‘The Great Escape’: The Audacious Real Story of the WWII Allied Prison Break

The massive escape of 76 Allied airmen from a Nazi POW camp in March 1944 remains one of the most famous prison escapes in history. Although the German Luftwaffe designed Camp Stalag Luft III to be escape-proof, the daring and real-life prison escape was immortalized in the 1963 film. The great Escape proved the contrary.

When the Nazis built the maximum security camp 160 km southeast of Berlin to house Allied airmen captured during World War II, many of whom had already escaped, they took elaborate measures to prevent the digging of tunnels, like lifting prisoner huts and burying microphones nine feet underground along the perimeter fence of the camp. Additionally, the camp was built on yellow sand which would be difficult to dig and hide for anyone attempting.

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