Photographer's Note

1. HISTORY IN BRIEF (OWNERS ETC.): The Czocha castle has a very long and interesting history. The first fortress on the place was built between 1241 and 1247 by the order of Waclaw II, king of Czech. The fortress' main purpose was to guard the region against... Poles.

The castle changed owners many times. It is known that one of the first owners was Christian von Nostitz and in 1700 it was overtaken by Johann Hartwig August von Uechtriz and it remained in the hands of von Uechtriz family by the first years of XX century. In 1909 it was bought by German tobacco businessman Ernest Gutschoff of Dresden (it is said he was a relative to the famous Rockefeler family), who gathered big library and art collection in Czocha, most of which has remined in the castle until the end of World War II.

In 1640 sixty Swedish dragons tried to overtake the castle but they failed, though. The castle many times played the role of a shelter for the local peasants who were robbed and killed by passing armies.

The arch bridge leading to the main entrance used to be wooden. It was made of stone after a deadly accident: the wooden bridge fell down killing many people, several children among them. It was when in 1719 the funeral conduct gathered to bury Henry, son-in-law of the Johann Hartwig August von Uechtriz.

Ernest Gutschoff used his money to buy valuable art collections and books. Among them was the very rare "Vier Bucher von Menschlicher Proportion" by Durer published in 1528 in Nurnberg. Also, original Russian Tzar table dishes, paintings (several hunderd icons) and sculptures were present there.

III. WORLD WAR II EPISODES: During the war the castle was visited by Werner von Brown - father of Germen rocket weapons (V-1 and V-2) and after the war the main constructor of the famous Saturn-5 rocket that took Americans to the Moon.

The castle housed Gema Werke - a plant in which Germans worked on many secret weapon projects. For example, locals testified that Gema Werke mashinery produced very high electromagnetic fields - passing cars (even diesels!) stopped and could not go any further on the distance of some 300 m. It happened only at times, though. This is why it is believed that Czocha was one of the places where Germans worked on Uranium warfare.

A third of the art/book collection garhered by Gutschoff was robbed by the mayor of Lesna town, Gutschoff's librarian and local Police chief, when the front was near. The second third was deterred by Polish authoprities. The fate of the last third of the collection is unknown.

The above facts have been gathered by Joanna Lamparska in one of her books: "Mysterious Castles and Cellars", which is an 'alternative' guide to the Lower Silesia region. A must-have for anyone going there to truly understand what it is he/she is visiting.

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Additional Photos by Tomasz Marcinek (tomaszmarcinek) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 171 W: 1 N: 138] (1507)
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