Monday, March 4, 2013

Visit and spend the night in Colditz Castle (Germany)

Colditz Castle, a former mental hospital, was used under the control of the Wehrmacht during World War II as a POW camp for Allied officers of high rank. Its official designation was Oflag IVc .

It became a high security prison because some prisoners were known for their attempts to escape. It was said that there were more guards than prisoners. Still, there were several flights but mostly failed. The punishment for attempted escape was the isolation cell.
One of the more ambitious scape plans was conducted by the pilots Bill Goldfinch and Jack Best. With the help of several prisoners they built a glider from wood scraps and stolen sleeping bags. They wanted to launch from the roof of the chapel, which was hidden from the view of the Germans. The war ended before they could carry out the plan. There is a replica of the glider at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Many of these flights are reflected in the books of the British Captain Pat Reid, who after achieving escape and reach Switzerland, wrote his memoirs spread over several volumes.


View larger map

The castle is located in the town of Colditz in Saxony, eastern Germany, 50 km away from Leipzig, 75 km away fron Dresden and 230 km away from Berlin. You can fly easily to any of these cities and rent a car to get Colditz. To go by train you have to get to the station Großbothen (direct trains from Leipzig) and from there take a taxi or a bus to Colditz or get to the station Grimma and there take the bus #619 in the direction of Rochlitz (check here the schedule).

For trains and times:

From Leipzig, there is also a shuttle bus that runs every hour. This bus is the #690 and you can take it in the Leipzig train station but it only runs Monday to Friday . On weekends you will have to combine train and bus.

If you want to spend a night in the castle beacuse of today it houses a youth hostel: the Colditz Youth Hostel (DHJ Jugendherberge Schloss Colditz). You can stay there from 22 euros. You will have to book in advance through the official website: clicking on " Inquiries & Buchen "on the right side of the screen. It will take you to a form where you have to indicate if you're going in a group, family, or individual, if you're more or less than 26 year old and the dates. If you want a single or a double room you should make a reservation well in advance.

Click here for a pdf with all the information about the hostel (in English).


Opening hours:
From April to October: 10:00-17:00 (guided tours at 10:30 / 13:00 / 15:00, and at this time there on extended tours POW camp at 10:30)
From November to March: 10:00-16:00 (guided tours at 11:00 / 14:30)
Closed from 24 to 26 December, 31 December and 1 January.
Admission to the escape museum: 4 euros
Guided tour: 8 euros
Extended Tour: 15 euros

The last years, the castle has undergone numerous restorations aimed at tourism purposes. This issue has brought controversial because many people believe it should be preserved as it was then, even if it means deterioration. It also houses a museum and a hostel. The museum collects personal belongings of prisoners, documents, recreations of rooms ... You can visit the cells of prisoners, the different rooms and the escape tunnel to get an idea of ​​the life at the camp.
Tunnel ( photo: Wikimedia Commons )
If you want to see a video gallery of the rooms of the castle you can click here . 



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    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.

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