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I had heard through one of my diggers that Colditz Castle was being renovated and loads of bits were being thrown away.
I think the van was loaded and on the road before my return mail was in his inbox !
My digger friend was a local and asked the building contractors if we could have some of the rubble, they looked at Paul and I as if we were mad and said we could have what we wanted but had to keep out of the building areas due to the health and safety laws.
Paul had rather a keen eye on the builders lunch box !

Please click on an image to enlarge.

An Arial view of Colditz Castle or Oflag IVC as it was known during WWII

Oflag IVC was constructed in an old Medieval Castle situated high up on a cliff top in the small town of Colditz, Saxony. Colditz sits on the bank of the river Mulde, surrounded by the three German cities of Leipzig, Dresden and Chemnitz. Due to it's location alone it was considered un-escapable as the pow's on the run would have to cross many miles of fatherland before reaching any other Boerders. How wrong they were, as by the liberation on 16th April 1945 over 300 escape attempts were made. This resulted in 120 ‘gone aways’ escapers which got out of the castle but were later recaptured and 31 Home Runs prisoners who had successfully reached home. Oflag IVC originally started out during WWII as a transit camp for Poles after the fall of Poland. but were later replaced by 140 Polish Officers. In November 1940 some British RAF officers arrived, soon to be followed by 6 British Army officers, and later still by some French. It was then decided that the Castle should become a ‘Sonderlager’ a high security prison, for prisoners who had escaped at least twice from other camps, and for the safe keeping of VIP prisoners which included the son of Earl Haig, the British World War I commander, Winston Churchill's nephew, Giles Romilly - who escaped - and Viscount Lascelles, now Lord Harewood, nephew of King George VI.

As the war progressed the Germans needed a model camp they could present to the Swiss to show that all was above Boerd. They had to prove they were treating their prisoners of war as per the Geneva convention and in return expected their own County men to be treated the same where ever they were imprisoned. 

The Germans had really made a rod for their own back as they now had some of the worlds most educated and skilled men in one place, scheming and working together for some of the most elaborate escapes known to man. Several tunnels with electric lighting, one of the from the third floor and down the shaft of a clock tower, homemade documents and passes which were better than the originals in some cases, A vast array of German uniforms made from dyed blankets and allied uniforms with lino belts and wooden guns and cardBoerd caps are some of the the ideas these guys cam up with.

The pinnacle of all the escape ideas must of been the glider in the rooF. It would of been ejected by a bath tub full of concrete thrown down an air shaft. Although it was completed the war ended before it had a chance to get used. An exact replica was made 55 years later and tried for a TV experiment-YES it flew perfectly !

 

Paul & Jay In the Village of Colditz, Saxony Germany

Our first port of call was the old derelict railway station where so many of the POW's were bought here.

       

It felt very strange walking same cobbled hill the POW's took and a feeling of solitude as we went through the main gate.

Once I had arrived my eyes answered all I needed to Know.

   The builders have been very busy with the renovation work.

They still have a lot of work to do.

I tried to buy the old door but it is going to a museum some where, I had to settle for some barbed wire

Our friend has had a word with the contractors and now for a little look through the rubble and the old moat

Here are some really nice examples of cobble stones that are in and around the castle.

As I was picking up these old roof tiles I wondered if any were from where the glider was hidden.

Some close up pictures of some roof tiles in the castle for perspective and one of the glider taken by a GI in 1945

 
The are many sites on the web that have pictures of the castle and stories of the many escapes and escapades that went on there.

These few pictures shown here were taken during our trip in August 2004 in an attempt to get some real pieces of the castle legally and without causing any damage to this lovely Medieval building.  I recommend any one to visit here, but don't be disappointed when you find that the German people want this place to be remembered as a Castle and not  Oflag IVC. One of the locals explained to us through our friend "The castle has been here since 1014 when it was built as a hunting lodge for the Kings of Saxony why are you only interested in a few dark years?"

Well That's the end of another crazy adventure.

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