Day 13 - The Great Escape in Zagan, Poland
May 13th, 2014
___________________________________________________________________ This morning - the group crossed into Zagan to visit the Polish camp where "The Great Escape" was planned and executed. The group uncovered the story of the escape and the reprisals ordered by Hitler against the recaptured men, followed by a visit to the memorial. Tonight the group would finish in the city of Berlin.
<<<Another fascinating day! We visited Stalag 3, the prison for Allied officers. Although, the prisoners were treated quite fairly & with respect by the Commandant and guards, many had a great desire to try to escape. Over 600 were secretly involved in the planning and digging of the tunnels code-named, Tom, Dick and Harry. The famous movie, "The Great Escape" was based on their exploits and is generally factual. This museum contains many artifacts used by the prisoners, actual uniforms and photos (based on information told to us by Glenn).
<<<Glenn is explaining how the tunnels were dug and details of the night of the escape by 77 in the tunnel named "Harry". The escape began at 10:15 on a March night from Hut 104. The first escapee noticed upon reaching the exit that due to miscalculations the exit fell short of the trees that were to conceal them. After the 77th man escaped, the Germans became aware and no others were able to leave. Hurriedly, men in the Hut started burning all the remaining fake documents. The Germans dispatched 60,000 soldiers and eventually all but 3 were captured. Those 3, z2 Norwegians and 1 Dutch officer reached freedom (based on Glenn's comments).
<<<A memorial at the entrance to the tunnel "Harry"
<<<Glenn took us to the memorial to 50 of the escapees, who were executed by the S.S. on orders from Hitler. Six of those, who were executed were Canadians. The German camp Commandant was enraged and allowed other POW's at Stalag 3 to build a memorial themselves to their comrades in Zagan outside of the camp. Their ashes were later located by the allies after the German defeat and are buried in Posnam Cemetery. (Based on comments by Glenn)