Over 10,500 men successfully escaped their captors of the approximately 200,000 British prisoners (135,000 taken in Europe). Those men who escaped risked being shot, sent to a work camp, or imprisoned. One must remember there were many others who attempted escape and failed. One major escape attempt saw Hitler himself order the execution of 50 of the POW’s involved.
Often people think war sounds almost like a big adventure, but being a POW under the Nazi regime was no walk in the park. Often prisoners received 1/5 of a loaf of black bread as their daily meal as food was often in short supply. Meat was a rare treat, often served once a week and it was most likely horsemeat, supper having been taken by the Nazi’s from a local farmer. In many cases the only thing that prevented prisoner starvation was the arrival of their Red Cross packages. Prisoners were issued with a single blanket, which during some of the winter months provided no warmth whatsoever. Lice, malaria, and diphtheria were almost constant companions, and medical care was often delayed and when provided supplies were short.
War spares no one, whether you are someone left back home, back line personnel supporting the active troops, POW’s, politicians whose decision making at such a time cannot be easy, front line warriors, those living in the active conflict areas and those who must tend to the wounded. The wounds war leaves affects everyone, whether someone is injured, maimed, tortured, abused, starved, or if they come home in one piece having survived with their lives, they will still experience the horror of what they experienced alongside the pride of what they accomplished.
This site in no way try to glorify the experiences of those brave soldiers who survived Nazi POW camps, nor will it elevate their experiences above any others, it will just try to deliver the cold hard facts of life and experiences in a POW camp during World War 2.