Entries tagged as 'movie'

Colditz Castle (Oflag IV-C): Movies and TV

Link to Colditz Castle (Oflag IV-C): Movies and TV
Mario Bosch, 1986

Colditz was also the subject of several movies and TV series, including (per Wikipedia):

The Colditz Story (1955):

The prisoners of Colditz are high-spirited and eager to needle the Germans. The escape officer of the British contingent, Patrick Reid (Mills), assists in the escape of other prisoners and finally carries out his own escape. The culmination of his escape, his successful crossing into Switzerland, is not depicted in the film.

Amazon.com lists a Region 2 DVD of the film (which may not work in North America).

TV: (1972-1974):

Almost all of the events depicted in the series, except for dramatic points like the Kommandant's son and Colonel Preston's wife and mother, have a basis in truth. Most of the characters are loosely based on one or several actual persons. The most obvious are Pat Grant (Patrick Reid) and Hauptmann Ulmann (Reinhold Eggers).

TV: (2005) ... though the most interesting comment is on the main Oflag IV-C page:

This tale is much more fictional than its predecessors, with fictional characters and situations that are merely based on real people and events.

(The image isn't related to the movie or TV series; I just wanted to include a pre-restoration view.)

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Movie (1957): The Bridge on the River Kwai

The different work requirement for officers vs. enlisted personnel was a key part of a (fictional) WW2 movie: The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Starting at about 45 seconds into this clip (with the word "officers" a bit garbled):

Time is short. All men will work. Your officers will work beside you.

The British commander objects, quoting the "other than officers" portion of the Geneva Convention. Neither wants to give in.

Lots more at filmsite ... though the quotes don't seem to match the film.

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Documentary (2001): Prisoners in Paradise (Italian POWs)

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In addition to German POWs, the U.S. held about 51,000 Italian POWs during WW2.

Some are covered in an award winning documentary film. According to the film's website:

Featuring rare period footage of POW camps, "Prisoners in Paradise" follows six Italian POWs (and the women they met in America) on their extraordinary journey—full of challenges, love, perseverance, and good luck. Captured primarily in Northern Africa—where they had been surviving on hard biscuits and water—the Italian POW’s were uniformly amazed at the abundance of food in the USA and the generosity of their captors.

Interesting to note:

Shortly after the bulk of the Italian POW’s arrived, Italy officially switched sides in the war, and over ninety percent of the POWs agreed to collaborate with the Allied war effort.

The site includes a clip (4:54) from the film.

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Movie (1963): The Great Escape

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There are plenty of movies to cover. This one is probably the most famous: "The Great Escape" starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough. It is based on the true story of a group of Allied POWs who escaped from Stalag Luft III.

According to its IMDb plot summary:

The Nazis, exasperated at the number of escapes from their prison camps by a relatively small number of Allied prisoners, relocates them to a high-security "escape-proof" camp to sit out the remainder of the war. Undaunted, the prisoners plan one of the most ambitious escape attempts of World War II.

According to this site, many of the scenes are true to life, though with the usual composite characters and mixed-up timelines.

release date: 1963, on DVD 2004
list price: $19.98
format: DVD
run time: 172 minutes

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Documentary (2004): The Enemy in Our Midst: ... Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Link to Documentary (2004): The Enemy in Our Midst: ... Michigan's Upper Peninsula

WMNU-TV in Michigan has posted a viewer's guide (PDF) for the 2004 award winning documentary called "The Enemy in Our Midst: Nazi Prisoner of War Camps in Michigan's Upper Peninsula."

They also offer a booklet called POW Camps in the U.P. (PDF), which contains original articles cited in the documentary.

According to their site:

From 1944 to 1946, the German prisoners called five POW camps in the Upper Peninsula home: Camps AuTrain and Evelyn in Alger County, Camp Raco in Chippewa County and Camps Sidnaw and Pori in Houghton County. Brought in under a cloak of secrecy by the U.S. Army, the prisoners eventually encountered local residents, who were reluctant to accept the POWs.


The project, which took two years to complete, contains many scenes shot throughout the Upper Peninsula. Also included in the 161-minute documentary are hundreds of historic photos, vintage film and interviews with local residents who had encounters with the POWs.

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Documentary (2003): The Enemy Within

Link to Documentary (2003): The Enemy Within
National Film Board of Canada

Here's another good documentary: The Enemy Within (52:04).

Filmmaker Eva Colmers follows her father's story - Theo Melzer - who spent three and a half years in a POW camp in Lethbridge, Alberta. Growing up in Germany, she had always been puzzled by her father's fond memories of his POW life, so when she moved to Canada, she set out to rediscover this story. What she found surprised her. Watch as Theo Melzer, along with other POWs, recount how their lives were changed by the unexpected respect and dignity they received at the hands of their Canadian captors.

Lethbridge, AB is about 500 km (310 miles) south of Wainwright, AB.

Watch online for free, courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada. It's well worth your time.

title: The Enemy Within
filmmaker: Eva Colmers
release date: 2003
list price: free!
run time: 52:04 minutes

Related Posts:
   1. Wainwright Internment Camp No. 135 - more details (Sep 27, 2010)
   2. "Epilogue" (Sep 13, 2010)
   3. "A Brilliant Escape" (Jul 12, 2010)
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Movie (1957): The One That Got Away

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Based on the 1956 book by Kendal Burt and James Leasor, The One That Got Away chronicles the true story of Oberleutnant Franz von Werra.

An interesting site on "Aces of the Luftwaffe" provides some details:

Von Werra was captured and imprisoned in England. He twice attempted to escape...but was recaptured both times. After his second failed escape attempt, von Werra was sent to a prison camp in Canada. He managed to escape...and made his way through the USA, Mexico, South America and Spain to reach Germany...Von Werra was the only German prisoner of war held by the British to successfully escape and return to his homeland.

(The US was neutral at the time.)

release date: 1957, on DVD 2008
list price: $14.98
format: DVD
run time: 106 minutes

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