Colditz: Oflag IV-C (Fortress)

Oflag IV-C
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  • Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, the head of the Luftwaffe, had ordered the castle to be so secure that no officers would be able to escape.

    The Polish had an expert lock picker who could make a key for any area of the castle. It was laughable really. The prisoners even built a glider, called Colditz Cock, out of sleeping bags, gramophone springs and porridge but it never flew as the Americans liberated Colditz before its launch in Launching their machine was perhaps more difficult than building it.

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    Risking their lives was well worth if you asked the British PoWs whose final product was a sort of miracle considering the conditions under which was built. Photo made by Lee Carson, one of two American newspaper correspondents assigned to the task force which captured the castle.

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    Although they were almost freed, the soldiers decided to keep the glider ready for flight—in case the SS decided to execute them as a sign of warning to approaching American troops. In more recent years, British television Channel 4 decided to test the glider and commissioned a full-scale replica.

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    The aspects of World War II that have been most studied and written about are the politics that led up to the war and that were most prominent during the war. April to October: Tuesday to Saturday at a. As a result Oflag IV-C maintained a larger garrison than at many of the other prison camps; between the years of and , more than 70 German officers and enlisted men worked in a wide variety of staff positions. An individual became "Free French" by enlisting in the military units organised by the CFN or by employment by the civilian arm of the Committee. A natural choice for a prison, Colditz had been used successfully during the First World War and had gained a reputation for being impossible to escape from. Prisoners who were relatives of Allied VIPs could potentially be used by Hitler as bargaining tools; these individuals were known as Prominente. There was also a large contingent of civilians and local townspeople who worked on the castle grounds.

    The Colditz glider managed to fly off successfully on its first attempt. Best, Goldfinch and about a dozen of the veterans who had worked on the original glider were present during the attempt. It was probably a glorious sight for them.

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    Another radio-controlled replica was built in by Tony Hoskins. Approaching the castle, it looms over the village at 10 stories high, and already high up on a huge hill made of rock. A museum has been established at the foot of the castle, detailing its role during the war and around 30, people visit every year.

    The castle stands around a small courtyard which was used for prisoners to exercise in. However, during the war, the Red Cross told the Germans that it was not big enough for exercise and they had to allow prisoners to also exercise in a nearby field.

    The castle has three meter high walls and was relatively isolated, which made it almost impossible to get away to safety even if prisoners got out of the castle.