In Britain every child knows the story of the escapees from Colditz during the Second World War. A number of books, films and television programmes have kept the memory is very much alive.
During the war, the Germans transferred to Colditz Castle prisoners who had already attempted to escape from other prisoner of war camps. Thus the castle came to be what was regarded as the most secure officers prison camp, where the Geneva Convention was strictly adhered to. Prominent prisoners such as Churchill's nephew served Hitler as security here and provided the castle with great significance during the war. The Germans considered that Colditz was absolutely escape proof. But the prisoners -- British, French, Polish, Belgian and Dutch officers -- turned out to be highly motivated and gifted escapees. There is a certain dry humour to the stories of these escape attempts, while the wealth of inventive and spectacular schemes is quite unparalleled. Despite the enormous security effort and the hopeless position the prisoners found themselves in, they made over 120 attempts to escape, of which 31 ended in “home runs”: successful escapes during which the prisoners succeeded in making their way back to their own countries.
Dr. Katja Wildermuth MDR, Peter Gottschalk arte