24 March 2014: The ‘Great Escape’ from Stalag Luft III

Escape: The tunnel system 76 air force officers used to break out of Stalag Luft III. Paul Royle was recaptured within 24 hours on his way to Switzerland

During the “Great Escape” a group of Allied prisoners from Stalag Luft III paid a terrible price.

During the “Great Escape” a group of Allied prisoners from Stalag Luft III paid a terrible price.

Żagań, Stalag Luft III, wielka ucieczka, Roger Bushell

Żagań, Stalag Luft III, wielka ucieczka, Roger Bushell

German officers looking at the entrance to a tunnel dug in a hut by POWs at Stalag Luft III located in Zagan, Poland during the Great Escape. .

German officers looking at the entrance to a tunnel (either “Tom” or “Harry”) dug in a hut by POWs at Stalag Luft III located in Zagan, Poland during the Great Escape.

During the “Great Escape” a group of Allied prisoners from Stalag Luft III paid a terrible price.

In 1943 three men came up with an ingenious plan to escape from the seemingly escape-proof Stalag Luft III prison camp in Germany.

The Great March, along the road from Stalag Luft III, in late January, 1945. In the war’s final months, the Germans forced their prisoners to march west, away from the advancing Soviet army, through the frozen countryside on foot. Jack Mason took part in the march.

The Great March, along the road from Stalag Luft III, in late January, 1945. In the war’s final months, the Germans forced their prisoners to march west, away from the advancing Soviet army, through the frozen countryside on foot. Jack Mason took part in the march.

Of the 76 POWs who broke out of Stalag Luft III, only three made it all the way to freedom.

Photo taken at Stalag Luft III. Per (Peter) Bergsland stands on the left, and his comrade Jens Müller is on the right. Between the two is Halldor Espelid, who was captured and executed for his attempted escape.

Guy Walters, The Real Great Escape - Bantam. In early 1942 the Germans opened a top-security prisoner-of-war camp in occupied Poland for captured Allied airmen. Called Stalag Luft III, the camp soon came to contain some of the most inventive escapers ever known. They were led by Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, code-named 'Big X', who masterminded an attempt to smuggle hundreds of POWs down a tunnel built right under the noses of their guards.

Guy Walters, The Real Great Escape - Bantam. In early 1942 the Germans opened a top-security prisoner-of-war camp in occupied Poland for captured Allied airmen. Called Stalag Luft III, the camp soon came to contain some of the most inventive escapers ever known. They were led by Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, code-named 'Big X', who masterminded an attempt to smuggle hundreds of POWs down a tunnel built right under the noses of their guards.

This is from the USAFA Stalag Luft III website. It is a capture of an allied officer before his interrogation, and then off to Stalag Luft III.

This is from the USAFA Stalag Luft III website. It is a capture of an allied officer before his interrogation, and then off to Stalag Luft III.

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The Great Escape, as it came to be known, was a mass escape attempt from the prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III located near the Polish town of Zagan.

Kommandant Friedrich Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau, Kommandant of Stalag Luft III.

Kommandant of Stalag Luft III, Oberst Friedrich Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau

Stalag Luft Iii : An Official History of the 'Great Escape' PoW Camp (Hardcover)

Stalag Luft Iii : An Official History of the 'Great Escape' PoW Camp (Hardcover)

Tunnelling to Freedom : The Great Escape from Stalag Luft Iii (Library) (Nel Yomtov)

Tunnelling to Freedom : The Great Escape from Stalag Luft Iii (Library) (Nel Yomtov)

Stalag Luft III, a POW Camp near Zagan, Poland where a tunnel was secretly dug by prisoners to escape.

Stalag Luft III, a POW Camp near Zagan, Poland where a tunnel was secretly dug by prisoners to escape.

For my uncle and many other POW's seeing the statute of liberty as he entered the harbor was a highlight. Pic from Stalag Luft III website.

For my uncle and many other POW's seeing the statute of liberty as he entered the harbor was a highlight. Pic from Stalag Luft III website.

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