Lichtenburg Castle, Prettin
Lichtenburg Castle is a Renaissance building in Prettin dating back to the 16th century. It stands on the site of a former monastery that was transformed into a widow’s seat for the Electresses of Saxony.
House Lichtenberg was the name of an important seat of the Antonites in the electoral district near Prettin. Wolfgang Reissenbusch, last preceptor of the Antonites, often visited Luther’s house. When the last remaining Antonite monks turned to the Reformation in 1525, the monastery was dissolved. Individual monks received an annuity. It was in the Antonite House Lichtenberg that Martin Luther first met with the Chancellor of Saxony, Georg Spalatin, in 1518, who assured him of the support of the Saxon Elector Frederick the Wise for his church reforms.
The Antonite monastery of Lichtenberg was first mentioned in 1315. After its dissolution, the Brandenburg Electress Elisabeth, who had fled her catholic husband, inhabited the former monastery from 1536 to 1546.
Later, August I of Saxony had the monastery buildings demolished to construct a Renaissance castle, the “Lichtenburg,” at the request of his wife Anna. Its most famous inhabitant was the Saxon Electress Hedwig, widow of Elector Christian II, who lived here from 1611 to 1641. Other residents included Electress Anna (1532-1585), builder of the Renaissance castle church St. Anna (1581), the widowed Electress Anna Sophie (1647-1717) and her sister Wilhelmine Ernestine of the Palatinate (1650-1706).
The Lichtenburg became an Electoral Saxon prison in 1812 (until then, that prison was in Torgau). Later, the building became a Prussian penal institution, serving as a penitentiary for male prisoners in the province of Saxony, from the introduction of the Prussian penal code in 1851 until 1928. The National Socialists established a concentration camp in the Lichtenburg (men were imprisoned here from 1933 to 1937, women from 1937 to 1939).
Today, the Lichtenburg is the local history museum of the city of Prettin and, since January 1, 2007, also part of the Saxony-Anhalt Memorials Foundation (Stiftung Gedenkstätten Sachsen-Anhalt).