The Land Reform in the Soviet Occupation Zone in Germany

Juergen Ast | Gerd Liepe

Juergen Ast

Commissioning Editor:
Johannes Unger


astfilm productions | for ORB

"Junkerland in Bauernhand!" - "The land of the great land owner for the farmers!" With this slogan in the late summer 1945, 50 years ago, a radical change took place in the Soviet occupation zone in Germany. More than 12.700 square miles land were dispossessed without compensation, 7.000 noblemen and great land owner lost their estates to more than a half million field workers, evacuees and landless farmers. At the beginning of this dramatic change, that made history as the so called "Bodenreform", the socialistic land reform, the slogan was valid: "The famer will get free on his own clod of earth." ...

The documentary-film tells the different stages of the socialistic land reform - the creation of the land commissions, the distribution of the dispossessed properties, the new villages established by the new settlers ... The documentation is a search for traces of this first "revolution top down" in the Soviet occupation zone, that in the beginning was borne and performed by a wide social stratum. And it is a critical appraisal of the present consequences and the handling with the land reform after the German reunification.

Was the land reform a "necessary democratic act", failed to do in the West, or was it an "act of caprice" of the occupying power as a preparation for a future "Soviet collectivization" in East Germany? Do the former noblemen and great land owner thump to compensation rightfully today, or is the land reform still something "very valuable"? Today, as well as 50 years ago, the opinions are divided.