Did you know Germany wasn’t always “Germany”?
No, it was once a bunch of different kingdoms (yuck, how sexist — there weren’t any Queendoms) that had to begin and end somewhere. And in relation to the town of Gröditz that’s where the Kingdom of Saxony began, and Prussia ended.
One way to tell that I’m right about this geographical (and political) border is the old Saxon/Prussian border marker. How else where you going to tell? ;-)
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There is one piece of history that casts a dark cloud over Gröditz. There was a subcamp of the Flossenburg Concentration Camp here; forcing thousands of slave laborers to work in the Lauchhammer Steel Works.
They are not forgotten.
Along Wainsdorf Straße is a cemetery where some of these unknown laborers were buried, and in town at the Zentraler Denkmalsplatz is a War Memorial. A memorial to the Soviet Army (this was once part of the GDR) is also found in town.
Gröditz did have one ray of hope in the dark, gloomy days World War II and a divided Germany. His name was Siegfried Richter.
Herr Richter was born here in 1922, going on to become exceptionally successful in the furniture business using his money to create jobs and cleaning up the town. One business venture to create jobs was the building of the Hotel Spanischer Hof, a hotel that’s got a whole Spanish theme — offering “Don Quixote” specials and 14th century Spanish armour.
Because of Mr. Richter’s efforts to clean up and improve economic status of his hometown, he was awarded the Order of Merit (in 1997) by the German government.
And while there aren’t many (any, actually) medieval churches in town, I would try to at least see the town’s Evangelical Church (built 1891) while you’re here.
Hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to arrange your visit during its Spring Celebration, Autumn Festival, or Wine Festival. If not, then shopping around the weekly market (on Mondays) just might have to do.
I’m not sure if all these took place when Gröditz was part of the Kingdom of Saxony, but I do know that they’re pretty happenin’ now that it’s part of Germany.