Guided By Guy Walters
Typical Group Size: 8-15
Weds 2nd to Sun 6th July, 2014
Code 03 - 5 days and 4 nights
£1395 per person including flights
£1195 per person excluding flights
(Prices based on 2 people sharing)
£150 single person supplement
Deposit £150 per person
Balance payable by 2nd May, 2014
The tour price includes:
Copy of Guy’s ‘The Real Great Escape’
4-star hotel Germany, 3-star Poland
Transfers by air conditioned coach
Breakfast and dinner
Lectures, entrance fees and tips
Guaranteed no surcharges
Breaking out of Colditz and Stalag Luft III Tour
Our Great Escapes tour features two of the most iconic POW camps of all – Colditz Castle, and Stalag Luft III, the location of the legendary Great Escape. Led by Guy Walters, the author of The Real Great Escape and The Colditz Legacy, the tour brings to life the legendary tales of derring-do immortalised in books, films and television programmes. We also visit Sachsenhausen, the concentration camp, where some of the Great Escapers were held after recapture.
Wednesday 2nd July
We fly from London to Berlin, from where we board our coach to take us to Zagan in Poland, the location of Stalag Luft III. Before and during much of the war, Zagan was part of Germany, and the town retains much of its Germanic charm. After our arrival, there is a chance to freshen up before we pay a visit to the local Great Escape museum, which features reconstructions of a POW hut, a guard tower, and the famous tunnel, ‘Harry’, down which one can travel on a trolley.
Thursday 3rd July
After breakfast, we visit the site of Stalag Luft III. Built by the Germans as a high security camp for downed Allied airmen, by the end of the war the camp accommodated thousands of POWs. Although many had no wish to escape, one third of the prisoners spent their time hatching plans to make a ‘home run’ back to Britain and to rejoin the war. The most famous of these attempts was the Great Escape, which was mounted in March 1944, and aimed to get two hundred POWs down a tunnel dug from beneath Hut 104. In the end, some 80 POWs made it down the tunnel, of whom only three made it to Britain. The escape so enraged Adolf Hitler, that he ordered fifty of the recaptured POWs to be ‘shot while attempting to escape’.
We spend the day exploring the camp, and locating the sites of not only the three tunnels built for the Great Escape, but also buildings such as the theatre and the ‘cooler’, where the fictional character of Hilts, played by Steve McQueen in the film The Great Escape, spent so much time. We retrace the steps taken by the escapers through the woods after they exited the tunnel, and visit Zagan station, where many of the escapers boarded trains to take them to destinations throughout the Third Reich. We end the day at the memorial to the Fifty, where we shall pay our respects.
Friday 4th July
Today we retrace the routes of some of the Great Escapers as they headed towards the old German border and visit some of the villages and stations where they were arrested. We have lunch in the attractive frontier town of Görlitz and see the former Gestapo HQ where many of the escapers were interrogated. We then drive to our hotel near Colditz, arriving and checking in late in the afternoon. The rest of the day is kept free to allow a chance to relax.
Saturday 5th July
Today we spend the day in and around Colditz castle, visiting the locations from where some of the most daring and ingenious escapes of the war were made. We follow the route taken by Airey Neave as he escaped disguised as a German soldier, and visit rooms such as the Canteen and the Chapel, from where tunnels were hacked out of stone with rudimentary tools. We also see the room where the famous glider was constructed. In the afternoon we have lunch in the town of Colditz itself and visit the fascinating museum of East German history at nearby Podelwitz, which features an extensive private collection of artefacts from Colditz during the war.
Sunday 6th July
In the morning we check out of our hotel and drive to Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin. We hear the amazing story of the RAF pilots who were imprisoned here after being captured during the Great Escape and who dug a tunnel with other prisoners in order to make a fresh bid for freedom. We then make our own escape back to London, returning in the early evening.
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