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In Hanover in 1918, the Holzminden POW camp was ruled with an iron fist by camp commandant Karl Niemeyer, a man with a reputation for cruelty. A group of British officers set out to free themselves from the tyrant with techniques that would later be used in the escape of 1944. These included using cutlery as digging tools to create a tunnel and bed slats to shore it up. The ventilation system, essential to the men’s survival, was a feat of ingenuity. On the evening of July 24th, 29 men made it through the tunnel and vanished into Germany, many aiming for neutral Holland. The 10 who made it back to Britain were hailed as heroes and inspired a nation.
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