Itter Castle is located atop a hill at the entrance to the Brixental Valley. It is first mentioned in 1240. It belonged to Salzburg from 1312 until 1816, when it became part of Tyrol. The castle was purchased as a residence in 1884 by Sophie Menter, pianist, composer and student of Franz Liszt. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky orchestrated one of his compositions during a visit in 1892. The castle was extensively remodeled by later owners.
World War II
The castle was used from 1943–45, during the Nazi occupation of France, to incarcerate prominent French prisoners. Inmates included the former Prime Ministers Édouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud; Generals Maurice Gamelin and Maxime Weygand, who had been prominent during the "Phoney war" era; Jean Borotra, a former tennis champion and later General Commissioner of Sports in the Vichy regime; Colonel de La Rocque, the leader of the right-wing Croix de Feu movement; André François-Poncet, a politician and diplomat; and Michel Clemenceau, politician and son of Georges Clemenceau. The former republic president Albert Lebrun was held at Itter for three months in 1943, before being sent back to France for health reasons; Marie-Agnès de Gaulle, Resistance member and sister of General Charles de Gaulle, was interned in the castle at the very end of the war, in April 1945.
Administratively, Itter was a subcamp of Dachau concentration camp; the castle's detention conditions were, however, not comparable with those at Dachau.
Battle for Castle Itter
Itter's prisoners were freed by units of the American 103rd Infantry Division of General Anthony McAuliffe on May 5, 1945. The next day, the American units, including 23rd Tank Battalion of the U.S. 12th Armored Division under the command of Capt. John C. ‘Jack’ Lee, Jr., the former prisoners themselves, and anti-Nazi elements of the Wehrmacht under the command of Major Josef ‘Sepp’ Gangl, who died in the battle, fought alongside the German guards against attacking SS elements until reinforcements arrived.
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- Andrew Roberts (12 May 2013). "World War II’s Strangest Battle: When Americans and Germans Fought Together". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "French Leaders Freed". Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- Recollections of a World War II Combat Medic. JSTOR 27792041.
- Stephen Harding (2013). The Last Battle: When U. S. and German Soldiers Joined Forces in the Waning Hours of World War II in Europe. Da Capo Press, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-306-82209-4.
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