Throughout the years of the NAZI reign millions of men, women and children were put into concentration camps, and the majority of them did not survive. Throughout the hundreds of camps spread across the countryside people were being poorly treated, all of them from different walks of life. There were Jews, Gypsies, Communists, Blacks, political opponents and undesirables such as the homeless, gays, prostitutes and alcoholics. Also there were Prisoners of War, the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III, as it has come to be named, had a profound effect on hope for the lives of the people that were imprisoned there during the war period. For them have it be possible that they may get out motivated them immensely, they could finally see the light of the end of the tunnel. But this was soon to be shut off as they suffered the consequences of the actions at the hands of the NAZI’s. WHAT DID BEING A PRISONER OF WAR MEAN
“It is a melancholy state; you are in the power of your enemy. You owe your life to his humanity, your daily bread to his compassion. You must obey his orders, go where he tells you. Stay where you are bid, await his pleasure, possess your soul in patience. Meanwhile, great events are in progress, opportunities for action and adventure are slipping away; hours crawl like paralytic centipedes, life is one long boredom from dawn till slumber. Moreover, the whole atmosphere of prison, even the most regulated prison, is odious. You feel a sense of constant humiliation in being confined, fenced in by railings and wire, watched by armed men, webbed about with a tangle of regulations and restrictions; one can only hate every minute of captivity.” ~ Winston Churchill, 1899. Being a prisoner of war meant that the war was over for you completely. When you had been imprisoned the Red Cross would be notified and after a few weeks they would send out a letter notifying your next of kin of your whereabouts. You were allowed to send two postcards and two letters to send every month but these would be subject to censoring before they were sent anywhere. You could be delivered one clothes parcel every six months and could also contain, other than clothes, toiletries like soap, which was a great luxury and the rest of the weight may be made up by chocolate. There was no way out for you unless you were severely injured or extremely sick otherwise you were in that camps till the end of the war. (s3) LIFE IN THE CAMP
Stalag Luft III was a purpose built camp that opened in April of 1942. The commander of the camp was Oberst Freidrich-Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau and his prisoners of war that were kept there were mostly properly treated and the housing facilities were thought to be much better than numerous other prisoner of war camps. British and American airmen that had crashed on axis territory were kept in the camp. The Germans believed that at the new camp security was so good it would be absolutely impossible for anyone to escape. In early 1943 the whole camp was a large formation of three compounds with two others on their way to being fully completed. Stalag Luft III was situated one hundred miles southeast of Berlin in what is now part of Poland. It was one of six camps run by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) but compared to them it was a model of civilised captivity. Even though it was a grim outlook for the people who were trapped in the camp, the Geneva Convention of 1929 was employed and used as much as possible. It covered the prisoners of war and said that they must be shown respect, allowed to correspond with the international Red Cross to notify their family and next of kin of their capture, they should be allowed to send and receive letters and/or postcards, be given enough food and clothing, receive relief parcels, be given medical care and be paid for any work they do, provided with shelter that was equivalent in standard to that of their captors own men, if seriously injured or ill they must be sent home provided...
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