The Great Escape Camp: Stalag Luft III Trip
23-25 March 2019, £549 plus £40 per night single room supplement, where applicable. Places available.
Stalag Luft III, known to many as “The Great Escape” Camp was the vast POW Camp for Allied Airmen cut out of a thick forest in Upper Silesia, then in the East of Germany now in Poland and located 100 miles southeast of Berlin. The site was selected because it would be difficult to escape by tunneling given the sandy sub soil – however, the camp is best known for two famous prisoner escapes that took place there by tunneling: The Great Escape and The Wooden Horse Escape. We explore camp life as well as dozens of escapes attempts made by the POWs.
Click the Stalag Luft III The Great Escape Camp Itinerary link or the image below to open the literature
Stalag Luft III (German: Stammlager Luft, or main camp for aircrew) was a Luftwaffe-run prisoner-of war camp during World War II that housed captured air force servicemen. It was in the German province of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan (now Żagań in Poland), 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Berlin. The site was selected because it would be difficult to escape by tunneling. The camp is best known for two famous prisoner escapes that took place there by tunneling, which were depicted in the films The Great Escape (1963) and The Wooden Horse (1950), and the books by former prisoners Paul Brickhill and Eric Williams from which these films were adapted.
Day One: Guests are met by MHT at Berlin’s central train station, Hauptbahnhof, at 11:00 before transferring by train to Żagań arriving early afternoon. As we arrive at the town train station, just as many of the POWs did, it is easy to step back in time as very little has changed since the war. We explore the station explaining the arrival procedure for Stalag Luft III and how the men were processed into the camp. We then transfer by taxi to our hotel on the edge of the nearby town. What is now a splendid spa hotel was built as a Wehrmacht hospital and was used by POWs if they needed any treatment more complex than an x-ray. Set against this majestic backdrop we have an initial briefing of events for the next few days and set the scene for what is to come.
Day Two: We spend the entire day in the nearby woods which housed Stalag Luft III and Stalag VIIIC. At the POW museum we see POW artefacts, a recreated section of “The Great Escape” ‘Harry Tunnel’, a ‘Goon Tower’ and a POW barrack. We walk through Stalag VIIIC to reach Stalag Luft III and visit the South and West Compounds (which housed USAAF personnel) to explain each compound layout. We spend the afternoon in the North Compound discussing many escapes, attempts, camp routines and notable personnel before seeing the famous ‘Tom’, ‘Dick’ and ‘Harry’Tunnels of “The Great “Escape” – on the anniversary of the escape itself! We then walk the escape route through the woods to the train station, just as many of the ‘Great Escapees’ did. We end our day at the small cemetery just outside the camp which houses the memorial built by the POWs to the murdered 50 airmen.
Day Three: Back at the train station we walk the POW route into the camp pointing out many features referred to in POW memoirs. We explore the East (the original and home of the fantastic ‘Wooden Horse Escape’) and Centre Compounds as well as the German Kommandantur. We end our tour back at the old station then return to Berlin arriving c18:00.