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The prison gatehouse
Hohenasperg, located in the federal state of Baden-Württembergmarker near Stuttgartmarker, Germanymarker, of which it is administratively part, is an ancient fortress and prison overlooking the town of Aspergmarker. It was an active fortification between 1535 and 1593.


Hohenasperg is located on a 90 meter high Late Triassic mountain. The mountain is located in a hilly area, but because of its steep overhangs and wide plateau, it is visible from a long distance and offers an ideal location for a fortification.


View of Asperg from Hohenasperg
Hohenasperg, View from Kleinaspergle
Fortress Hohenasperg
In the years before Christ, ca. 500BC, the Hohenasperg was a Celtic principality with a refuge. Numerous celtic graveyards in the surrounding area are aligned so as to offer a line of sight to the Hohenasperg, e.g. the large Hochdorf Chieftain's Gravemarker or the Gravesite on the Katharinenlinde by Schwieberdingenmarker. The Kleinaspergle, which has been well-known since an excavation in 1839, is a burial mound lying 1000 meters south of Hohenasperg, which offers an exceptionally good view of the Hohenasperg.

Around 500BC, after the victory of the Franks over the Alamanni, Hohenasperg became the seat of the Frankish Lord and the Frankish Thing, the legislative assembly. At this time Hohenasperg was called "Ascicberg."

The first time Asperg was referred to was in the year 819, as the Shire Gozberg gave over his local ownership to the Kloster Weißenburg in Elsass. The location however achieved more importance in the 13th century with the founding of the independent city Hohenasperg, which lasted until 1909. Hohenasperg was officially chartered in 1510. In 1519, forces of the Swabian League under George von Frundsberg laid siege to Hohenasperg where Duke Ulrich of Württemberg was holding himself.

On May 12, 1525 the leader of the countrymen, Jäcklein Rohrbach, was taken prisoner by the governor of Asperg. He was held there until the surrender of the Steward of Waldburg-Zeilmarker. After 1535 the mountain was reinforced and expanded and turned into a fortress. The residents were resettled at the foot of the mountain.

Between 1634 and 1635, during the Thirty Years War, the Castle was defended against imperial troops by a garrison of Protestants from Württemberg, strengthened by Swedishmarker forces. The siege ended finally with the surrender to the imperial troops, who occupied the fortress until 1649.

After the Thirty Years War, the fortress was returned to the rule of Württemberg. In 1688 and 1693, the fortress was occupied by French troops, afterwords it lost its importance as a defensive fortress and became a garrison and a state prison. in 1718 Asperg was integrated into the district Ludwigsburgmarker, but 17 years later became its own district. In 1781, Asperg was permanently incorporated into the district of Ludwigsburg.


The use of the fortress as a prison is responsible for the fact that Hohenasperg is jokingly called "Württemberg's highest mountain" as they say "it takes only five minutes to come to the top, but years to come back down again."

During the Old Empire

In 1737, Joseph Süß Oppenheimer, a Jew and the financial adviser to the Duke of Württemberg, was arrested and, in a dubious political trial, was sentenced to death. The poet C. F. D. Schubart was held prisoner there between 1777 and 1787. Schubart's fate became the subject of Friedrich Schiller's Drama "The Robber." Schiller himself had escaped the confinement of the Hohenasperg by fleeing to Mannheimmarker in the neighboring Electoral Palatinate.

In the 19th Century

During the rule of King Frederick of Württemberg, deserters, military prisoners, and separatists from the Radical Pietist group from Rottenackermarker were kept in Fort Hohenasperg. When his son, king Wilhelm I became ruler in 1817, Corporal Punishment, such as running the gauntlet, was abolished.

Further inmates in Fort Hohenasperg included the writer Berthold Auerbach, who was kept here between 1837 and 1838, Friedrich Kammerer (1833), the Doctor and Poet Theobald Kerner (1850-1851), the theologian Karl Hase, the Satirist Johannes Nefflen, the Poet Leo von Seckendorff, the Writer Theodor Griesinger and many more, most political dissidents, who, in general were held prisoner because of their anti monarchistic views.

In 1887 and 1888 a water tower [183397] , [183398], was constructed, which also holds police radio antennas.

Since 1894, a prison for the civil penal system has been located on Mount Hohenasperg. In the meantime the central hospital for the Baden-Württemberg penal system was placed on the Hohenasperg.

Early Years of the Nazi Times

During spring and summer of 1933, numerous members of the Hitlers opposition, the Social Democrats and Communists, were imprisoned on Hohenasperg. Included in the prisoners was the Governor of Württemberg, Eugen Bolz, who was murdered during the Aktion Gitter in Berlin in 1945. At least 101 prisoners died in Hohenasperg in the hard penal system, and 20 of their names have been identified by the Ludwigsburgmarker VVN, an antifascist organization. These names are remembered with a plaque at the Prisoner's Graveyard .

Transit Camp for Deportation to Concentration Camps (1940 - 1943)

Deportation of Sinti families from southwest Germany.
Foto from 22.
May 1940 Hohenasperg
Sinti families were escorted by foot through the village under police surveillance.
In May 1940, the prison was used as a way station for families during the first centrally planned deportation of Sinti and Roma out of southwest Germany, west of the Rhine River (Mainzmarker, Ingelheimmarker, Wormsmarker). The deportation was carried out with a special train, families were escorted through the village by foot, with police surveillance. In the Prison, examinations were conducted by the Ritter Research Institute, which decided the fate of the inmates. The institute was named for the "Scientific Racist," Robert Ritter. Further deportations were sent to the General Government, the area of Germany-occupied Poland. Nongypsies were sent back.Zumindest bis zu Anfang 19. At least until the beginning of 1943, the prison was used as a way station for Sinti families who were being sent to concentration camps. Later deportations lead to the Gypsy Family Camp, the Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenaumarker, where prisoners were murdered.

Present Day

The prison later became a civil prison for the detention of non-political prisoners and now also houses the central hospital of the prison service in Baden-Württemberg. In this capacity it held Peter Graf, father of the tennis-player Steffi Graf, in 1995. The serial killer Heinrich Pommerenke, died in Hohenasperg in the central hospital on December 27 2008.

External links

Patrick Nowak & Daniel Behrmann: Asberg - Auschwitz. Der NS-Völkermord an den Sinti und Roma am Beispiel der Pfalz. - Auschwitz.pdf


  • M. Biffart: Geschichte der württembergischen Feste Hohenasperg und ihrer merkwürdigen Gefangenen. Stuttgart, 1858
  • Theodor Bolay: Der Hohenasperg - Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Bietigheim, 1972
  • Horst Brandstätter: Asperg - Ein deutsches Gefängnis, Berlin: Wagenbachs Taschenbücherei 1978. ISBN 3-8031-2045-4
  • Erwin Haas: Die sieben württembergischen Landesfestungen Hohenasperg, Hohenneufen, Hohentübingen, Hohenurach, Hohentwiel, Kirchheim/Teck, Schorndorf. Reutlingen, 1996
  • Paul Sauer: Der Hohenasperg - Fürstensitz, Höhenburg, Bollwerk der Landesverteidigung. Leinfelden-Echterdingen, 2004. ISBN 3-87181-009-6
  • Theodor Schön: Die Staatsgefangenen auf Hohenasperg. Stuttgart, 1899


  1. Gedenkstätten für die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus. Eine Dokumentation, Bd.I, Bonn 1995, S. 20f., ISBN 3-89331-208-0
  2. Arbeitslisten der "Forschungsstelle Ritter" (Bundesarchiv Bestand R 165/38), Deportationslisten und Schriftwechsel der Polizei in Mainz.
  3. Reutlingen 1930 - 1950; Nationalsozialismus und Nachkriegszeit". hrsg 1995 v.der Stadt Reutlingen, Schul-, Kultur- und Sportamt mit dem Reutlinger Stadtarchiv ISBN 3-927228-61-3 S. 159-160.
  • Schön, 1899. Die Staatsgefangenen von Hohenasperg. Stuttgart.
  • Biffart, 1858. Geschichte der Württembergischen Feste Hohenasperg. Stuttgart.

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