Korbinian Aigner

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Korbinian Aigner, known as Apfelpfarrer ("apple pastor"), (11 May 1885, in Hohenpolding – 5 October 1966, in Freising) was a Bavarian Catholic priest and pomologist.


Aigner was born on the Poldingerhof at Hohenpolding. He was the eldest son of the heir to the farm, but struck in favor of his ten siblings from his inheritance to become a priest.

School and university[edit]

In 1891 Aigner attended elementary school in Hohenpolding. In the autumn of 1896 he moved to the archbishop's high school in Freising. In 1904, he was not moved because of inadequate services in Greek and Latin. This Aigner took the occasion to go to the Luitpold Gymnasium in Munich. By promoting the Director of Georg Aigner Orterer could easily exist in the summer of 1906 graduated.

On 2 November of that year he entered the seminary of Freising and began studying theology.

Aigner took an early interest in the cultivation of fruit and on 15 August 1908, he co-founded with Franz Hausladen the Hohenpoldinger Fruit Association. On the anniversary of the founding members of the association were at 44, and elected him their first president. The following year, the Bavarian State Campaigners association was with 1000-Mark subsidized. This amount enabled the club to set up a winery. The Mostkeller building is still used by the Hohenpoldinger volunteer fire department as a clubhouse.

After ordination[edit]

In the summer of 1911 Aigner was ordained a priest by Archbishop Francis of Bettinger. His first Mass was celebrated in Hohenpolding. In the summer of that year he was sent to Ilmmünster as coadjutor and simultaneously appointed as a teacher at the junior seminary in the Scheyern Monastery. Among his students were Alois Hundhammer, Josef Schwalber and Josef Martin Bauer.

He ended 1916 as coadjutor to Aigner Grafing near Munich and in 1921 for the same position Haimhausen. In 1925 he was appointed as assistant to Söllhuben and a year later, after more than five years for such Dorfen. In July 1931 he became a vicar in Sion Bach. Then on 19 August 1931 he was appointed pastor.

During these years, every spare minute Aigner had was spent traveling to give lectures on fruit and to advise interested parties. He was elected president of the Horticultural Society of Upper Bavaria in 1930.

Arrest and concentration camps[edit]

In addition to fruit Aigner was also very interested in politics. He had been a member of the Bayerische Zentrumspartei and its successor the Bayerische Volkspartei (Bavarian People's Party) since 1916. In 1923 he attended a Nazi party meeting out of curiosity, where he heard a speech by Adolf Hitler. Since that time he fought against the Nazis. Particularly in his sermons he took a clear stand of resistance. There were some fines imposed against him and in January 1937 Aigner was demoted.

The assassination attempt by Georg Elser on 8 November 1939 led Aigner to give a speech on the Fifth Commandment ("Thou shalt not kill") on 9 November. During this, he said "I do not know if what the assassin had in mind is a sin. [Had Eisner succeeded], perhaps a million people would have been saved." This quote was reported by his colleague Charlotte Gerlach (a line-toeing substitute teacher) on 12 November to Münsterer, the Nazi party leader of Hohenkammer. On 22 November Aigner was arrested and jailed.

He was charged with violation of § 2 of the Treachery Act of 20 December 1934. On 7 May 1940, Aigner was sentenced to seven months in prison and taken to the Stadelheim prison. Since his detention on remand was counted, he was released from prison on 23 June 1941 was and deported to Dachau Concentration Camp. From there, Aigner came on 12 September as prisoner number 32 779 to a concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. He nearly died of pneumonia. In a bon mot is rumored Aigner: I'll do that favor net, as in Prussia up here to die.

On 3 October 1941 he was a prisoner number 27 788 in Dachau and then placed in the priest block. In Dachau, he made his forced labor mainly in agriculture. Between two barracks, he planted apple trees, and he even succeeded in breeding new varieties, KZ-1, KZ-2, KZ-3 and KZ-4, though except for KZ-3 these subsequently became extinct again.

On the night of 26 to 27 April 1945 Aigner with about 10,000 other prisoners was force-marched towards South Tyrol. On 28 April they arrived at Aufkirchen at Lake Starnberg, where Aigner could flee and hide in the monastery there. The war was over for him.

After the war[edit]

After the war, Aigner came back as a minister in his community Hohenbercha. There he devoted himself to his great passion, apples. In October 1945 he was elected state chairman of the Bavarian State Horticultural Association and held this position for five years.

In September 1966 he fell ill with severe pneumonia and on 5 October 1966 died at the age of 81 in Freising Hospital. He found his final resting place at the cemetery in Hohenbercha.


Korbinian Aigner was awarded the Bavarian Order of Merit and the Bavarian State Medal in gold. In 1985 the apple species KZ-3 was officially christened the Korbinian apple to celebrate Aigner's 100th birthday. On 28 June 2010 it was decided by the Erding County Council to rename the Gymnasium Erding II in honor of Aigner.


  • Apfelpfarrer erntet den Dank der Obstbauern. Korbinian Aigner ist einer der bekanntesten bayerischen Obstzüchter.“ Süddeutsche Zeitung Nr. 224 vom 18. September 1958, 11.
  • Der „Apfelpfarrer“ Korbinian Aigner: die Galerie im Münchener Rathaus zeigte das Lebenswerk dieses „Pomologen“ und ehemaligen Präfekten in Scheyern (1912/16). In: Der Scheyrer Turm 49 (1992), 15-16.
  • Chaussy, Ulrich: Die Poesie der Landwirtschaft: das Leben des Apfelpfarrers Korbinian Aigner. München (Bayerischer Rundfunk, Land und Leute) 1994. 17 S.
  • Niedermayer, Hans: Der Apfelpfarrer Korbinian Aigner: Dom-Gymnasiast, Seelsorger, Pomologe, KZ-Häftling. In: Jahresbericht (Dom-Gymnasium Freising) 1996/97, 8-30.
  • Cordes, Gesche, Mürner, Christian: Äpfel: Anleitung zum Umgang mit einer Delikatesse, der Apfelpfarrer Korbinian Aigner. Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Hamburg 2002

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