Best of five… on Colditz

AT EASE

Charles Rollings picks his top five books about the iconic Colditz Castle and its POW inmates

In 1939, German high command requisitioned a grim medieval fortress overlooking the small town of Colditz and designated it Oflag IVC. Soon after, it became a Sonderlager (special camp) for Allied officer POWs who were persistent escapers, troublemakers or potential hostages.

It was considered escape- proof, but the myth has grown that more prisoners made the ‘home run’ from Colditz than from any other POW camp.

In Britain, little was known about the camp until the early 1950s, when Hodder & Stoughton published two books by P R Reid, The Colditz Story and The Latter Days, best- sellers followed by a highly successful 1955 film starring John Mills. Two decades later, Colditz mania swept the country in the wake of a series televised on the BBC.

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