Wednesday 4 March 2015

road trip to Colditz

This week we staff snuck out of the office to join a few guides in exploring the infamous Colditz Castle, aka WWII POW camp.  Nick Jackson, one of our star guest guides, hosted us on an amazing behind the scenes tour! Nick, a jack of many trades, works for the great Berliner Unterwelten association, documenting and researching Berlin’s underground history.  When not in the city he can be found exploring Third Reich sites, working as a travel journalist, and excavating, touring and lecturing in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Nick had us all hanging on his words as we visited the locations where so many unbelievable escape attempts, many successful, took place.

a bit of history first
"From 1939 - 1945 Colditz Castle becomes a prisoner of war camp for Allied officers from Great Britain and the Commonwealth, France, Belgium, Holland and Poland. The official name of the camp is "OFLAG IV C" and it is claimed that the castle is escape-proof. However, prisoners succeed in making their escape over 30 occasions despite the rocky crags on which the castle stands, the barbed-wire fences, the numerous guards and the searchlights" excerpt from

the train station where prisoners would have arrived
we head through town and toward the castle
Colditz town square. anyone who thought it would be warmer in the castle was wrong!
we arrive

site of one escape attempt, through the theater's stage floor
and another, through a basement store room
and out this very small hole

one can get an idea of the steep drops surrounding the castle

view of the former hunting park below, used as a sport area for prisoners. guess what, some successful escapes took place from there!
one escape route, through a shaft in the wall
the views were great
with the knowledge we could leave

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