World War II Germany: Soviet Occupation--Land Reform

Figure 1.-- Hereare the children of some of the peasant families given small plots as part of the Soviet land reform. The press caption read, "Soviets Give Land to German Peasants: The children on one of the great German estates in the village of Zabeltitz, near Grosenheim in the Soviet Zone, enjoy playing in one of the lofts, where works of art from the famous Zwinger Galleries in Dresden, were stored for safety during the war. The children are examining the model of the 'S.S. Limenshift', while surronded by works of art." We are not familar with the ship, but it looks like a World War I battleship. We see a portrit of Kaiser Wilhelm. Notice how the bulding is unheated.

The Soviets implemented a Bodenreforman (agrarian reform). It was interestingly different than standard Foviet lines. Not all the land was collectivized. We are not sure why a degree of peasant agriculture was allowed. The Soviets expropriated the land belonging to former NAZIs and identified war criminals. Private land ownership was restricted to a maximum of 1 kmē. About 500 Junker estates were converted into the Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaft (people's collective farms --LPG). Some 30,000 kmē were distributed among 500,000 peasant farmers, agricultural laborers, and refugees. This mean very small, subsistence plots. The land owners received no compensation. Only active anti-Nazis were compensated and this mean a very small number. Soviet military authorities completed the agrarian reform through their zone (September 1947). A Soviet report detailing their accomplishments detailed 12,355 estates, totaling 6,000,000 acres (24,000 km2) which they seized and redistributed to 119,000 families of landless farmers, 83,000 refugee families, and some 300,000 in other categories. State farms were set up and called Volkseigenes Gut (People's Owned Property). We are not sure yet how the Bodenreforman affected farm productivity. Normally productiviy dclined, but we do not yet have any data.


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Created: 7:48 PM 12/6/2015
Last updated: 7:48 PM 12/6/2015