Germany > Weimar Constitution (Extracts)

    { Adopted on: 11 Aug 1919 }
    { ICL Document Status: 12 Nov 2009 }

    { Editor's note:
    The ICL-edition of the Weimar Constitution only comprises those provisions incorporated into the German Constitution by Article 140.

    An annotated version of the ICL-edition is available as a book (ISBN 9-783-8370-0712-1) and the most recent annotated text in PDF-Format is available as a free download at}

Article 136 WRV [Civil and Political Rights]
(1) Civil and political rights and duties are neither dependent on nor restricted by the exercise of the freedom of religion.
(2) Enjoyment of civil and political rights and eligibility for public office are independent of religious denomination.
(3) No one is bound to disclose his religious convictions. The authorities have no right to inquire into a person's membership of a religious body except to the extent that rights or duties depend thereon or that a statistical survey ordered by law makes it necessary.
(4) No one may be compelled to perform any religious act or ceremony or to participate in religious exercises or to use a religious form of oath.
Article 137 WRV [State Church]
(1) There is no state church.
(2) Freedom of association to form religious bodies is guaranteed. The union of religious bodies within the territory of the Reich is not subject to any restrictions.
(3) Every religious body regulates and administers its affairs autonomously within the limits of the law valid for all. It confers its offices without the Participation of the state or the civil community.
(4) Religious bodies acquire legal capacity according to the general provisions of civil law.
(5) Religious bodies remain corporate bodies under public law insofar as they have been such heretofore. The other religious bodies are granted like rights upon application, where their constitution and the number of their members offers an assurance of their permanency. Where several such religious bodies under public law unite in one organization, such organization is a corporate body under public law.
(6) Religious bodies that are corporate bodies under public law are entitled to levy taxes in accordance with State [Land] law on the basis of the civil taxation lists.
(7) Associations whose purpose is the common cultivation of a philosophical persuasion have the same status as religious bodies.
(8) Such further regulation as may be required for the implementation of these provisions is a matter for State [Land] legislation.
Article 138 WRV [Church Property]
(1) State [Land] contributions to religious bodies, based on law or contract or special legal title, are redeemed by means of State [Land] legislation. The principles for such redemption are established by the Reich.
(2) The right to own property and other rights of religious bodies or associations in respect of their institutions, foundations, and other assets destined for purposes of worship, education or charity are guaranteed.
Article 139 WRV [Sunday and Holidays]
Sunday and the public holidays recognized by the state remain legally protected as days of rest from work and of spiritual edification.
Article 141 WRV [Religious Services]
To the extent that there exists a need for religious services and spiritual care in the army, in hospitals, prisons, or other public institutions, the religious bodies is permitted to perform religious acts; in this context there is no compulsion of any kind.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - 27.6.2020 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.