Torgau Prison


In two large prisons (fort Zinna and Brückenkopf) in Torgau, about 100 kilometres south of Berlin, the German Wehrmacht had its prison between 1936 and 1945. Those imprisoned in Torgau had previously been sentenced in military courts around Germany for desertion and refusal of orders. Torgau was expanded during the war when the number of German soldiers who violated the military laws rose as the war went worse for Germany. In 1943, the Reichskriegsgericht, the highest court of military law, moved its headquarters to Torgau. In total, the German military courts sentenced about 1,000,000 German soldiers, of which about 20,000 were sentenced to death. Some of these were executed at one of two special shooting locations in Torgau. There are almost 200 archebuserings documented, but the number is probably larger. Between 1945 and 1948, the Soviet security police NKVD established a prison in fort Zinna. Between 1950 and 1990, the fort was a German prison.

Current status: Partly preserved/demolished with monument (2011).

Address: Am Fort Zinna, 04860 Torgau.

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The prison (Justizvollzugsanstalt Torgau) is still in use and therefore could not be visited when I was there. The monument is located right at one of the entrances to the prison. During the last months of the war, the number of summary rights against suspected deserters or others who were (arbitrary) considered not to do their patriotic duty also increased. These never reached the military courts but were executed on the spot.

Follow up in books: Müller, Ingo: Hitler’s Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich (1992).