Saturday, February 02, 2008

Rare Find

Australian soldier Jack Millet tried to escape from German prisoner of war camps so often, during WW2, he was shifted to the 'Alcatraz of German prison camps', also known as Colditz. He planned to escape from there, too.

Recently, hand drawn maps of the countryside surrounding the prison camp came to light when it went up for auction in Perth. The maps are now part of the Australian War Memorial's extensive collection of Colditz memorabilia.

Amazing story :

The maps were drawn by Western Australian Lieutenant Jack Millet who was captured in Crete in 1941 and sent to the Oflag IV-C high security camp two years later after several escape attempts.

Oflag IV-C - more commonly known as Colditz - was a converted castle in the eastern German town of Colditz near Dresden that was used to hold high risk POW's who had tried to escape from other camps.

AWM curator Nick Fletcher says the Germans considered Colditz escape proof.

Map expert Dianne Rutherford says if Lieutenant Millet had been caught making the maps he would have certainly been put in solitary confinement.

"As the main map maker, he would have been a key person in the escape committees and he was most likely encouraged not to escape because his skills as a map maker would have been so important that they would have preferred for him to remain in the camp to assist others in escaping," she said.