Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday, January 25, 2009

Hey everyone,
We had breakfast in Berlin at 7AM and loaded the bus to head for Zagan, Poland. We traveled for about 4 hours through what was once East German, some large and small Polish towns and got to the prison camp at about 12:30. We viewed the museum, watched a video - very good video, climbed up into the guard tower (exhibit tower in front of museum), climbed into a sample tunnel and then headed to the prison camp. We went to the north, south and west compounds and found what was once the family members barracks. We saw what were once fire pools, barracks, kitchens, and a concrete path that marked the "Great Escape" tunnel. It had engraved stones with all of the Great Escapers names placed near the concrete path.

There were 76 that escaped even though they had hoped to get 200 out that evening. Of the 76 that were out, 50 were captured and murdered; 23 were recaptured and taken to camps throughout the region and only 3 got home. The men in the camp stalled being counted to help the men that were out get as far away from the prison camp as possible. This escape caused nearly 1 million Germans to be pulled off the front lines to find the escaped prisoners. Hitler was very angry and wanted to kill all of them. Hermann Goehring told Hitler that they couldn't kill them all as the Allies also held German prisoners.

Tomorrow I will attempt to call at 2PM for a live feed if possible. We will go to the Center Compound and Belaria that is a ways away from the main camp. We will then travel to the next town where some of the POWs rested in a church. It is a town called Itowa (say Ewauva. We will store our gear there and will return to the camp and will march out tomorrow night at 11PM. We will walk 9 miles and in the morning will give a program to the grade school kids at the Cahtolic school in Ilowa. We will then head out in the afternoon and will walk an additional 15 miles.

I will try to upload some photos this evening. Val

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