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"Germany’s ‘Escape-Proof’ Castle POW Camp..." Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian23 Sep 2021 3:59 a.m. PST

…Actually Had the Worst Record for Escapes!

Military: link

Nine pound round23 Sep 2021 4:12 a.m. PST

Fascinating place, and well worth the visit. Since it was behind the Curtain, near Leipzig, it was off limits for decades, but I visited it when I was in the area in 2015. There is a comic side to the escape plots and plans, and the guides make the most of it, but they also do an interesting job of giving the German perspective. Colditz held a lot of people who had already tried to escape, and they were guarded for the most part by elderly reserve officers and NCOs leading the men with the thickest glasses and the flattest feet in Germany. The place also held a number of captives the Germans considered prominent (e.g., the second Earl Haig), and Hitler had warned the commandant that their escape meant a death sentence for him.

Cannot have been a fun job.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP23 Sep 2021 9:58 a.m. PST

And a passable game:

Cerdic23 Sep 2021 10:31 a.m. PST

…not to mention a film in the 1950s(?) and a TV series in the 1970s.

Turns out it's a really bad idea to put all your most determined escapers together in one place.

They even built a glider in an attic that the Germans knew nothing about until the war ended!

Nine pound round23 Sep 2021 12:11 p.m. PST

It's one of those neat places to visit that isn't yet hyper-cordoned. You can walk around and through a lot of the spots where escape was attempted, and see it for yourself.

They have a real sense of humor- they tell the story of the color-blind Airey Neave attempting to disguise himself as a German corporal so he could simply walk out- only to be greeted with hysterical laughter by his captors. Supposedly, the German commandant told his staff the next morning, "Corporal Neave has been sent to the Eastern Front." When Neave did get away, he sent the Commandant a postcard from Switzerland saying, "I hope you aren't sent to the Eastern Front on my account." He wrote a couple of entertaining books about it all.

There came a point, after the "great escape," when the Germans told them that "escaping won't be treated as a game anymore," and that put a crimp on things. The stories the place generated prior to that are like something out of Hogan's Heroes.

twicethecaffeine24 Sep 2021 3:58 a.m. PST

"When Neave did get away, he sent the Commandant a postcard from Switzerland saying, "I hope you aren't sent to the Eastern Front on my account." He wrote a couple of entertaining books about it all"

….only to be murdered by the INLA in 1979

Heedless Horseman24 Sep 2021 5:12 a.m. PST

In my childhood, with TV, Game and several books… some from German perspective, Colditz was part of life for boys.

Yes, much humour… but also some sad tales.
The officer who decided to break and climb wire in full view of guards and was killled. Or another who feigned madness to get home but created the problem in himself.

Overall, though, a tribute to fortitude and ingenuity of the several Nations represented there.

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