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Recommended reading list

Something like a hundred books have been written about Colditz: the Castle, the people involved, and, of course, the escapes. I have only a few of those books, but I list them here to give you a flavour of the kinds of books that are out there.

Clicking on a book's name [where a link is available] will take you to a page where you can buy the book on

Maj. P. R. Reid, MBE, MC: The Colditz Story; The Latter Days at Colditz; Colditz, the Full Story; there is also an 'omnibus' edition of The Colditz Story and the Latter Days at Colditz, which [at least in its hardback edition] includes some very atmospheric sketches by Colditz inmate John Watton. Check that it's the hardback edition before you buy.

Airey Neave: They Have Their Exits.

Reinhold Eggers: Colditz, the German Viewpoint; Colditz Recaptured. The latter is a book of stories and first-hand accounts by many of the characters of Colditz legend.

Giles Romilly and Michael Alexander: Hostages at Colditz.

Camera in Colditz, by Ron Baybutt. A collection of wartime photographs of the Castle and its inmates, mainly taken by Hauptmann Hans Lange of the German garrison. Very atmospheric pictures.

Collecting Colditz and its Secrets, by Michael Booker. Michael is a member of the Colditz Society and is widely regarded as one of today's foremost Colditz historians.

Reach for the Sky, by Paul Brickhill. The story of Douglas Bader, the famous 'legless' fighter ace who was a prisoner at Colditz from August 1942.

I also recommend this book, Garden of Beasts, by Jeffery Deaver. Although the book is essentially a crime thriller, it gives a brilliant picture of what it must have been like to have lived in Germany in the mid-1930's. Reading this book will give you a valuable insight into the 'psyche' of Nazi Germany, as well as a good background to understanding how wartime Germany would have worked. Plus it's a fine read in itself, of course, as are all Jeff Deaver's books.

There is also an extensive book list here.


At long last, the BBC have released the entire 70's TV series on DVD. You can buy it from Amazon here.

Video Game

And finally if you would like to try re-enacting some of the escapes and/or just get a feel for what it was like in a prison camp in WWII, then I recommend the Playstation 2 game Prisoner of War by Codemasters. A bit tongue-in-cheek, but although the action is simulated, the excitement is real!