The story of Colditz, the legendary German prisoner of war camp, which has captured people’s imaginations for decades, is about to be re-told through the eyes of the remaining survivors and their families, in a one-off special documentary for Yesterday.
The hour-long film called Colditz – The Legend will provide a fresh perspective and personal take on the Second World War prison from which no one was meant to escape. It will discover what motivated, scared, and inspired the men who were imprisoned there, and how they coped with daily life behind bars.
The documentary will be broadcast as a pre-cursor to the award-winning 28-part 1970’s drama series Colditz, starring Robert Wagner and David McCallum, which helped to fuel the legend about the daring escapes made by the inmates. This will be the first time in more than 15 years that it will be televised in the UK.
Over the years, Colditz has become a symbol of adventure, heroism, remarkable ingenuity, and determination. The interest surrounding the castle and the prisoners it struggled to keep in continues to capture imaginations today.
The Germans’ plan was to incarcerate all the serial escapees of officer class. In fact, with the arrival of men such as Pat Reid and Airey Neave, they simply created an elite academy for escapology. Overall, 300 officers tried to break free, and of those, 30 made it back home to their own countries.
This more personal take on the legendary prison, aims to bring the story alive to a new generation as well as fascinate devotees. It will shed light on how fake uniforms were made, locks picked and guards bribed.
Colditz – The Legend will paint a vivid picture of daily life inside the prison including how food and messes were organised, and how even small victories over the Germans helped to boost morale and alleviate the unrelenting boredom.
The film will also shed light on how inmates took degrees, staged dramatic productions, and learnt to play musical instruments as part of an orchestra. The son of one prisoner even has a pair of ladies shoes, which his father made for himself, as he often assumed the role of a woman in camp entertainment.
Interviews will be interwoven with actuality, photographs, memorabilia and World War Two footage as well as exclusive 3D animation, providing a unique look at the real Colditz and the human story behind its walls.
As part of Yesterday’s ‘Spirit of 1940’ programming, Colditz – The Legend and the Colditz TV drama series will be shown exclusively on Yesterday from Monday 25 October at 10pm.
(From a press release)