Landsberg in the spotlight of history

Landsberg’s contemporary history is much more than just the history of a German town1. In a fateful way, Landsberg is the focal point for decisive chapters of 20th-century history, including stages of the rise and fall of the Third Reich2 and the historical reappraisal of everything the Nazi regime left behind.

During his imprisonment3 in Landsberg in 1923/1924, Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf4, his autobiographical political-ideological manifesto of racial fanaticism and German supremacy.

From 1933 to the end of WWII, Landsberg presented itself as the “City of Hitler“. The former Hitler jail cell became a National Socialist place of pilgrimage. In 1937, the city was officially declared „City of the Youth“. Following the Nuremburg [Youth] Rallies in 1937 and 1938, delegations of the Hitler Youth marched from Nuremberg to Landsberg for the closing rally of the „March of Commitment of German Youth”.

Not far from where Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, his criminally perverted theories became a horrible reality. In eleven concentration camps that formed the Kaufering5 concentration camp complex, the Nazis systematically exploited the labor of 23,000 mainly Jewish inmates. The concentration camp prisoners themselves called the camps „cold crematoria“. As the end of the war approached, 6500 concentration camp prisoners were hastily buried in mass graves around Kaufering and Landsberg.

In the prison in Landsberg, many of the war criminals arrested in the American zone were punished for their actions. This same prison where Hitler formulated his National Socialist ideology was designated as War Criminal Prison No. 1 by the United States Army’s Military Police (MPs). Between the end of the war and 7 June 1951, 248 war criminals, including Oswald Pohl, Otto Ohlendorf and Paul Blobl, were executed here.

Additionally, in 1945 one of the largest American DP (displaced persons) camps6 was established in Landsberg.