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Escape from Colditz 2000

  • Ended
  • Channel 4
  • 2000-01-31T00:00:00Z
  • 50 mins
  • Documentary

The best known and most notorious PoW camp in history is Colditz, an 18th century castle in eastern Germany. With its imposing walls, steep cliffs, and rigorous policing, it was seen as the ultimate prison, home to the worst troublemakers from allied PoW camps all over Europe.

Using archive material and dramatic reconstruction, and the personal testimony of Colditz veterans (many of whom are returning to the castle for the first time since the war), this series documents the creative and often spectacular attempts to go over, under, around or through the walls.

A specially commissioned archaeologist, working with the veterans, also uncovers the secret rooms, hidden tunnels and concealed doors that were so important in securing each precious escape from Colditz.

At the start of 1942, British prisoners were lagging behind the French and Dutch in terms of "home runs" but the British success rate was about to improve, as they were getting help from a new source. The organisation, MI9, smuggled escape aids into camps.

Thus, an apparently normal pack of cards could conceal 52 sections of map behind the card faces, or a pencil and clip would, in fact, be a secret compass. Discover how one man escaped in a rubbish container, the self-sacrifice of the 'ghosts', and one of the most daring plans of all - 'Franz Josef'.

1 season

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