P01608.012 Colditz Castle was used as a prisoner of war camp for Allied prisoners who had attempted to escape from their German captors during the Second World War. The castle has captured popular imagination through the film 'The Colditz Story' (1955) based on P.R. Reid's book of the same name. P01608.012

Unknown to their captors, eight prisoners were huddled in a small office, waiting for the moment when they would finish the tunnel and escape from Colditz. They had been planning for this moment for over a month. But now their chance was slipping. It was midnight, 9 September 1942 and an alarm echoed throughout the castle. They could hear the footsteps of German officers approaching.

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On the 19th November 1941, Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney II was lost, with all hands, off the coast of Western Australia after engaging with the German raider HSK Kormoran. The discovery in March 2008 of the final resting place of the Sydney and the Kormoran attracted much attention. Understandably, there has been much discussion over the circumstances surrounding the loss of the Sydney; however the story of the Kormoran’s Commander, Theodor Anton Detmers, and that of his crew, continued long after the battle.

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Friday 17 July 2009 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments.
Personal Stories, Collection Prisoner of War

Shrapnel from an American ranging shell, Colditz Castle 1945.Shrapnel from an American ranging shell, Colditz Castle 1945. REL38251

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Wednesday 9 July 2008 by Dianne Rutherford. 7 comments.
Collection Maps, Prisoner of War, How To...

Prisoners in German POW camps were very resourceful. My favourite items to have come out of POW camps in Europe are the maps they made for escape attempts. Early in the war men would draw their maps by hand, but this took a long time and at the end you would have only one copied map.

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