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Nazi Prison Escape

Rope of bed linens
The rope of bedsheets used by Surmanowicz and Schmiel.
Escaping Colditz
3: Mid-May 1941

Polish Lieuts. Niki Surmanowicz and Mietek Schmiel, doing time in solitary confinement, somehow managed to get out of their locked cells and into the prison yard. Friends in the Polish quarters in floors above lowered a rope, which the pair used to get into the adjacent guardroom's attic. Putting the same rope out the attic window on the castle's western side, they began sliding down, but the nails in Schmiel's boots scraped on the wall, giving them away.

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  1. First escape
    April 12, 1941


  2. Straw mattresses
    May 8, 1941


  3. Locked cells
    Mid-May 1941


  4. Canteen tunnel
    May 1941


  5. German woman
    June 1941


  6. Air-raid shelter
    June 1941


  7. Hacksaw
    June 1941


  8. Over the wall
    July 2, 1941


  9. Air shaft
    July 28, 1941


  1. Lavatory
    July 31, 1941


  2. Manhole
    Late summer, 1941


  3. Dummies
    December 1941


  4. German officers
    December 1941


  5. Main gate
    January 6, 1942


  6. Town dump
    March 1942


  7. Wooden crate
    September 7, 1942


  8. Mussolini's office
    September 9, 1942


  9. Headquarters building
    October 15, 1942


  1. Willi the electrician
    December 1942


  2. "Maddest attempt"
    May 11, 1943


  3. Franz Josef
    September 2, 1943


  4. Cellar house
    January 19, 1944


  5. Rubbish heap
    May 2, 1944


  6. Greatest escaper
    September 25, 1944


  7. Glider
    April 1945



Escaping Colditz | The Jailor's Story | Great Escapes | The Colditz Glider
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