Time and History 8:00 P.M. WWII Prison Escape

About major and minor historical events around the clock such as the massive prison escape during World War II which began at 8:40 in the evening.


8:40 in the Evening

Mar. 24, 1944. The greatest mass escape of W.W. II began at Stalag Luft III in what is now Zagan, Poland. A total of 76 Allied airmen dressed as workmen and office workers (and even a German corporal) edged their way along the 320-ft. escape tunnel--the longest built in either of the world wars. As the 76th escapee was about to emerge from the hole, German guards spotted others running into the woods beyond the prison camp. Most of the fugitives were caught within a day, although some got as far south as Munich. The German reprisal for the mass escape was barbaric despite the Geneva Convention's rule respecting the right to escape. Of the 76 escapees, 50 were shot. Later 15 men were returned to Stalag Luft III; 8 were interned inside the notorious Oranienburg concentration camp, where they again tunneled out; and 3 made it back home.

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