After housing a psychiatric hospital for over a century, the Nazi regime transformed the castle into a prison camp for Allied officers (Oflag) during the Second World War, becoming Oflag IV-C.
It was a fortress from which escape was supposedly impossible, since security was provided by guards outnumbering the prisoners themselves.
Despite this, thirty-four officers (thirteen French, ten British, seven Dutch, two Belgians, one Pole, one Canadian and one Indian) managed to escape from Colditz.
The first prisoners interned at Colditz were 140 Polish officers from October 1940.
By the end of 1940, sixty Poles, twelve Belgians, fifty French and thirty British, all officers, were interned there.
In February 1941, two hundred French officers were brought in, later joined by sixty-eight Dutch officers on July 24, 1941.
By the end of July 1941, there were two hundred and fifty French officers, one hundred and fifty Poles, fifty British or Commonwealth officers, sixty-eight Dutch officers and two Yugoslav officers.
In May 1943, the Wehrmacht High Command decided to reserve Colditz primarily for British prisoners.
French, Polish and Dutch officers were transferred to other camps, and by the end of July 1943, only a handful of French officers remained for 288 British and Commonwealth officers.
On August 23, 1944, the first American prisoner arrived at Colditz, joined on January 19, 1945 by six French generals.
In March 1945, 1,200 French prisoners were interned at Colditz. On April 16, 1945, the castle was liberated by American troops.Source Wikipedia.