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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2017

New Farmsteads in the SOZ/GDR: Politicial Implications and Adaptation Processes

From the book Band 18 Housing Capital

  • Uta Bretschneider

Abstract

The 1945-1948 land reform led to the emergence of 210,000 new farmsteads on former “Junker land” in the Soviet Occupied Zone of Germany (the later German Democratic Republic). Farmland, fields, wooded areas, farmhouses, barns, and farming equipment from the inventory of manor state families were confiscated and given to applicants. These “new farmers”, which included families of agricultural workers, landless farmers, as well as German refugees and expellees of the Second World War, were expected to form their own social group. Their property from the land reform was “bonded”: i. e., they were not allowed to sell, lease, or mortgage it. This paper analyses these new farm houses as standing at the intersection of state action for socio-political reform and the legitimation of the ruling party on the one side and individual adaptive processes on the other. What role did the land reform play in the lives of the families living in the new farmer houses? What political implications were tied to the new structures? And what processes of adaption and interpretation of state intentions could, and can, be read into the new farmer houses? In order to answer these questions, archival sources, contemporary publications, as well as statements from witnesses have been taken into account.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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