Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle

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Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle

Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle

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Karl Höffkes German film archive Newsreel from a private archive: Two minutes of film of the castle and prisoners during World War II starts at timestamp 10:14:37

Ben MaCintyre can be relied upon to write well-researched and very entertaining books about little known aspects of either the Second World War or spies or both. This book is unusual in that his subject is Colditz, something that already feels familiar from films and countless books by the original inmates. However, in this book, he gives us a much more detailed history which covers far more than just the many attempts to escape from the fortress. Capt Charles Upham VC and bar, 20th Battalion, the only fighting soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice.The somewhat Monty Python-like atmosphere of Colditz Castle – with its prisoners and eccentric escape artists – clashes with the reality of nearby concentration camps, where the extermination of Jews, Sinti-Roma peoples, Slavs, disabled people, political dissidents and religious minorities was carried out through labor and starvation. “Nobody talked about this in Colditz. The German guards said it was an SS thing; the contrast between both kinds of camps was abysmal. It forces us to relativize the history of the castle and its prisoners.” What an amazing day, we arrived at the castle without prior booking for a full tour not realising he we should have, Alex was amazing as a tour guide putting everyone at ease, he really was a fountain of knowledge, also making sure we weren’t rushed, he answered every question asked of him making the tour all the more memorable Thank you Alex The camp's first British prisoners were the Laufen Six on November 7, 1940, who were transferred to Colditz after their first escape attempt from the Laufen Camp. At the top were the Prominente, prisoners whom the Germans thought were supremely important, such as Churchill’s nephew Giles Romilly, members of the aristocracy, and cousins of the royal family. They were kept under special guard and ate and socialised separately from everyone else. But why were the Germans keeping such men? For some sort of barter after the war? To parade in Berlin on final victory? It was a mystery that remained right until the end.

During 1999, a full-sized replica of the glider was commissioned by Channel 4 Television in the UK and was built by Southdown Aviation Ltd. at Lasham Airfield, closely following Goldfinch's drawings. Watched by several of the former prisoners of war who worked on the original, it was test flown at RAF Odiham during 2000. The escape plan could have worked. [4] In 2012, Channel 4 commissioned a team of engineers and carpenters to build another full-sized replica of the glider at Colditz Castle, and launch it (unmanned) from the same roof as had been planned for the original. The radio-controlled replica made it safely across the river and landed in a meadow 180 metres below. [5] [6] Much of the drama in MacIntyre’s account centers on the almost continuous succession of attempted escapes, many of which were extremely elaborate and required months of preparation. One British officer tried eight times, but many others were almost equally persistent. Few were successful. Although there are reports of 174 who made their way outside the castle’s walls, only thirty-two of them reached home. Colditz was 400 kilometers from Switzerland, and the route led through vast expanses of heavily policed Nazi territory. World War II prisoner-of-war escapes are a staple of adventure fiction. IMDB lists twenty-one films on the theme, most prominently the 1963 production The Great Escape, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough. In reality, however, successful escapes were rare. Britain’s Imperial War Museum notes that “Of the 170,000 British and Commonwealth prisoners of war in Germany in the Second World War, fewer than 1,200 of them managed to escape successfully and make a ‘home run.'” But the numbers fall far short of conveying the sheer drama in the German camps. And perhaps the most colorful examples have emerged from Colditz, the Nazi camp for Allied officers in Germany’s east from 1939 to 1945. Author Ben MacIntyre brings the drama into high relief in Prisoners of the Castle, a nonfiction rendering of life in the most famous of the nearly one hundred WWII Nazi POW camps. We did the extended tour with Steffi and she was a great tour guide. Very knowledgeable with a lot of great info to give about many of the places where escapes happened. In Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle, bestselling historian Ben Macintyre takes us inside the walls of the most infamous prison in history to meet the real men behind the legends. Heroes and bullies, lovers and spies, captors and prisoners living cheek-by-jowl for years in a thrilling game of cat and mouse - and all determined to escape by any means necessary.The book focuses partially on the history of the castle during WWII (including some information about the village outside it), the systems the Germans used to spy on the prisoners and the prisoners used to spy on the Germans, the methods by which items & information were smuggled into Colditz and information was smuggled out, and of course the numerous escape attempts. With plenty of humor but also grave sadness, Prisoners of the Castle is not only factual but emotional.

Colditz, the medieval castle, located in the state of Saxony in Germany, is probably the most famous of the Nazi's POW camps in well known that films have been made about it (although usually fictional). Those Allied prisoners held there were known as "difficult" because they had escaped or attempted to escape from other camps. Colditz was meant to be totally secure and the Nazis were sure that no one would ever break those bonds. Oh, were they wrong! The larger outer court in front of the Kommandantur (commander's offices) had only two exits and housed a large German garrison. The prisoners lived in an adjacent courtyard in a 90ft (27m) tall building. Outside, the flat terraces which surrounded the prisoners' accommodation were watched constantly by armed sentries and surrounded by barbed wire. The prison was named Oflag IV-C (officer prison camp 4C) and was operated by the Wehrmacht. [3] With its striking white gables, Colditz Castle is one of the most beautiful Central German architectural monuments of the 16th century. It served as an important POW-camp for high-ranking officers of the Western Allies during World War II; Winston Churchill's nephew and the nephew of the then British King George VI were also among its prisoners. Secret radio rooms, tunnels broken through the masonry and a secretly built glider are examples of the many tales told of the numerous creative escape attempts in the »Escape Museum«. The book entitled »The Colditz Story« and its film adaptation have made Colditz world famous. I listened to the audiobook with Simon. They say that truth is stranger than fiction.... This is an amazing book full of incredible true stories of escape, or many attempted escapes of prisoners of war from the notorious castle prison of Colditz. I'm not sure that Colditz is as well know in the U.S.A. In the U.K. it was entrenched in our culture and truly inspired fear. He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions.Coat of arms of Augustus of Saxony and his wife Anne of Denmark over the gate to the outer courtyard. The mannerist portal ( rhyolitic tuff) of the church house carved by Andreas Walther II during 1584. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by

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