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Escape from Nazi Alcatraz

A crack team rebuilds a glider that POWs hoped to catapult off the top of Colditz Castle. Airing May 14, 2014 at 9 pm on PBS Aired May 14, 2014 on PBS

Program Description

Colditz Castle, a notorious prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany, was supposed to be escape-proof. But in the dark days at the end of World War II, a group of British officers dreamt up the ultimate escape plan: in a secret attic workshop, they constructed a two-man glider out of bed sheets and floorboards. Their plan was to fly to freedom from the roof of the castle, but the war ended before they could put it to the test. Now a crack team of aero engineers and carpenters rebuild the glider in the same attic using the same materials, and they’ll do something the prisoners never got a chance to try: use a bathtub full of concrete to catapult the glider off the roof of the castle. As the hair-raising launch 90 feet up draws near, the program explores the Colditz legend and exposes the secrets of other ingenious and audacious escapes. Then, after a 70-year wait, the team finally finds out if the legendary glider plan would have succeeded.

Broadcast Credits

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & CO-DIRECTOR
Ian Duncan
PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Tom Cook
EDITED BY
Laurence Williamson
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Tom Cook
Mike Coles
NARRATED BY
Jim Carter
HEAD OF PRODUCTION
Birte Pedersen
PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATION
Susan Harvard
DEVELOPMENT PRODUCER
Leesa Rumley
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Ulrike Pflanz
ASSISTANT PRODUCER
Joe Myerscough
PRODUCTION MANAGER
Jason Hendriksen
SOUND RECORDIST
Keith Rodgerson
MUSIC
Daniel Pemberton
ANIMATION
Fluid Pictures
ONLINE EDITOR
Marc Corrance
COLORIST
Blair Wallace
AUDIO MIX
Tom O’Pray
ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
Agentur Karl Höffkes
Footage Farm
Imperial War Museum
SPECIAL THANKS
Ultimate Aerostructures
Schlösserland Sachsen
Colditz Museum
The City and People of Colditz
Orchestra of the Technical University of Dresden
Modelflugsportverband Deutschland e.V
Deutscher Aero Club e.V
The Durand Group
Fiddlers Green Paper Models
Matthias Hergt
Astrid Schnotalle
Cambridge University Library
Cambridge Gliding Centre
NOVA SERIES GRAPHICS
yU + co.
NOVA THEME MUSIC
Walter Werzowa
John Luker
Musikvergnuegen, Inc.
ADDITIONAL NOVA THEME MUSIC
Ray Loring
Rob Morsberger
CLOSED CAPTIONING
The Caption Center
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Jennifer Welsh
PUBLICITY
Eileen Campion
Eddie Ward
SENIOR RESEARCHER
Kate Becker
ASSOCIATE RESEARCHER
Shraddha Chakradhar
NOVA ADMINISTRATOR
Kristen Sommerhalter
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Linda Callahan
PARALEGAL
Sarah Erlandson
TALENT RELATIONS
Janice Flood
LEGAL COUNSEL
Susan Rosen
DIGITAL MANAGING PRODUCER
Kristine Allington
SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR
Tim De Chant
DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA
Lauren Aguirre
DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE
Lisa Leombruni
UNIT MANAGER
Ariam McCrary
POST PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Brittany Flynn
SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Kevin Young
POST PRODUCTION EDITOR
Rebecca Nieto
BROADCAST MANAGER
Nathan Gunner
COMPLIANCE MANAGER
Linzy Emery
BUSINESS MANAGER
Elizabeth Benjes
DEVELOPMENT PRODUCER
David Condon
PROJECT DIRECTOR
Pamela Rosenstein
COORDINATING PRODUCER
Laurie Cahalane
SENIOR SCIENCE EDITOR
Evan Hadingham
SENIOR PRODUCER
Chris Schmidt
SENIOR SERIES PRODUCER
Melanie Wallace
MANAGING DIRECTOR
Alan Ritsko
SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paula S. Apsell

Produced by Windfall Films Ltd. for NOVA/WGBH Boston in association with Channel 4.

© 2011 Windfall Films Ltd.

Additional Material © 2014 WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

This program was produced by WGBH, which is solely responsible for its content.

IMAGE:

Image credit: (Colditz Castle)
calflier001/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Participants

J.W. "Jack" Best
Grismond Davies-Scourfield
Former Colditz Prisoner
George Drew
Former Colditz Prisoner
L.J.E. "Bill" Goldfinch
Former Colditz Prisoner
Tony Hoskins
Glider Builder
Hugh Hunt
Cambridge University Engineer
Keith Lockwood
Former Colditz Prisoner
Tony Luteyn
Former Colditz Prisoner
Corran Purdon
Former Colditz Prisoner
Sir Sebastian Roberts
Military Historian
Ben Watkins
Glider Builder

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