At the end of World War Two, the German people hastily rid themselves of the propaganda from the Third Reich, much was burned and buried, weapons and munitions thrown into the village pond. Decades later artifacts that were once quickly thrown into the garbage of history slowly come back to light. On a pile of rubble behind the bust of Adolf Hitler lies the Deutschen Bauern odal rune cast iron relief of the Erbhof, part of a group of artifacts of German rural history unearthed in the museum village Hösseringen 1997/98. (Image right; Copyright Lanwirtschaftsmuseum Lüneburger Heide, Heft Nr 28) 
The National Socialists saw the farmer as the first and deepest representative of the people since he nourishes the people from the fertility of the earth, and since he maintains the nation through the fertility of his own family. Here National Socialism had to accomplish two legal ends: the re-establishment and the protection of the farmer class and the securing of its land for the farmer family.
Legislation concerning property rights from 1933-1945 shows a great number of statutes and decrees on various other questions but in respect of the “peasant’s estate” (Erbhof) only three important problems were actually dealt with:
- Separation of agricultural property from the capitalistic economy
- Liberation of real property from capitalistic enslavement
- Protection of the tenants.
The “separation of agricultural property from the capitalistic economy” was attempted only for that part of the agricultural, domain regarded as the most important, namely, the “peasant’s estate”; comprising land, house, barn, and implements. This estate was established as a single, separate, indivisible unit,, not transferable by contract, deed, or will, descending from father to son as an integral whole. The law of the “peasant’s estate” has been regulated by a series of statutes and decrees and has been developed so as to constitute a more or less independent legal system. All the rules, concerning peasants’ estates refer only to this special class of agricultural property. For other agricultural property which did not form a peasant’s estate the connection with the normal economic system was not dissolved.
The preamble of the Erbhof statute began by making a distinction between the owner of a peasants’ estate (Erbhof), who is to be known legally as a (Bauer), and the owner of any other agricultural property, who is to be called a farmer (Landwirt), thus creating a new class of people, the ‘Peasant Class’ or ‘Bauern’
It was declared illegal to use different names for the owners of peasants’ estates and other agricultural property. According to the statute only these persons who were of German nationality and of “German or racially similar blood”, and who were honest and able, could hold the title of peasant. If a peasant should be deemed lacking in one of these qualifications, the government could transfer his right’to administer and use his property, or even the property itself, to other persons having the necessary qualities. Jews and persons who had any Jewish forefathers after 1 January 1800 could not be peasants. Thus, under these and similar statutes and decrees, discrimination against any persons outside of ‘honest and reliable Germans of racially similar blood’ and racial discrimination of Jews was legalized.
The peasant’s estate was stated to be a “res extra commercium”. It could not be sold or transferred intervivous (in legal terms usually referring to the transfer of property by agreement between living persons and not by a gift through a will), disposed of by will, or divided under the rules of descent and distribution. On the death of the peasant, the peasant’s estate was to become the property of his “heir” by force of law. The statute designated as heir the relations of the peasant in the following order: the sons, the father, the brothers, the daughters and lastly the sisters of the peasant. Only one individual of each group could be the heir. A peasant could, under certain circumstances, choose and appoint his heir within the designated groups. This was allowed, in particular, in those regions where a power of selecting an heir previously existed in the form of a local custom, or in those regions where there was no local custom to the contrary.
Under strict control of the Reichsnährstand headed by SS-Obergrüppenfühere R. Walter Darrè, the Reich Erbhof law, a cornerstone of the NS agricultural policy and National Socialist ‘Blud und Boden’ (Blood and Soil) ideology, effected in October 1933, represented a strong state intervention in rural property ownership. Twenty-two percent of farms comprising 37 percent of all agricultural land, were thus transformed into quasi-feudal estates.
The Bauern received a helping hand from organisations such as the SS, DAF, Hitler Youth and Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Maidens) but this was not enough to offset manpower shortages.
During war time foreign forced labour and prisoners of war were also set to work on the land which then of course puts an end to Darrè’s ideological dreams of Blood and Soil, German lands tilled by the peasant heroes of Nazi Germany, the holders of the racial bloodstock of the nation, the Bauerntum.
Reichsnährstand Members News Bulletin depicting the Erbhof Erkennungszeichen.
Above: The cast Iron ‘Erbhof – Erkennungszeichen’.
Above: A very rare District Court document showing the Erbhof has been entered into the Erbhoferolle, the Erbhof Register.
 Lanwirtschaftsmuseum Lüneburger Heide, Heft Nr 28
 Office of Strategic Services, Washington ‘Nazi Changes in the Law of Real Property‘, 17 June 1945
 ‘A History of Modern Germany, 1800 to Present‘ 2nd Edition, Martin Kitchen, Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN-10: 047065581X, ISBN-13: 978-0470655818