The Austrian castle where Nazis lost to German-US force

Seventy years ago one of the most unlikely battles of World War Two took place, at Itter in the Austrian Alps. In early May 1945, American and German soldiers fought together against the Nazi SS to free prominent French prisoners of war. It is believed to be the only battle in the war in which Americans and Germans fought as allies. Hans Fuchs remembers how Itter Castle was converted into a prison by the Nazis in 1943. “We saw everything from our school window,” he said, “a double barbed-wire fence… and floodlights so that the whole night was lit up like day.” Schloss Itter, which dates back to the Middle Ages, was a sub-unit of the Dachau concentration camp. It was used for VIP prisoners, prominent politicians and military figures that the Nazis wanted to use as bargaining chips. They included two former prime ministers of France, Edouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud, as well as the elder sister of Gen Charles de Gaulle, Marie-Agnes Cailliau.

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