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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

City coat of arms at Colditz Castle
City coat of arms at Colditz Castle
Coat of arms of Colditz
Colditz is located in Germany
Coordinates 51°07′0″N 12°49′0″E / 51.116667°N 12.816667°E / 51.116667; 12.816667
Country Germany
State Saxony
Admin. region Leipzig
District Leipzig
Town subdivisions 4
Mayor Manfred Heinz (FDP)
Basic statistics
Area 33.50 km2 (12.93 sq mi)
Elevation 156 m  (512 ft)
Population 5,116  (31 December 2006)
 - Density 153 /km2 (396 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate L
Postal code 04680
Area code 034381
Location of the town of Colditz within Leipzig district

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

The city is most famous because of Colditz Castle, which has been used as a workhouse, mental health institution, a prisoner-of-war camp during World War I and as Oflag IV-C in World War II.



The first record of a settlement, located on the river Mulde, called Cholidistcha is from the year 1046. [1] 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 market-place 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 city 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 city 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. 14 April 1945 the U.S. Army entered the town and freed the prisoners. However, under the agreements signed at the Yalta Conference, the Americans withdrew and were replaced by Soviet occupation forces late 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 [1]

After the German reunification in 1990 efforts have been made to increase visits by tourists. The castle was restored and has become a much visited museum [2]. The great flood of August 2002 caused some damage to the old town, but it has been restored.


  • Colditz Castle
  • St. Nicholas Church - Originally built in the middle of the 12th century.
  • Old Market Place - Markt, the houses at #13 and #21 were built about 1600.[3]
  • 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

Colditz is twinned with

Wartime dramatisations

The story of the wartime prisoners at Oflag IV-C was documented by P. R. 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.


  • Michael Booker, Collecting Colditz and Its Secrets, page 32.
  • Eric J. Narveson, Prison Citadel, pp. 36–37.
  • Patrick Reid, Colditz: The Full Story, pp. 124, 259-263.
  • Georg Martin Schädlich, Tales from Colditz Castle, pp. 4–6, 27, 61, 63, 91-101.

External links

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