Ostblog reports that in 2003 the German public purse made record profits of EUR 262 m from the sale and lease of land that was originally People’s Property in the German Democratic Republic. This comes from an article at NDR online (in German).
The land was nationalized after expropriations in the years 1945 to 1949, before the GDR existed. I think such expropriations were not reversed by the Federal Republic because they were not done by the GDR. After the end of the GDR they were transferred to the Treuhandanstalt (Trust Agency), and since 1992 the BVVG (Bodenverwertungs- und -verwaltungs GmbH) has been responsible – it’s a private company appointed by the government to privatize former People’s Property (fields and meadows, woods, buildings and waters) in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The process is expected to last well into the next decade.
The east German farmers are still recovering from the 2002 floods and the hot summer of 2003, so they preferred to continue leasing, and less land was sold than expected.
The BVVG is now changing the rules, so that you cannot prolong a lease unless you have already applied. This will free land to be auctioned to the highest bidder; this will affect about 6000 tenant farmers.
I don’t know if anyone else is interested in this, but I’ve translated some stuff about it and it’s something we don’t think much about in the west. And Ostblog is a wonderful source (German). See also the marvellous things we liked abroad, in Czechoslovakia, in 1967: the device to separate egg yolk from white, the wall-mounted kitchen scales, the net bag that holds ten pounds of potatoes or several bottles of beer, the chopping board with a protective plastic surround.