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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 56 (August 1946)

[Highlights of policy],   pp. [4]-[17] PDF (8.0 MB)

Page 7

Vast areas of land throughout Germany,
especially in the US Zone, were used
during the Nazi regime for war purposes.
These lands, covering a total of about
2,500,000 acres and comprising almost three
percent of all land in pre-war Germany,
were known as "Wehrmacht lands," for
they had been converted into training
grounds, drill fields, camps, airfields and
maneuver areas for the development of Ger-
many's war machine.
During the past year, it has been the
endeavor of the Food and Agriculture
Branch, Economics Division, OMGUS, to get
much of these lands, which are suitable for
agricultural purposes and not needed for
purposes of the occupation, back into pro-
ductive uses. It has been estimated that
about 60 per cent of the so-called "Wehr-
macht lands," particularly the airports, are
tillable and suitable for production of crops.
The largest Wehrmacht properties were
four maneuver areas in Bavaria: Grafen-
woehr, north of Amberg; Hohenfels, south
of Amberg; Hammelburg, and Wildflecken,
northeast of Bad Kissingen and extending
into Greater Hesse. Hohenfels is now in use
as an artillery range, but is also used for
farms and pastures. On days when the ar-
tillery is not firing the farmers may work
their crops and graze their cattle. However,
on days when the artillery is active in the
area, a large balloon is hoisted from one of
the highest hills so that the farmers can see
the warning and stay away. Wildflecken
and Hammelburg are used as training areas
for occupation troops.
Grafenwoehr, the largest of the Wehr-
macht lands in the US Zone with about
63,000 acres, typifies MG plans for the
former training areas. About a third of the
area is covered with woods and the re-
mainder is good farm land. In World War I,
25,000 acres of the Grafenwoehr area was
used by the German Army.     The Nazis,
during their expansion program, took over
additional land, including small villages. All
these towns became ghost towns. Persons
who had lived there for years were forced
to desert the area and move to other places.
After World War II, immediate efforts
were made by German farmers to put this
land under cultivation so that crops could
be harvested in the fall. Certain areas were
retained by the occupation forces while the
remainder was turned over to German
authorities. An important task at Grafen-
woehr is the locating of records of the for-
mer inhabitants and the descriptions of their

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