In this diploma thesis, I explain the development of the disappearance concept and the corresponding declaration of death from Roman law up to the German civil code. I place special emphasis on the different stages of development of the declaration of death and the disappearance concept. Furthermore, I take a closer look at the consequences for the heirs of a disappeared person and also of the property. Beginning with the Roman law, my thesis then goes on to deal with the German law, which dates further back to a time in which were only few rules. In conclusion, I explain the age of common law and the age of reception in which some rules had already been developed. After this, the corresponding rules of the natural justice codifications such as the general law of the Prussian states, the Austrian civil code and the German civil code as well as its precursors will be explained. I sketch the history of origins of these codifications as well as disappearance law dating from 16th of February 1883. Finally, I explain the contemporary situation in this field.