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Haberfeldtreiben, original drawing by Oskar Gräf, 1895

The Haberfeldtreib is an objectionable (often secret) court in the Bavarian Oberland , which is no longer in use today and which was mainly exercised in the former Hohenwaldeck county (around Tölz , Tegernsee , Miesbach , Rosenheim and Ebersberg ).

It was a ritual that proceeded according to more or less fixed rules, in the course of which the accused were reproached for their misconduct in verse. As a rule, people gathered in meadows or hills within earshot of the affected villages. The content of the "drives" ( Haberfeldtreiber or Haberer ) were often of a moral nature (measured against the morality of the people, which often reflected a system of rule that was hostile to women), but just as often social or economic (in) acts were reprimanded.

Today the Haberfeld drift can be called Rügebrauch; the possibility inherent in a court of being able to defend itself against the alleged misconduct did not exist.

In other areas, cat music or rattling had similar rebuke functions.


The name Haberfeld ( oat field) has several possible origins. Once he can be because Feldmark - wicked and usurers were formerly punished with devastation of their fields. According to another, etymologically unprovable view, but also because of the fact that fallen girls were previously driven through a Haberfeld by the boys of the village with lashes. The harvested Haberfeld as the scene of the driving is also mentioned here. Elmar AM Schieder shows around 20 different possible interpretations. Many of them are unlikely, according to Schieder, because the appearance of the first documentary evidence shows no parallels to court proceedings, Fehme, masking or masking. Rather, it indicates a right granted to boys by the community to mock a fallen, perhaps snooty girl for their own fun and that of the community members. Similar customs are the cat music , the wedding and carnival dishes and going out for a walk .

He follows Schmeller , who refers to the expression “hit someone on the Haberwaid” in Hans Sachs. Sachs derives this term from "cutting the cattle to the latest and most desolate pasture" and interprets it as letting a lover sit, cf. " Give a basket " around. This expression would reflect what happened to the "victim" of the Haberfeld hustle and bustle who was abandoned (pregnant) by his lover (at least in the earliest hustle and bustle). The boys made the personal fate "drive into the Haberfeld", which happened to the woman or the girl, a public matter by going in front of their house and mocking them and thus driving them publicly into the Haberfeld again. A completely different interpretation derives the name origin from the fur and horns of a billy goat (caper skin, Latin goat = capra and haf (e) r Celtic = goat), which was used as a piece of clothing. The Habergeiß , the goat goat, gives a direct linguistic reference . If one compares the customs and clothing that are associated with the term Habergeiß, the term Percht should not be missing. The Perchten wear a goat costume as a costume. Similar to the Haberfeld bustle, this tradition also lives from threatening removals to regionally different occasions and times. Haberfeldtreib, Percht and Habergeiß have in common that the faces of the participants and those wearing costume cannot be recognized.

Percht im Haberfell, Klagenfurt

The Haberfeldtreib is often referred to as the Bavarian form of the Vote Court , but this is not correct, since in the legal-historical sense it is neither a form of the Vote Courts nor free courts, due to a lack of sovereign legitimation. At best, a comparison is possible in the “figurative” sense of the generalized usage, the historical and legal roots are completely different and the meanings, contents and forms cannot be compared.

Occasions and appearance

The occasion of the Haberfeldtreib were violations of the authorities against the law , the sense of justice of the people, as well as violations of individuals against customs and morals . The participants, the Haberer , were mostly masked or had their faces blackened so that they were not recognized by the victims. Haberer recruited mostly from farmers, artisans and simple workers; they mostly carried rifles and various noise instruments with them. The leader, the so-called "Haberfeldmeister", could be recognized by two white cock feathers on his hat.

Apart from the earliest hustle and bustle (up to around 1700), the Haberfeld hustle and bustle never took place within localities, but always on nearby meadows or hills, close enough that you could expect an audience, but also far enough to be surrounded by the gendarmerie or Avoid attacks from inside houses. As a rule (exception, e.g. the goings-on against the pastor of Irschenberg ), the goings-on were directed at several people. It should be worth it for both the Haberer and the audience. Occasionally, especially during the Daxer period, when Johann Vogl, known as Daxer vo Wall, was Haberfeldmeister (until his inglorious dismissal in 1886), people focused more on quantity than on class and liked to invent one or the other reason for complaint or gave up satisfied with rumors .

The Haberer were strictly organized from 1840 at the latest because of the increasing state persecution. 100 participants were not uncommon. In 1893 in Miesbach it should have been about 350. (At the assembly point at the Stoibstadel, beer was served in three places alone.)


Meeting point for a Haberfeld drift in the Zeller Forest near Dietramszell
Wayside shrine in memory of a Haberfeld drift in 1886

The individual drives differed in details, but adhered to the following rough sequence:

  • Meeting of the Haberer groups at the assembly point
  • Oath of the Haberereid, which required silence on the death penalty
  • Orderly departure to the driving place
  • Awaken the victims
    • Some (mostly two) boys broke into the village and beat the doors and windows of the people to be reprimanded.
    • After their return, minutes of rioting with rifles, firecrackers, fireworks, musical instruments, ratchets etc.

If the unpopular individual had previously shown no improvement despite repeated verbal and written warnings, a hundred or more masked, blackened, often armed people gathered around the homestead of the offender, surrounded the house and called the culprit to the window or to the door that he had but was not allowed to exceed with life and limb punishment. Thereupon “in the name of Kaiser Karls d. Size im Untersberg ”the drivers read out under fictitious names and dignities, such as: Mr. Landrichter von Tegernsee, Mr. Pastor von Gmund etc., and they answered with a loud“ Here ”.

As soon as there were enough listeners, the reading of the rebuke began. After each cycle the reader asked: “Is that true?” To which the Haberfeld drivers replied: “Yes! True is !! ", whereupon the reader shouted:" Nachad drives it to a! ", Whereupon there was another noise. If the hustle and bustle did not have to be stopped early due to the risk of detection by the judiciary, it ended with a cheer for the father of the country and a volley of noise that lasted for minutes. During the mostly quick retreat, lamps and lanterns were extinguished and the melody What one does for love was played.

According to Georg Queri , the main thing was “the final act, where the partners then make a hell of a racket with rattling windmills, chains, cow bells and whips or organize cat music and charivari . With this name and memory are branded and the nuisance is excluded from the honest society ”.


If a Haberfeld drift went according to plan, riots were not to be expected. Many acts of violence or destruction that were said to have happened to the Haberers are considered in today's research as nocturnal noise without direct reference to the Haberfeld drift. Instead, it was mostly related to poaching and as a rule Haberer were also poachers and vice versa.

With one exception, it is not known that any of the drift victims ever ventured out of the house. In this one hustle and bustle, it was a courageous innkeeper who was quickly interpreted by gunfire that he should return to his room.

Origin and history

After the authorities had initially viewed the Haberer with a certain benevolence, so to speak as “self-cleaning”, they were finally forced to take vigorous action against them and to impose sometimes draconian , often multi-year prison sentences and high fines.

The Haberfeldtreib experienced its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries. Between 1700 and 1900 about 130 Haberfeld drifts are on record, but the number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher. The first detectable Haberfeld drift was in Vagen in 1717 . Originally, the custom was only known in the Mangfall area, for example between Bad Aibling and Miesbach , and only later did it expand. According to old court records, there were larger Haberfelds. a. in Albaching (1864), Edling (1865), Hohenlinden (1866), Söchtenau (1867) and in Miesbach (1893). Well-known Haberfeld masters were Johann Vogl, called the Daxer von Wall , Balthasar Killi from Münster near Glonn and Thomas Bacher from Westerham .

The hustle and bustle, initially tolerated by the Bavarian authorities as the moral “self-cleaning” of the population, became more and more a public spectacle over the years, the moral and legal background receded more and more. The bustle found less and less support as greater damage and brutality became the norm in the bustle. From 1840 onwards, the government showed an ever decreasing tolerance towards the Haberers. Sometimes the military was called in to restore law and order and draconian punishments were imposed on the Haberer.

The last important Haberfeld drift took place on the night of October 7th to 8th, 1893 in Miesbach, Bavaria. Two more drives in 1894 finally broke the neck of the Haberer, as all participants were caught and arrested.

Attempted resuscitation

After the Haberfeld rush had no more meaning for over a hundred years, was also banned by the police in 1922 because of excesses that had occurred and only continued to exist in secret, it experienced a highly controversial attempt to revive it in November 2008 when more than 2000 dairy farmers in the community of Ruhstorf an der Rott loudly expressed their protest against the policy of the German Farmers' Association and its President Gerd Sonnleitner because of the sharp drop in milk prices on the town's marketplace. The participants adhered to the historical model in many ways. A cattle farmer from Kronach exercised the function of the Haberfeld master. Sonnleitner's yard, where around 150 people had gathered for a counter rally, is only a few hundred meters from the market square. The Haberfeldtreib, which was initiated by the working group of rural agriculture , remained non-violent contrary to some fears. The protest action was sharply criticized by the farmers' association. The action was repeated the following year.

A similar protest took place on June 3, 2009 in front of the State Chancellery in Munich. The working group of rural agriculture had called for a rally in the form of a Haberfeldtreibens under the Haber master Anton Prechtl. 650 farmers gathered and protested against the economic framework conditions for agriculture in Bavaria. The demonstration received criticism from Justice Minister Beate Merk ( CSU ), among others .

Today's traditional version

As a defused, entertaining form of the Haberfeld bustle can sometimes still be found in rural areas of Bavaria, e.g. B. at birthday parties. The “accused” is told his “crimes” in poetry in front of the party. After each paragraph of verse, the speaker asks: “Manna, is it true?” If the Haberer agrees, they reply “Yes, true is!”, Followed by the command: “Well, it's going to waste”. Now the noise instruments brought with them, such as cowbells, drums, ratchets, trumpets, etc., make a hell of a noise, which breaks off immediately on hand signals from the Haberermeister. With the threat of coming back next year if the culprit doesn't improve, the Haberer withdraw in an orderly fashion at the end of the hustle and bustle.

Every year in the Upper Bavarian district town of Miesbach during the Schupfenfest on the third weekend in July, the largest staged Haberfeld drive takes place. The play is organized on Sunday evening on Habererplatz by the Verein d'Haberer Miesbach .

Every year in the Upper Bavarian town of Benediktbeuern , as part of the Maschkera parade that takes place on Shrove Tuesday, a historical Haberfeld hustle and bustle is shown.



  • Otto Ernst Breibeck: Nacha drives toa . The Haberfeldtreib - an old Bavarian custom tribunal. Franz Ehrenwirth Verlag, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-431-02193-X .
  • Wilhelm Kaltenstadler : The Haberfeldtreib. Theory, development, sexuality and morality, social change and social conflict, state bureaucracy, decline, organization. Unverhau, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-923395-13-2 .
  • Wilhelm Kaltenstadler: The Haberfeldtreib: History and myth of a moral ritual. König, 2011, ISBN 978-3-939856-68-9 .
  • Oskar Panizza : The Haberfeldtreib in the Bavarian mountains. A study of moral history. Fischer, Berlin 1897.
  • Georg Queri : Farmer's eroticism and peasant company in Upper Bavaria. (1975) Allitera, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-86520-059-1 .
    The work of the Bavarian satirist, first published in 1911, contains what is probably the most extensive collection of Haberer verses.
  • Elmar AM Schieder: The Haberfeld bustle. Origin, essence, interpretation (= Miscellanea Bavarica Monacensia. Issue 125). UNI-Druck, Munich 1983, ISBN 978-3-87821-191-4 (dissertation)

Web links

Wikisource: Haberfeldtreiben  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ [1] from: Bavarian sagas and customs: Friedrich Panzer: Contribution to German Mythology, Volume 1; Munich 1848
  2. [2] from: Views on the Celtic antiquities, the Celts in general Halle, 1848
  3. Historical Lexicon of Bavaria: Habelfeldtreiben .
  4. Georg Queri: On the history of the Haberfeldtreibens. In: Farmer's eroticism and farmer's company in Upper Bavaria. 1911.
  5. ^ Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann : Country life in the 19th century. Munich 1987, p. 126.
  6. ^ Peasants' revolt against Sonnleitner. Haberfeldtreib runs without incident. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung of November 17, 2008.
  7. Monika Goetsch: The peasant uprising. In: Der Tagesspiegel. November 15, 2009, p. 3
  8. ^ Christian Sebald: Haberfeldtreiben - It crashes between farmers and politicians . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . November 16, 2011
  9. ^ Peasant protest in Munich. “We want to hold court.” In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . June 4, 2009
  10. Before the carnival parades: Loisachtaler Wagenbauer in the final spurt . In: Münchner Merkur . March 4, 2011.
  11. imdb.com: The Haberer