Feel free to leave your comments
below. If you want to add your knowledge, additional
information or experience in a particular place your input
is more than welcome.
Itter Castle (Schloss Itter)
Itter Castle is a medieval castle situated 20 km
west of Kitzbühel, Tyrol region of Austria. In a strange twist of
history Itter Castle became a site where German Wehrmacht fought
shoulder to shoulder with the American GIs.
Itter Castle was first mentioned in the official documents that date
back to 1240. However original fortress date back to the 10th
century to guard an entrance to Brixental Valley. At the time it was
a small central tower to keep an eye on the surrounding lands rather
than prevent a massive invasion.
Itter Castle sits on top of the strategic mountain at an elevation
of 666 metres (2,185 feet) above the sea level overlooking the
Brixental Valley. It belonged to the bishops of Salzburg between
1312 and 1816 when it became part of Tyrol province of the Austrian
Empire (later Austro- Hungarian Empire). Itter Castle was baught in
1884 by Sophie Menter, pianist, composer and student of famous
composer Franz Liszt. Another famous Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich
Tschaikovsky visited Itter Castle and ever personally orchestrated
some of his compositions in 1892.
Itter Castle in the World War II
Itter Castle was used by the government of Nazi
Germany as a prison for French political inmates as a subcamp of
Dachau concentration camp. This included former Prime Ministers of
France Edouard Daladier, Paul Reynaud, Generals Maurice Gamelin,
Maxime Weygand, Colonel de La Rozque Andre Francois- Poncet, tennis
champion Jean Borotra and many others.
Prisoners of Itter Castle was liberated by the
American 103rd Infantry Division under leadership of General Anthony
McAuliffe on May 5th, 1945. Immediately Allies took defence of the
medieval citadel. Adolf Hitler committed suicide several days
earlier, but German troops of 17th Waffen SS Panzer Grenadier
Division refused to give up their arms. However several German
soldiers of the Wehrmacht (German Army) refused to stay
by Nazi ideology in the last day. They joined 142nd Infantry
Regiment and 12th Armoured Division in a military engagement that
became known as the Battle for Castle Itter. German Major Joseph "Sepp"
Gangl who was in charge of the German soldiers was killed by a SS
sniper at the conclusion of brief and unusual battle.
Itter Castle Today
After the War Itter Castle was largely abandoned and
fell in disrepair. In 1950 it was acquired by Willi Woldrich who
turned it into a luxury hotel. The hotel project went bankrupt so it
was sold in 1985. It's been in private ownership since then so
unfortunately it is closed to the public. Today it is owned by
attorney Dr. Ernst Bosin.