Landsberg Prison

Landsberg Prison

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Landsberg Prison is a penal facility located in the town of Landsberg am Lech
Landsberg am Lech
Landsberg am Lech is a town in southwest Bavaria, Germany, about 65 kilometers west of Munich and 35 kilometers south of Augsburg. It is the capital of the district of Landsberg am Lech....

 in the southwest of the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 state of Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, about 65 kilometres (40.4 mi) west of Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and 35 kilometres (21.7 mi) south of Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

.

The prison was used by Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 power during the Occupation of Germany for holding Nazi War Criminals. In 1946 General Joseph T. McNarney
Joseph T. McNarney
Joseph Taggart McNarney was a United States Army Air Forces general officer who served as Military Governor of occupied Germany.-Early years:...

, 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
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

.

Landsberg is now maintained by the Prison Service of the Bavarian Ministry of Justice.

Early years


Landsberg prison, which is in the town's western outskirts, was completed in 1910. The facility was designed with an Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

frontage by Hugo Höfl. Its four brick-built cell blocks are orientated in a cross-shape which allows guards to watch all wings from a central location.

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
Kurt Eisner
Kurt Eisner was a Bavarian politician and journalist. As a German socialist journalist and statesman, he organized the Socialist Revolution that overthrew the Wittelsbach monarchy in Bavaria in November 1918....

 was given a Festungshaft sentence in February 1919.

In 1924 Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 spent 264 days incarcerated in Landsberg after being convicted of treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 following the Beer Hall Putsch
Beer Hall Putsch
The Beer Hall Putsch was a failed attempt at revolution that occurred between the evening of 8 November and the early afternoon of 9 November 1923, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff, and other heads of the Kampfbund unsuccessfully tried to seize power...

 in Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 the previous year. During his imprisonment, Hitler dictated and then wrote his book Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

with assistance from his deputy, Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s...

.

United States Army


During the occupation of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 by the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the US Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 designated the prison
Prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

 as War Criminal Prison No. 1 to hold convicted Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 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
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

, a further 1416 war criminals from the Dachau trials and 18 prisoners convicted in the Shanghai trials. (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
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 in Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 after the surrender of Nazi Germany.)

In five and half years, Landsberg prison was used to execute nearly 300 condemned war criminals, of these 259 death sentences were conducted by hanging and 29 by firing squad. Executions were carried out expediently, 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.

Notable prisoners sentenced to periods of imprisonment at Landsberg included:

  • Sepp Dietrich
  • Hellmuth Felmy
    Hellmuth Felmy
    Hellmuth Felmy was a Nazi war criminal, German military officer during World War I, the interwar period, and World War II.-Biography:On 28 May 1885, Helmuth Felmy was born in Berlin in what was then the German Empire...

  • Otto Hofmann
    Otto Hofmann
    Otto Hofmann was an Austrian SS-Gruppenführer and an official of Nazi Germany's "Race and Settlement Main Office".-Early life:Hofmann was born in Innsbruck, Tyrol. He served as a military pilot in World War I...

  • Karl-Adolf Hollidt
    Karl-Adolf Hollidt
    Karl-Adolf Hollidt was a German commander during the Second World War.-Early life:His father was a local secondary school teacher and he was educated in his hometown of Speyer...

  • Hermann Hoth
    Hermann Hoth
    Hermann "Papa" Hoth was an officer in the German military from 1903 to 1945. He attained the rank of Generaloberst during World War II. He fought in France, but is most noted for his later exploits as a panzer commander on the Eastern Front...


  • Waldemar Klingelhöfer
    Waldemar Klingelhöfer
    Waldemar Klingelhöfer ; died about 1980) was an SS-Sturmbannführer and convicted war criminal.-Early life:...

  • Alfried Krupp
  • Hans Heinrich Lammer
    Hans Lammers
    Dr.jur. Hans Heinrich Lammers was a German jurist and prominent Nazi politician. From 1933 until 1945 he served as head of the Reich Chancellery under Adolf Hitler....

  • Wilhelm List
  • Martin Sandberger
    Martin Sandberger
    Martin Sandberger was an SS Standartenführer and commander of Sonderkommando 1a of the Einsatzgruppe, as well as commander of the Sicherheitspolizei and SD in Estonia. He played an important role in the mass murder of the Jews in the Baltic states...


  • Gustav Adolf Steengracht von Moyland
    Gustav Adolf Steengracht von Moyland
    Gustav Adolf Baron Steengracht von Moyland was a German diplomat and politician of Dutch descent, who served as Nazi Germany's Secretary of State at the Foreign Office from 1943 to 1945.-Early life:...

  • Otto Steinbrinck
    Otto Steinbrinck
    Brigadier General Otto Steinbrinck was a German industrialist and an accused in the Nuremberg Flick Trial....

  • Walter Warlimont
    Walter Warlimont
    Walter Warlimont was a German officer known for his role in the OKW inner circle .-World War I:...

  • Bernhard Weiss
    Bernhard Weiss
    Bernhard Weiss was a German Protestant New Testament scholar.-Biography:Weiss was born at Königsberg. After studying theology at the University of Königsberg , Halle and Berlin, he became professor extraordinarius at Königsberg in 1852, and afterwards professor ordinarius at Berlin...

  • Erhard Milch
    Erhard Milch
    Erhard Milch was a German Field Marshal who oversaw the development of the Luftwaffe as part of the re-armament of Germany following World War I, and served as founding Director of Deutsche Luft Hansa...



Closure


With founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949 and its abolishment of the death penalty there was subsequently a number of petitions to close down War Criminal Prison No. 1. 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
Oswald Pohl
Oswald Pohl was a Nazi official and member of the SS , involved in the mass murders of Jews in concentration camps, the so-called Final Solution.-Early years:...

, Hans-Theodor Schmidt (adjutant
Adjutant
Adjutant is a military rank or appointment. In some armies, including most English-speaking ones, it is an officer who assists a more senior officer, while in other armies, especially Francophone ones, it is an NCO , normally corresponding roughly to a Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.An Adjutant...

 of Buchenwald
Buchenwald concentration camp
Buchenwald concentration camp was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937, one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil.Camp prisoners from all over Europe and Russia—Jews, non-Jewish Poles and Slovenes,...

), and Georg Schallermair (an SS sergeant at Mühldorf
Mühldorf
Mühldorf am Inn is a town in Bavaria, Germany, and the capital of the district Mühldorf on the river Inn. It is located at , and had a population of about 17,808 in 2005.-History:...

, a Dachau sub-camp). The final executions were conducted on 7 June, 1951.

In May 1958, the United States Army relinquished control of Landsberg Prison when the last four prisoners were released from custody. These were all former SS officers who had been convicted during the Einsatzgruppen Trial
Einsatzgruppen Trial
The Einsatzgruppen Trial was the ninth of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S...

s between 1947 and 1948.

Management of the facility was transferred over to the civilian Bavarian Ministry of Justice.

Modern day


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 bricklayer).

External links