Want to learn about the Great Escape this Remembrance Day? A friend of mine posted an old news story on Facebook that I hadn’t seen before. It is all about an excavation in 2011 by British archaeologists. They dug up the escape tunnel used in the Great Escape by prisoners of war in the Stalag Luft III camp in western Poland in 1944. A whopping 600 prisoners worked on three tunnels – without their captors’ knowledge!
The tunnel that was used for the escape was 111 yards long and constructed primarily out of bed boards, with a ventilation shaft made of powdered milk containers. While 76 Allied airmen went through the tunnel before being discovered, sadly only three POWs escaped safely to Britain. Infuriated, Hitler ordered fifty of the soldiers involved executed via firing squad.
Check out the article with your children for Remembrance Day; it’s fascinating how they managed to engineer the tunnels! Tunnel back in time: Revealed after 67 years, the passage used in Great Escape
After reading the article together and admiring the soldiers’ handiwork that has remained intact for the past 70 years, why not watch a classic movie together on the subject, The Great Escape? Of course, there are some historical inaccuracies. For instance, there were no American soldiers involved (but Canadian soldiers numbered among the 600)! Enjoy a discussion with your children after the movie. If your child is high school age, check out The Great Escape Z-Guide for discussion ideas and learning activities to learn about the Great Escape this Remembrance Day.
Love, Luck &
Please note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in November 2019.