IRJE#1 ‘The Great Escape: Tunnel to Freedom’

Mike Meserole’s The Great Escape: Tunnel to Freedom is about the prisoners of Stalag Luft III creating a massive operation to make 3 tunnels under the prison to escape with 200 men. Most of the book is focused on Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Roger Bushell who is known as the “Big X”. The three tunnels were called Tom, Dick, and Harry. they made three tunnels because the first 2 were meant to be found so that the third would succeed. All the prisoners are scavengy and scandolous after being stuck in there for such a long time, even though they are treated really well. When a Luftwaffe general shows up to the camp in his shiny black Czech Tatra. Von Lindeiner whom is the commandant of Stalag Luft III acompanied him and warned not to let the prisoner near his car but he lets the prisoners look. The Prisoners were very quick to steal from it:

“as you wish, Herr General,” said von Lindeiner, “but please make sure the windows and doors are locked.”

The chauffer was no match for the kriegies. One minute he was accepting a cigarette and answering questions from the German speakers. the next minute he was at the back of the car trying to get rid of several peacetime mechanics who had popped the rear hood to inspect the engine. Meanwhile, someone else had jimmied open the right front passenger door and made off with a pair of gloves, flashlight, three road maps, a tool kit, and the backseat cigarette lighter. A military handbook marked “SECRET” also disappeared befoire the door was closed and locked again. (p.98-99)

Unfortunatly the military handbook had no useful information to help out the prisoners. But this quote does show how quick the prisoners are to steal and come up with small little schemes that can help them distract people to steal from them.

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