Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

The 80th anniversary of the «  “The Great Escape” underlined. /></p>
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<p class=British soldiers pay tribute to Allied prisoners of war who tried to escape from a prison camp, 1944 .

Associated Press

Ceremonies were held in Poland on Sunday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Great Escape, an ingenious act of defiance during World War II in which 76 prisoners escaped from a German POW camp into a snow-covered forest .

British soldiers carried photos of pilots murdered on Hitler's orders at a ceremony also attended by the #x27;British ambassador to Poland, and which marked the culmination of events which lasted throughout the weekend.

During World War II, the Nazi prisoner of war camp primarily held Allied airmen, including Canadians, Americans, British and French. An escape plan was drawn up by Committee X. At the time the region was part of Germany, but today is in western Poland .

Sunday's ceremony also included a C-130 Hercules transport plane and four F-16 fighters from the Polish Air Force flying over the city and the ceremony venue, according to Polish media. p>LoadingMathieu Dufour and Philippe-Audrey Larrue Saint-Jacques triumph at the Olivier

ELSEWHERE ON INFO: Mathieu Dufour and Philippe-Audrey Larrue Saint-Jacques triumph at the OlivierLoading in progressMathieu Dufour and Philippe-Audrey Larrue Saint-Jacques triumph at the Olivier

ELSE ON INFO: Mathieu Dufour and Philippe-Audrey Larrue Saint -Jacques triumphs at the Olivier

Most of the soldiers who escaped from Stalag Luft III on the night of March 24, 1944 met a tragic end. Only three managed to get to safety. The others were recaptured and 50 of them were executed.

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Royal Air Force officers imprisoned at Stalag Luft III, in 1944

Although this project largely failed, it became known as The Great Escape and was celebrated in a highly fictionalized 1963 film starring Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough and Charles Bronson.

Most recently, the escape was featured in an episode of the American war drama miniseries Airbenders on Apple TV+.

A new exhibition at the UK's National Archives in London also pays tribute to the escapees.

Prisoners spent a year secretly digging three tunnels named Tom , Dick and Harry. The Germans discovered the first tunnel, but the other two remained.

The plan was to get 200 men out through the Harry Tunnel, but on the night of the escape, the first man out realized the tunnel didn't extend as far beyond the fence as They had planned it. Only 76 inmates managed to escape before a guard noticed footprints in the snow.

Three men – two Norwegian pilots and one Dutch – were the only ones to manage to return to England.

Adolf Hitler was so angered by this escape that' he ordered the execution of the 73 recaptured men, and the Nazis ultimately decided to kill 50 of them – all in violation of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war. Among the executed prisoners were six Canadians.

After the war, the murders of Allied airmen were part of the Nuremberg Trials and several Gestapo officers were convicted to death.

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