The Germans thought escape was impossible. These men proved them wrong.
Colditz Castle, located near Leipzig Germany, was the last stop for select Allied prisoners during World War II. It was here, a reportedly impregnable fortress, that the Germans sent all the prisoners who escaped from other prisons. Once within the walls, the Germans reasoned, escaping was impossible. Yet during the four-year period when the castle was used as a prison, over three hundred men escaped, thirty-one through Nazi Germany.
Prisoners from ten different Allied countries worked together to form a truly international escape academy. They created skeleton keys, forged German passes, drafted maps, and constructed all types of tools and machinery out of whatever they could find. The ingenuity of the prisoners knew no bounds: they tried everything from tunneling underneath the castle's walls to hiding in the garbage to disguising themselves as German officers. They even built a glider, which they never used. Resourcefulness and hard work won a few of them their freedom.
Author and former British Army officer, P.R. Reid, was one of the men who escaped from Colditz and made it home to tell the story. This paperback edition, introduced into the Zenith Military Classic series, introduces this thrilling WWII story to a new generation of readers. Four appendices at the end of book provide a full listing of prisoners and staff, all of the attempted escapes, the secret code used to communicate between prisoners and the outside world, and more.
"[T]his book is highly recommended reading."
--The New York Times
Supposedly escape-proof, Germany's Colditz Castle turned out to be notoriously porous. Halfway through WW II, Allied prisoners already had launched 44 escape attempts, with 16 "home runs'' from the castle. Reid here expands his war classic, The Colditz Story, with interviews and diaries (including a particularly revealng one kept by the German security officer there). The preparations of escape committees are described along with accounts of the more dare-devil escapes. The high spirits and resourcefulness of the men throughout their incarceration are astounding. Reid relates in hilarious detail how the prisoners never missed an opportunity to bait their captors (at one point a British officer convincingly impersonated Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria). The final scene is most affecting: the reception accorded Pfc. Alan M. Murphy of New York, the first Allied soldier to enter Colditz on the day of liberation. Photos.