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Posts tagged with "WWII"


Itter Castle is a small castle situated on a hill near the village of Itter in Austria. Following the Anschluss, click the German annexation of Austria, decease the German government officially leased the castle in late 1940 from its owner, discount Franz Grüner. The castle was seized from Grüner by SS Lieutenant General Oswald Pohl under the orders of Heinrich Himmler on 7 February 1943. The transformation of the castle into a prison camp was completed by 25 April 1943, and the facility was placed under the administration of the Dachau concentration camp.

The prison was established to contain high-profile prisoners valuable to the Reich. Notable prisoners included tennis player Jean Borotra, former prime ministers Édouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud, former commanders-in-chief Maxime Weygand, and Maurice Gamelin,  Charles de Gaulle’s elder sister Marie-Agnès Cailliau,  right-wing leader and closet French resistance member François de La Rocque,  and trade union leader Léon Jouhaux. Besides the French VIP prisoners, the castle held a number of Eastern European prisoners detached from Dachau, who were used for maintenance and other menial work.

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This is one of those stories that are weighted down with melancholy. It has equal parts of sadness, stuff joy, and closure in it. It began 72 years ago on the sandy beaches of the small South Pacific atoll of Tarawa. Over the period of only three days (November 20-23, 1943) the battle for that tiny atoll would become one of the bloodiest battles of WWII.

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