field.

The manorial property of the manor was based on the military constitution and the feudal system of the old German states. Thereafter, the country estates were designated as knight estates, the owners of which were obliged to perform knight services to the sovereign. The “knighthood” was almost exclusively due to the nobility. He did military service, the farmer paid taxes.

Incidentally, the sovereign was also partly active as a rural landowner by having state property, the "domains", managed. These were also organized as manor districts.

For the special history in Schleswig-Holstein see: Noble estate .


In the "Old Prussia" designated Prussian provinces ( Brandenburg , Saxony , East Prussia , West Prussia , Pomerania and Silesia ) presented the Gutsbezirk is a spatially defined part of the country, whose territory and residents of magisterial power of a landlord was subject.

19th century

The concept of the estate district first appeared in the Prussian law on poor relief from 1842. Historically, the Prussian Gutsbezirk emerged after due to the abolition of serfdom and the abolition of serfdom , the top property of the landowner on farmland and the landlord Vorwerk country for rural Feldmark and thus to the peasant community arrived. Previously, the general land law only knew village communities and manors standing above them. From 1870, the rural community in the Prussian eastern provinces legally joined the manor district, which was an independent communal structure, but without being a corporation under public law , unlike the community . In terms of rights and obligations, the manor district was, however, on an equal footing with the community according to the provisions of the Prussian rural community code. According to the Prussian district order of 1872 (KrO), the manor districts could form independent administrative districts (Section 48 No. 2 KrO), the larger manor districts, which also included legal entities , formed their own electoral association for the district council (Section 85 letter a KrO) . The remaining manor districts formed an electoral association with the municipalities (Section 98 KrO), with representation by the landowner and not by an elected representative.

The landowner was to be confirmed as head of the land by the district administrator . He could delegate his duties to a deputy, and the head of a neighboring community could also be appointed as deputy. The appointment of a representative was mandatory if the landowner was an unmarried or widowed woman, the property was owned by a legal person, parental authority over the landowner was granted to his mother or if the guardian or carer of the owner was a woman. With the exception of the school system, the landlord was responsible for the rights and duties that existed in relation to the Prussian state. Until the district regulation of 1872 came into force, he was in particular the police force , the manorial jurisdiction was abolished by decree of January 2, 1849.

Manor districts could, if they did not already have this status before the liberation of the peasants, be elevated to a knighthood by the king in the old Prussian provinces . In Hanover , the Oberpräsident was able to set up and abolish manors since 1874 .

In addition to the private manor districts existed fiscal manor districts ( domains ).

The dissolution of the manor districts from 1928 to 1930

On January 1, 1928, there were 11,894 independent manor districts in Prussia in addition to around 1,000 urban and 29,000 rural communities. In order to give all residents of the Prussian state the possibility of representing their interests at the municipal level, the Prussian law on the regulation of various points of the municipal constitutional law of December 27, 1927 in its § 11 basically stipulates the abolition of the manor districts. From September 30, 1928 and on later deadlines, most of the manor districts were then dissolved. On the basis of proposals from the district administrators, they were incorporated into neighboring rural communities or converted into rural communities themselves. On August 1, 1930, as a result of this reform, there were only 275 manor districts, most of them were large forest estate districts .

However, larger areas of forest and water remained as manor districts outside the "normal" municipal structure, as community life could not develop in them, for example:

Kingdom of Saxony

In Saxony manor districts were created after the incorporation into the German Empire in 1866/1871, B. for the barracks complex Dresden-Neustadt . They ceased to exist after 1918 and again in 1945. They existed as special self-governing bodies. According to § 82 of the Saxon Land Community Regulations (RLGO), the royal castles, the state and private forests, chamber and knightly estates that were previously not part of any municipality, as well as estates that were equal to knight estates, were counted as manor districts. At the beginning of 1910 there were 1218 manor districts in Saxony. The manor districts were represented by the landowner, his position corresponded to that of a community council. If he was not present on his estate, he had to appoint a deputy.

The 1938 ordinance on estate districts and parish-free land

With the introduction of the unified German municipal code of January 30, 1935 and the rearmament, the possibility arose of a uniform regulation in the entire German Reich over the areas in which - due to the Wehrmacht - no community life could develop. These were essentially the military training areas.

Conversion of existing manor districts

The military training areas in the state of Prussia (including the areas annexed in 1939) were gradually converted into manor districts under imperial law.


Territory outside of Prussia

General Government

  • Radom district: Army goods district in the middle of Radom in the Radom district chief on July 1, 1943.

Current legal situation

In the Federal Republic of Germany, local law is again state law. Today, some unregulated areas in Germany are still referred to as manor districts, including:

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Schmidt in Fleischmann (Ed.): Dictionary of German Constitutional and Administrative Law , Volume 2, Tübingen 1913, p. 299ff., Keyword "Gutsbezirke (independent) A. Prussia"
  2. Seyffarth in: Fleischmann (Ed.): Dictionary of German State and Administrative Law, Volume 2, Tübingen 1913, p. 299ff., Keyword "Gutsbezirke (independent) B. Saxony"