Entrance to Landsberg Prison
|Location||Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, Germany|
|Former name||War Criminal Prison Nr. 1|
|Managed by||Bavarian Ministry of Justice|
Landsberg Prison is a penal facility located in the town of Landsberg am Lech in the southwest of the German state of Bavaria, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) west of Munich and 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Augsburg.
The prison was used by Allied power during the Occupation of Germany for holding Nazi War Criminals. In 1946 General Joseph T. McNarney, commander in chief, U.S. Forces of Occupation in Germany renamed Landsberg: War Criminal Prison Nr. 1. The Americans closed the war crimes facility in 1958. Control of the prison was then handed over to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Landsberg is now maintained by the Prison Service of the Bavarian Ministry of Justice.
Landsberg prison, which is in the town's western outskirts, was completed in 1910. The facility was designed with an Art Nouveau frontage by Hugo Höfl. Within its wall, the four brick-built cell blocks were constructed in a cross-shape orientation. This allowed guards to watch all wings simultaneously from a central location (based on the Panopticon style).
Landsberg, which was used for holding convicted criminals and those awaiting sentencing, was also designated a Festungshaft (meaning fortress confinement) prison. Festungshaft facilities were similar to a modern protective custody unit. Prisoners were excluded from forced labor and had reasonably comfortable cells. They were also allowed to receive visitors. Anton Graf von Arco-Valley who shot Bavarian prime minister Kurt Eisner was given a Festungshaft sentence in February 1919.
In 1924 Adolf Hitler spent 264 days incarcerated in Landsberg after being convicted of treason following the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich the previous year. During his imprisonment, Hitler dictated and then wrote his book Mein Kampf with assistance from his deputy, Rudolf Hess.
United States Army
During the occupation of Germany by the Allies after World War II, the US Army designated the prison as War Criminal Prison No. 1 to hold convicted Nazi war criminals.  It was run and guarded by personnel from the United States Military Police (MPs).
The first condemned prisoners arrived at Landsberg prison in December 1945. These war criminals had been sentenced to death for crimes against humanity at the Dachau Trials which had begun a month earlier.
Between 1945 and 1946, the prison housed a total of 110 prisoners convicted at the Nuremberg trials, a further 1416 war criminals from the Dachau trials and 18 prisoners convicted in the Shanghai trials (de). (These were military tribunals conducted by the American forces in Japan between August 1946 and January 1947 to prosecute 23 German officials who had continued to assist the Japanese military in Shanghai after the surrender of Nazi Germany.) 
In five and half years, Landsberg prison was the place of execution of nearly 300 condemned war criminals. 259 death sentences were conducted by hanging and 29 by firing squad.  Executions were carried out expeditiously. In May 1946 twenty eight former SS guards from Dachau were hanged within a four-day period.  Bodies that were not claimed were buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery next to the Spöttingen chapel.
Former members of the Third Reich who were sent to the US Army's prison at Landsberg included:
By 1948, the Bavarian Ministry of Justice's Association for the Welfare of Prisoners (Vereinigung für die Wohlfahrt von Gefangenen des Bayerischen Staatsministeriums der Justiz) managed the need of the prisoners held by the American military. With foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949 and its abolishment of the death penalty, calls from politicians, the church, industrialists, and artists resulted in numerous petitions being made to close down War Criminal Prison No. 1.
In early 1951 the Bavarian parliament passed a resolution declaring that all military prisoners at Landsberg, Werl, and Wittlich should be recognized as POWs making them the financial responsibility of the Federal German government. On 31 January 1951 the U.S. High Commissioner, John McCloy, agreed to review the sentences from the Nuremberg and Dachau trials. Out of 28 prisoners condemned to death, seven death sentences were confirmed. The other sentences were reduced to terms of imprisonment. The confirmed death sentences included Oswald Pohl, Hans-Theodor Schmidt (de) (adjutant of Buchenwald), and Georg Schallermair (de) (an SS sergeant at Mühldorf, a Dachau sub-camp). The final executions were conducted on 7 June, 1951.
By the middle of the fifties, these inmates began to be seen not as war criminals but as political prisoners or prisoners of war. For instance, in 1955, the city council of Landsberg asked their mayor "to work for the overdue release of the political prisoners" in the Landsberg prison. Moreover the FDR government in Bonn decided the convictions of war criminals by military courts were considered as foreign convictions and therefore did not become part of an individual' s criminal record.
In May 1958, the United States Army relinquished control of Landsberg Prison when the last four prisoner were released from custody. These were all former SS high-ranking officers who had been convicted during the Einsatzgruppen Trials between 1947 and 1948.
Management of the facility was transferred over to the civilian Bavarian Ministry of Justice.
The prison is now run as a progressive correctional facility that provides training, skills and medical help for prisoners. There are 36 courses in the central training centre which provide training for occupations such as bakers, electricians, painters, butchers, carpenters, tailors, shoemakers, heating & ventilation workers and bricklayers.
- The Landsberg Prison for War Criminals.
- Marcia Reynders Ristaino (2009-08-29). "Port of Last Resort: The Diaspora Communities of Shanghai".
- iPad iPhone Android TIME TV Populist The Page (1951-06-18). "Case closed". Time.com. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
- "14 More Die for Crimes at Dachau". The Montreal Gazette. 1946-05-30. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
Media related to Prison in Landsberg am Lech at Wikimedia Commons