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Escape from Colditz Castle

Escape from Colditz Castle

Colditz Castle, in East Germany, was where officers were imprisoned in WWII, including many well known people such as Charles Upham and Sir Winston Churchill's nephew.

There were 330 escape attempts during the war, with only 30 succeeding - no wonder a board game was made. Prisoners were usually returned to Colditz, where they were generally well treated, to dream up their next attempt.

Escape attempts included the famous tunnel via the wine cellar and chapel, dug by Dutch prisoners who were caught just before they completed it. Others dressed as German officers in uniforms sewn out of blankets on a sewing machine made out of wood. An Olympic gymnast did a trapeze act down the bars on the windows (but got caught in town).

Most impressive of all was the glider built out of floor boards and bed sheets in a secret attic, which two prisoners planned to catapault off the roof to land in the field 200m below. Fortunately, the war ended before this was tested, but a model flown after the war demonstrated that it would have in fact made it.

Colditz Castle is now being renovated to become a music school and youth hostel.

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