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Identification of a homestead as an "Erbhof"

The Reichserbhofgesetz (Reichserbhofgesetz) for the Third Reich was enacted by the National Socialist government on September 29, 1933, two days before the first Reichserntedankfest . According to Hermann Göring , it served to “protect the farms from over-indebtedness and fragmentation in inheritance”, and at the same time was an expression of the National Socialist blood-and-soil ideology .

Over 689,000 hereditary estates

The estate determination procedure was completed in 1939. The hereditary farms were officially registered in the hereditary farm role. Of the 3,198,563 agricultural and forestry operations, 689,625 were hereditary farms. That was every fifth yard (21.56%). The hereditary farms comprised 38 percent of the realm's total agricultural and forestry area. The inheritance law was compulsory for the estate , regardless of whether it was in an inheritance or real division area . The soil became an “ inalienable good ” and thus acquired the character of a res extra commercium . This reorganization was based on ideas from the 19th century that rural property had to be separated from the “capitalist market”. A mythical definition of the farmer as the "source of life of the Nordic race" was associated with these ideas , as the leading National Socialist agricultural ideologist and Minister for Agriculture and Food Walther Darré had already put it in 1928.

The ancestral farm

According to the law, an hereditary farm should be at least the size of a field crop (Section 2) and a maximum of 125 hectares (Section 3). The hereditary farm owner was designated by law as a farmer, all others as farmers (Section 11). Paragraph 13 said: “[...] A farmer can only be someone who is of German or tribal blood . Germans or of the same tribal blood are not those who have Jewish or colored blood among their ancestors on the paternal or maternal side [...] “According to a comment by Wilhelm Saure, however, Romans or Slavs were considered to be tribal blood . While this provision served to exclude “non-Aryan” population groups, the regulations stipulated that the farm owner had to be “capable of farming” and “respectable”, that a proprietor was denied economic viability in the event of mental illness, mental weakness, drunkenness or wastefulness, and that a “ disgusting procedure” was initiated .

Prohibition of disposal and order

The arrangement

In terms of legal history, the law was heavily based on the old Hanoverian Meierrecht . Like this, it had an ambiguous consequence. The imperial inheritance law decreed that agricultural land could not be sold, the prohibition of encumbrance and foreclosure saved many farms from foreclosure auctions, but excluded farmers from access to credit . Therefore, soon after the law came into force, special recruitment courts were convened, which in some cases allowed the court to act as collateral. Because the land could not be sold, a widespread dissatisfaction arose because the farmers could no longer dispose of their farms as owners , but instead acted as administrators. In addition, the agricultural land that was still available was becoming scarcer and more expensive, which prevented the opportunities for advancement of agricultural workers. Farmer children who had to leave the farm because of the inheritance regulations made it much more difficult to acquire their own farms. The rigid order of succession of the law favored the male clan . Only after the law had been amended several times to appease the peasants was it accepted by the majority of the peasants; from 1943, for example, women were able to achieve the status of hereditary farm women.


Later changes and additions to the Reichserbhofgesetz, which was also technically deficient, were made primarily through the Hereditary Court Ordinance (EHRV) of 1936 and the Hereditary Farm Training Ordinance (EHFV) of 1943. The procedural law arose primarily from the Hereditary Court Procedure Ordinance (EHVfO) of 1936.

In 1947 the inheritance law was repealed by the Allied Control Council with the Control Council Act No. 45 in Germany. Instead, the court rules were issued for the British occupation zone .


After the “ Anschluss of Austria ” on July 27, 1938, with the regulation on the introduction of hereditary court law in Austria, the provisions of the hereditary court law also came into force in Austria. The law of the provisional state government dated September 19, 1945, repealed the right to inheritance in the Republic of Austria .

Inheriting authorities

Inheritance authorities were the inheritance courts at the local courts , the hereditary courts at the higher regional courts and the Reichserbhofgericht (REHG) at the Reich Ministry of Food and Agriculture . Rural lay judges participated in the courts . The hereditary role was led by the anheritance courts.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Daniela Münkel: National Socialist Agricultural Policy and Everyday Farmers' Life. Frankfurt 1996, ISBN 3-593-35602-3 , p. 112.
  2. Michael Mooslechner, Robert Stadler: Agriculture and Agricultural Policy. In: Emmerich Tálos, Ernst Hanisch, Wolfgang Neugebauer (eds.): Nazi rule in Austria 1938–1945. Vienna 1988, ISBN 3-900351-84-8 , p. 74.
  3. RGBl. I p. 1069
  4. RGBl. I p. 549
  5. RGBl. I p. 1082
  6. OJ. KR No. 14 p. 256
  7. ^ First implementing ordinance for the Reichserbhofgesetz, in particular on the establishment and procedure of the inheritance authorities of October 19, 1933 ( RGBl. I p. 749 ), § 6; Collection of decisions: ZDB -ID 216340-8