Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

NOVA Online (see text links below)
Nazi Prison Escape

British POWs
Pat Reid stands third from left in this November 1940 photo taken within Colditz.
Escaping Colditz
18: October 15, 1942

Four British officers were gone. Dogs failed to follow the trail away from the castle, but they did follow what remained of it back to the castle wall on the south end near an air shaft. How could prisoners have gotten across the German yard, where a sentry patrols day and night, and through the German Kommandantur building? In what proved one of the most audacious escapes at Colditz, the four escaped through the back of the prisoner's kitchen, onto the roof of the German kitchen, and across the German yard in the full glare of the searchlights. They slipped into the cellar of the Kommandantur and stumbled upon the air shaft. All four reached Switzerland.

Previous escape | Next escape | See the map



  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
Resources | Transcript | Site Map | Nazi Prison Escape Home

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated January 2001

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site

Feedback Shop NOVA NOVA Site Map Search NOVA NOVA Nazi Prison Escape Nazi Prison Escape Nazi Prison Escape Nazi Prison Escape Site Map