Day 11- Exploring Colditz
May 11th, 2015
<<< We toured Colditz Castle today with a local, knowledgeable guide, Karin. We gained insight into the history of the castle from 11th century to the present time and in particular its use as a high security prisoner of war camp during WW2.
The Colditz Castle The Renaissance caslte secured international fame as a high security prisoner of war camp during the Second World War. It was commissioned specifically for prisoners who had become security/escape risks. It was regarded as particularly strategic, as the castle was situated on a rocky steep hill top above the River Mulde. Ironically, it proved to hold the highest record for successful escapes during its time as POW camp.
<<<Planning escapes from Colditz was a high priority for the prisoners. Each nationality had an escape committee. These items in the photo are just a few of the examples on display of the ingenious methods used by the prisoners to dig tunnels. Blankets were dyed and sewed into Nazi uniforms. Documents were forged. Although many escapees were captured, those who made "home runs" (successful escapes) included 12 French, 11 British, 7 Dutch and 1 Polish prisoner. -Ruth Pearson
A Genius Escape
"Red Fox", Mike Sinclair had escaped from capture so many times, he was posthumously awarded the Distnguished Service Order after the wars end; making him the only individual in the war to recieve one while during captivity.
His last escape attempt would be from Colditz, and in September 1944 after jumping the barbed wire fence, he was gunned down by German security. He would be the only individual to perish in an attempt to escape the prison camp. Other more frivoulous escape attempts had been made, including one prisoner who had discovered a glider in the attic of the caslte, and had used it to effectively escape.
<<<This is our group hearing details of escape attempts by prisoners from our local guide. We are sitting in the courtyard, where the prisoners were allowed to get fresh air and even play a rough form of rugby. To think that we were walking and talking, where the prisoners walked and talked only 70 years ago!
The group then moves on to Dresden, taking the scenic route, to enjoy some free time before dinner and overnight accommodations.
<<< We have passed by countless golden fields of canola and charming towns.