The influence of National Socialism on divorce law in Austria and the Netherlands

Mariken Lenaerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article provides a comparative overview of the influences of National Socialism on divorce law in Austria and the Netherlands between 1938 (Austria)/1940 (the Netherlands) and 1945. One of the primary goals of National Socialism was the establishment of a racially 'pure' Volksgemeinschaft. To that end, marriages that, for whatever reason, were no longer productive, or which would lead to the mingling of Aryan blood and racially 'inferior' blood should be dissolved. Therefore the National Socialists substantially revised German divorce law, which was introduced in Austria in 1938 as well. This 1938 Marriage Law, albeit substantially altered and denazified, still serves as the basis of Austrian marriage and divorce law. In the Netherlands, regarded as much a brother nation to Germany as Austria was, attempts were made during the occupation to revise Dutch divorce law, partly because it was generally believed that the grounds for divorce had to be widened somewhat, partly to attune Dutch divorce law to National Socialism. However, these revisions were never enacted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-134
Number of pages33
JournalBeiträge zur Rechtsgeschichte Österreichs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Austria
  • divorce law
  • Germany
  • National Socialism
  • the Netherlands

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