Adolf Damaschke

Adolf Damaschke
Adolf Damaschke

Adolf William Ferdinand Damaschke (* 24. November 1865 in Berlin; † 30. July 1935 ebenda) was paedagogue and a leader of the land reform movement.

Table of contents

childhood and youth

Adolf Damaschke originate from citizens of Berlin a carpenter family and grow up in the spatial tightness of a tenement house . Up to the age of 10 years it does not even have its own bed. When it should be given first schooling to 1871, there is no regular place at the public elementary school due to the rapid population growth for it. Thus it visits a Privatschule first on public expenses. When it receives a Gymnasialempfehlung later, its parents must reject due to that to expecting costs.

As 15jähriger Damaschke becomes acquainted with the free-church Christ church and their minister Paulus Stephanus Cassel . The God-official life of this municipality impresses the young person, because here - so Damaschke into its life memories - “all fought for conviction was and no habitual Christianity “. Damaschke engages itself in the church municipality and becomes there director/conductor of the Sundays school.

Damaschke as people school teachers

1883 opens for the 18-jährigen the possibility, itself on one releases citizens of Berlin the educational seminar as the people school teacher train to let. Ten years later it start its first place and experiences then the social emergency of the own childhood a further mark - this time from the perspective of the paedagogue. Its first public fight applies for the teaching material liberty. In lectures and newspaper articles he begins for it and turns out themselves over it in conflict with his employer, the citizen of Berlin municipal authorities. He is transferred for disciplinary reasons. 1896 it searches for dismissal from the school service and becomes a free writer: “Me from the direct homework to to separate, is the heaviest victim, whom I bring. But I must serve my social ideals, and I can do that nevertheless in the long run only, if I am completely independent.“(Damaschke, life memories)

Damaschke as Lebensreformer

already 1893 will appoint Damaschke as the secretary of the lebensreformerischen magazine “the nature physician”. It was the official organ of the “federation of the associations for people-understandable health care”. Here it sits down in particular for a healthy and above all abstinente way of life. In the nature medicine - welfare-end to forces of light, air, water and a simple nourishing way particularly in - it sees a fast working and as it were also economical contribution for the public health of the Industrieproletariats.

Damaschke as Bodenreformer

an important impulse to its actual life topic, which, he gets land reform by a lecture of the political economist Adolph Wagner, in whom it went around the profits of the soil speculators to the war 1870/ 1871. The price of land risen to 30% let become shelterless over night thousands of citizen of Berlin worker families, which could not pay their rents any longer.

Adolf Damaschke, Die Bodenreform (1913)
Adolf Damaschke, the land reform (1913)

a further impulse receives Damaschke by the “German federation for land reform “, particularly by its magazine” open land “. In it the realization grows that “accumulating real property in the hands few directly or in the form of soil indebtedness has fatal consequences with all peoples “. In the Bible he discovers a “great example bodenreformerischer legislation “. Reason and soil - so Damaschke under reference to the 3. Book Mose, chapter 25 - conditions under göttlichem retention of title. Humans may do the country, God them as loan give, to use. However they have requirement however only on the yield of their work, not on the monetary value of the soil, the “soil yield increase in such a way specified “. It applies to tax away this yield increase for taxation after Damaschke and to give to the public. Those again has the task to use these tax fundses for housebuilding and the Linderung of social emergency.

A further pulse generator was for Damaschke beside the bodenreformerischen texts of the social reformers Henry George. To the open land - to concept of the restaurant theoretician Silvio associate exist certain parallels, although both strongly from each other dissociated themselves.

Damaschke tries to convert its insights into the practice and bases thereupon among other things housing associations and tenant cooperatives - so for example in Frankfurt at the or. It develops an extensive lecture activity and brings in numerous writings and books its thoughts on paper. In Christian circles its ideas are spread above all also by that Hamburg Baptistenpastor Carl August Flügge. Also with the national liberal social reformer Friedrich Naumann connects it a close friendship.


even if Damaschkes ideas “spaciously” become generally accepted could not, then they have nevertheless political thinking and acting its contemporaries affects strongly. 76 delegates of different political parties of the national assembly of 1919 were “Damaschkianer so mentioned”. With its assistance it succeeded to bring the following article into the realm condition:

  • Article 155. [Soil distribution and use] the distribution and use of the soil will by state because of in a way supervised, which abuse prevented and which goals zustrebt, everyone German a healthy dwelling and all German families, particularly the child-rich to secure for their needs appropriate living and restaurant homestead… landed property, whose acquisition is necessary for the satisfaction of housing requirements, for the promotion of the settlement and raclamation or for the elevation of the agriculture, can are expropriated. The estates are to be dissolved. The treatment and utilization of the soil is an obligation of the basic owner in relation to the community. The increase in value of the soil, which develops without a work or a capital expenditure on property, is to be made usable for the whole. All Bodenschätze and all economically usable natural forces stand under the supervision of the state. Private shelves are to be transferred of the legislation in the way on the state.

A further political success of the land reform movement Damaschkes was the realm homestead law of 1920.

The trailer shank Damaschkes was so strong at the beginning of the Weimar Republic that one shortens it for the case of a people choice to the candidate for the office of the realm president. There itself however Reichstag to 24. October 1922 with the necessary two-thirds majority on Friedrich Ebert informed, was omitted condition in accordance with people choice and concomitantly Damaschkes the candidacy.

In the following time strong of resistances against its reform ideas develop. The political parties turn away from Damaschke, because it remains non-party. The large daily papers malfunction their support from fear to it to lose their principal-strong indicator customers. One suspects it even publicly of cut communism.

Damaschke as a Christian

Titelblatt eines Traktats zur Bodenreform Damaschkes, erschienen in der Friedensboten-Bücherei, Bd. VII (herausgegeben von dem Baptistenprediger  C. A. Flügge
title page of a treatise to the land reform Damaschkes, appeared in the messenger of peace library, Bd. VII (given change of the Baptistenprediger C. A. Flügge

the Bible was for Damaschke not only Impulsgeberin of its reformerischen ideas, but also “signposts/guides to a fulfilled life “. It particularly fastened its faith at the person Jesus Christ . To last it occurred publicly for its faith convictions. When on a conference of the society for Ur and prehistory, taken place, the opinion 1934 became to represent, which indogermanische humans had themselves to solve from the semitischen Christianity, answered Damaschke in its - by the way last public - speech: “Is it really like that that indogermanischen humans look for other sources Kraft? We go nevertheless through locks and huts! If German people hearts out-look in completely high and completely heavy hours, in highest development or in pain-fullest renouncing and despairing after comfort and Kraft, then it is not Hermann of the Cherusker, not Otto von Bismarck, not masters corner hard, not spruce or Lagarde, then it is always Jesu Christi picture, at which highest joy improves and deepest pain ends reconciling. ... Each effect presupposes an appropriate cause - a singular effect a singular cause. This cause however was called and is called: Jesus Christ.

Internal fights and doubts knew Damaschke also. Friedrich Naumann - so Damaschke - is to be owed it that he got again “firm soil under the feet “. With him he became acquainted with himself the “Christianity of the barmherzigen Samariters ", “at any time before God responsible white for the fate of the brother “.


the appreciation of his working is not missing. Cities and villages designate roads, places and allotment settlements after the Bodenreformer. The Universities of Berlin (1919; 1924) and pouring (1924) lend to it three times.

Damaschke dies after a heavy cancer illness 1935 and in Berlin is buried. On its gravestone is the Bible word: “We know that we came from death into the life, because we love the brothers “(1. Letter of the Johannes).


  • Adolf Damaschke: The land reform. Fundamental and historical (Berlin 1902)
  • Adolf Damaschke/Johannes military man: Land reform. Moral emergency. The municipality; in: Messenger of peace library volume VII (Kassel, oJ)
  • Adolf Damaschke: History of the political economy. A first introduction; Publishing house of Gustav Silcher (Jena 1919)

Web on the left of

  • {{#if:
| | * Literature of and over Adolf Damaschke in the catalog of the DDB



  > German to English > (Machine translated into English)