Channel Islander Imprisoned in Leipzig-Kleinmeusdorf Women’s Prison:
By Roderick Miller
Evelina Garland is the only Channel Islander known to have been incarcerated in Leipzig-Kleinmeusdorf Women’s Prison (Frauenstrafgefängnis Leipzig-Kleinmeusdorf). The prison was located in the Meusdorf sub-district in the Leipzig, Saxony suburb of Dösen, south of the city centre. The building was constructed in 1913 and is marked on a map from 1920 as a Heilerziehungsheim or “hospital reform school”. By 1940, the building is marked on maps as Gefangenenanstalt Kleinmeusdorf or Kleinmeusdorf Penal Institution. The 1943 Leipzig address book lists the building to the north of Leipzig Women’s Prison as a Landesanstalt or state institution. Like all prison institutions in the Third Reich, Leipzig Prison was used by the Regime to incarcerate political opponents as well as people sentenced for standard criminal violations. A member of the Austrian anti-Nazi resistance group Gegen den Strom (“Against the Current”) named Maria Fischer survived incarceration in Leipzig-Kleinmeusdorf Women’s Prison.
Evelina Garland arrived in Leipzig on 6 January 1945 after her imprisonment in Kirschau-Bautzen Forced Labour Camp. She had lost the use of her right arm by that point and had spent eight weeks in hospital in Bautzen. In her 1965 compensation testimony, she wrote:
Finally I ended up in Leipzig in a big prison with all nationalities where the Americans finally released me. I had to wait about three weeks before I could get transport back to France and another 3 or 4 weeks before getting back to England.
Leipzig-Kleinmeusdorf Women’s Prison was liberated by US Army troops on 18 April 1945 and the prison was requested to release its political prisoners on the very next day. It is unknown if Nazi prison officials Joachim Zoller and Otto Zwanziger were ever prosecuted for any abuses that may have occurred in the facility. The building continued to be used as a prison in the communist GDR until at least the mid-1950s and the two buildings became notorious for housing political prisoners of the communist regime who had suffered mental breakdowns or attempted suicide. In 1994, construction began on the modern penitentiary (Justizvollzugsanstalt Leipzig), which eventually incorporated the former building of the Leipzig-Kleinmeusdorf Women’s Prison within its walls.
Carr, Gilly; Sanders, Paul; Willmot Louise: Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands: German Occupation, 1940-1945, Bloomsbury Academic, London & New York, 2014.
Adreßbuch der Reichsmessestadt Leipzig (Leipzig Address Book), Verlag August Scherl, Leipzig, 1943, via http://digital.slub-dresden.de/
Korotin, Ilse (publisher): biografiA: Lexikon österreichischer Frauen, vol 1 A-H, Böhlau Verlag, Vienna, Cologne, Weimar, 2016. Online as PDF (in German): Link
Maps of Leipzig in 1930 and 1940. Link
Sächsisches Staatsarchiv (Saxony State Archive), 20034 (Leipzig-Kleinmeusdorf Prison), signature 195 (Garland).
The National Archives (TNA), Foreign Office (FO):
TNA FO 950/1162 (Garland)