Colditz CastleGreat escapes
Ruler’s seat, hunting lodge, widow’s residence – with its white gables Colditz Castle is one of the most beautiful and stylistically unadulterated architectural monuments of Central Germany of the 16th century. When nowadays groups of travelers from around the world crowd around the castle and its grounds, it is not only because of their interest in Renaissance architecture. It has far more to do with recent history than with the past since the spacious castle was a significant internment camp for high ranking officers of the Western allies during World War II and it was to become world famous later on by the book “The Colditz Story” and the film of the same name. Mainly British, Dutch and French military personnel were kept as prisoners here, including the nephew of Winston Churchill and the nephew of the then King of England, George VI. The prisoners of the Oflag (officer’s camp) IV C” were, however, only minimally impressed by the lovely atmosphere of the castle – their one and only goal was to escape its walls. About 300 documents of escape attempts exist, some of them reveal an unbelievable creativity, including successful escape attempts which today are part of this legendary military history. Secret radio rooms kept the prisoners in contact with their home country, tunnels were dug through the castle walls and even a glider was made. Of course, the “Escape Museum” looks at this aspect of the castle’s history in great detail. But also the old battlement with its mighty walls, the prince’s house, the Renaissance portal of the Trinity Church, the castle tower with its bulbous cupola and the old stone bridge impress visitors time and again.
Visitors from all over the world can reside here quite nobly when checking in at the castle’s European Youth Hostel with its reasonably priced modern rooms, friendly atmosphere and good cuisine.