Postcards from my past / 5 Colditz

As a young teenager, I was an avid watcher of the 1970s TV series Colditz (I can still hear that theme tune….), and I always wanted to go and see the place for myself. A trip to Eastern Germany in 1993 saw me hatching plans….

Colditz castle seen across the river Mulde, 1993

The castle had been an asylum for many years since the war, and was falling into disrepair. We were able to visit, but much of the place including one of the tunnels I was keen to see was out of bounds. It still looked rather a forbidding place:

Castle outer courtyard

Entrance to chapel

We did visit again when we were on a classic car tour in 2001, and were now able to get to a few more places, but not including the attic. Now all the asylum inmates were gone, but the place was full of insulating material…. I have since found out that the castle underwent renovation during 2006 and 2007, has been spruced up no end and you can now join guided tours of some of the tunnels! Ah well….

It seems there is a lot more to be seen now, and there is information on the Internet


  1. Oh Colditz – a little town near of us 🙂

  2. I also visited there, Sue. It was much earlier though, in the DDR days. They didn’t admit visitors, as it was still being used as a ‘hospital’. You photos are a lot better than my old prints, I’m sure.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. You’ve given us a kind of triple past here – the past of the TV series; the past of your first visit and the past of your second visit. A theme’s emerging in these postcards – always somewhere you can’t go! The second photo is the epitome of bleakness and the third one is a rather splendid door.

    • Sue

      I like your observations, Meg….and of course there is always somewhere you can’t go…. A recurring theme! And, yes, that second image is bleakness and despair….

  4. Nice shots of it. I too watched the original series and was gripped by it. 🙂

  5. This fascinated me. When I was a student nurse, I spent 12 weeks working in a California State psych hospital that housed 5000 patients. It was a bizarre asylum-like experience This was in the early 60’s. Now mental health care as been decentralized. As I see it, one of the results of that is so many homeless who are unable to function in society. Many of those 5000 needed that structure to exist in and were given opportunities to do simple work. On the other hand, those who were really psychotic were treated with some weird modalities such as shock therapy.

  6. Your second shot looked like a still from that old TV series (which I watched avidly as a teenager!)

  7. You have a very motley past, Sue. In a good way 🙂 🙂 That first image looks so grand and proud but the next one gives me the shivers.

  8. a wonderful, enchanted place, Sue.

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