Channel Islander Imprisoned in Limburg Prison:
By Roderick Miller
The only Channel Islander who was known to have been imprisoned in the town of Limburg an der Lahn in the German state of Hesse is Sidney Ashcroft. The sole surviving evidence of Ashcroft’s imprisonment there — he did not survive the war to leave a testimonial — is a post-war document made by the prison administration indicating that he was in Limburg from 15 to 20 February 1945, just five days.
Limburg Prison (Strafanstalt Limburg, Untersuchungsgefängnis Limburg, Justizvollzugsanstalt Limburg a. d. Lahn) was built in 1883 in a ‘T’ formation and the building is three stories tall. It is on the same block as the Hessian State Court building. Like all of the prisons in Germany in the Third Reich, Limburg Prison was used to incarcerate criminal convicts and political prisoners. A number of Social Democrat politicians were incarcerated in Limburg after the Nazis came into power in 1933, and people were imprisoned there for a variety of crimes, included so-called ‘race defilement’, which made it a crime in the Third Reich for non-Jewish people to have sexual relationships with Jewish people. During the anti-Jewish Pogrom on 9-11 November 1938, all male adults of Jewish descent were arrested and many of them transported to Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps. It may be safely presumed that many of them were likely initially imprisoned in Limburg Prison before being transported to the camps.
Limburg was heavily bombed by the allies during the war, with 2,364 air raid alarms and 11 direct bombing attacks, several which completely destroyed the city’s rail centre. The city was liberated by US troops in late March 1945. Throughout the 1960s to 1980s, Limburg Prison was expanded with new buildings and other renovations. As the smallest penal institution in the state of Hesse, Limburg Prison was incorporated into the management system of Diez Prison in 2013. An otherwise very thorough documentation of Limburg in the Nazi era published by the Limburg City Archives in 1992 makes no mention whatsoever of Limburg Prison. As of date (2017) there is no memorial at Limburg Prison to the people who suffered injustice there during the Third Reich.
Sidney Ashcroft left Limburg Prison on 20 February 1945. He died in Nazi custody on 15 May 1945 in Straubing Prison.
Carr, Gilly; Sanders, Paul; Willmot Louise: Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands: German Occupation, 1940-1945, Bloomsbury Academic, London & New York, 2014.
Maibach, Heinz (editor): Dokumente zur Limburger Stadt- und Kreisgeschichte 1870 – 1945, Kreisstadt Limburg a. d. Lahn, Der Magistrat, Limburg, 1992 (in German).
The Wiener Library, London: Limburg Court Record dated 12 March 1949, document 11549893; letter from the Children’s Committee in Amsterdam regarding the November 1938 Pogrom in Limburg, document EWA.B.0257
Wikipedia (in German). Link.