Colditz

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Colditz
City coat of arms at Colditz Castle
City coat of arms at Colditz Castle
Coat of arms of Colditz
Coat of arms
Colditz   is located in Germany
Colditz
Colditz
Coordinates: 51°07′N 12°49′E / 51.117°N 12.817°E / 51.117; 12.817Coordinates: 51°07′N 12°49′E / 51.117°N 12.817°E / 51.117; 12.817
Country Germany
State Saxony
District Leipzig
Subdivisions 4
Government
 • Mayor Manfred Heinz (FDP)
Area
 • Total 83.55 km2 (32.26 sq mi)
Elevation 156 m (512 ft)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 8,980
 • Density 110/km2 (280/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 04680
Dialling codes 034381
Vehicle registration L
Website www.colditz.de

Colditz (German pronunciation: [ˈkɔldɪts]) is a town in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, near Leipzig, located on the banks of the river Mulde. The town has a population of 5,188 (2005).

The town is best known for Colditz Castle, which was used as a prisoner-of-war camp during World War I and again in World War II, during which the camp was titled Oflag IV-C.

History[edit]

The first record of a settlement, located on the river Mulde, called Cholidistcha dates to the year 1046.[2] In 1083, Henry IV recommended that Markgraf Wiprecht of Groitzsch build a castle on the cliff above the river. During the 12th century houses were built around the marketplace and the St. Nicholas church was built. In 1265 town rights were granted by the ruler. In 1504, the baker accidentally set Colditz on fire, and the city hall, church, castle and a large part of the town went up in flames. In 1506, reconstruction began and new buildings were raised around the rear castle courtyard.

During the 17th century a textile and weaving industry developed. In the 18th century clay from the Colditz area started to be used in the Meissen porcelain factory that was established in 1710 by the Elector of Saxony, Augustus the Strong. In 1804 a ceramics factory was established in Colditz by Thomsberger & Hermann.

During World War II the town did not suffer any damage. The town became headquarters for the military personnel guarding the prisoner of war camp for officers, Oflag IV-C that had been established in the castle. On 14 April 1945 the U.S. Army entered the town and freed the prisoners. However, under agreements signed at the Yalta Conference, the Americans withdrew and were replaced by Soviet occupation forces late in June 1945. As a result, Colditz and the entire state of Saxony became part of East Germany. In 1958 a factory manufacturing porcelain was established [2]

Since German reunification in 1990 efforts have been made to increase visits by tourists. The castle was restored and has become a much visited museum.[3] The great flood of August 2002 caused some damage to the old town, but it has since been restored.

Sights[edit]

  • Colditz Castle
  • St. Nicholas Church - Originally built in the middle of the 12th century.
  • Old Marketplace - Markt, the houses at #13 and #21 were built about 1600.[4]
  • Lower Market #3 - Untermarkt 3 - a Gothic house with steep gabled roof with date 1564.
  • Johann David Köhler house - the grandfather of information science and a grandfather of library science was born here 16 January 1684.

Twin towns[edit]

Colditz is twinned with

Transport[edit]

In the vicinity of the city are two airports: Leipzig-Altenburg Airport (26 km) and Leipzig/Halle Airport (52 km)

Wartime dramatisations[edit]

The story of the wartime prisoners at Oflag IV-C was documented by Patrick Robert ("Pat") Reid in his books The Colditz Story and The Latter Days At Colditz, and the former was used as the basis for a 1955 film directed by Guy Hamilton. In the early 1970s the BBC broadcast a series, Colditz, created by Brian Degas and Gerard Glaister, with Reid as technical advisor. Beginning in 1973 a board game Escape from Colditz was marketed by Parker Brothers, followed by a computer game in 1991.

References[edit]

  • Michael Booker, Collecting Colditz and Its Secrets, page 32.
  • Eric J. Narveson, Prison Citadel, pp. 36–37.
  • Pat Reid, Colditz: The Full Story, pp. 124, 259-263.
  • Georg Martin Schädlich, Tales from Colditz Castle, pp. 4–6, 27, 61, 63, 91-101.
  • Colditz in the Digital Historic Index of Places in Saxony (Digitalen Historischen Ortsverzeichnis von Sachsen)

External links[edit]

Grimma Leisnig
Bad Lausick Neighbouring towns and villages Hartha
Königsfeld Zettlitz Geringswalde