Great Escape

Episode 1 of 1

THE GREAT ESCAPE is a documentary that sheds new light on the audacious escape of Allied airmen from a Nazi P.O.W. camp during World War II. On March 24, 1944, in the heart of Nazi Germany, 76 British, Canadian, Norwegian and French pilots who were held in Stalag Luft III, a prison camp of the Luftwaffe, escaped. The tunnel used for their flight, masterminded by RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, was constructed in the greatest secrecy, under the nose of the German jailers. In fact, the POWs had dug three tunnels nicknamed Tom, Dick and Harry, some 30 feet deep and extending 300 feet into the woods outside the camp. Stalag Luft III was created in Sagan, Poland in 1932. The camp was said to be impossible to escape. Unique testimony from the last survivors, recreations and today's digital images bring this riveting tale to today's viewers. At the centerpiece of the program is 99-year-old Jack Lyon, who was a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF during World War II and was one of the escapees. While the real Great Escape didn't feature a Steve McQueen-esque character racing through the Third Reich on a motorcycle (like in the 1963 movie) the big breakout was still thrilling, enthralling, and extremely dangerous in every way. The consequences of the Great Escape escape shook the Third Reich and Hitler himself. To deter similar breakouts in the future, Hitler ordered that 50 of the recaptured prisoners be executed -a war crime. In 1947, the British military tribunal in Hamburg condemned 14 Gestapo agents to the death penalty and four to imprisonment for the murder of Roger Bushel and the 49 others.

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