Useful Reference & Background Books

Colditz: The German Side of the Story by Reinhold Eggers
Alternately titled: "Colditz", "Colditz Recaptured", "Colditz The German Viewpoint"

Captain Reinhold Eggers was the German security officer at Colditz. He was also the only English-speaker among the Germans at Colditz, thus was involved in every interaction with the prisoners or between the Senior Officers and the Kommandant serving as translator. Eggers kept journals of the events and is responsible for keeping the "escape museum" at Colditz (any escape-related photo or paraphernalia you see of Colditz are due to Eggers). This 'other side' perspective on the war, prisoners, escapes, etc., is the most valuable I've encountered. Editing notes by such known figures as Patrick Reid add to Eggers' account — it's clear the British ex-prisoners don't believe all of Eggers' claims and comments. Eggers, himself, spent ten years in a Russian prison after the war for war crimes — specifically for cooperating with the Gestapo as Colditz was meticulous in adhering to the Geneva Convention. Multiple copies available at [GSJessica]

Fight For the Sky: Story of the Spitfire and Hurricane by Douglas Bader

Douglas Bader was an RAF pilot who had lost both legs in a flying accident before the war. He flew during WWII until he was shot down and captured. Bader was held at Colditz, from which he escaped. [GSJessica]

Pastoral by Nevil Shute

Fiction. A novel set in, and written in, the early years of the air war (before the US entered the war). "Pastoral" is the story of RAF bomber pilots focusing on their time off-duty. It's poignant and often heart-breaking. Some excellent flying scenes and scenes of bombing raids. Extremely authentic — Nevil Shute was a flier, aircraft engineer, and participant. [GSJessica]

Pied Piper by Nevil Shute

Fiction. A novel set in France at the time of the invasion by Germany and written within a year of the event. Very authentic. It's the story of an elderly British man trying to make his way back to England across France as the German army rolls through. The flavor and setting of the times and places, as well as first-hand attitudes, is vividly clear. [GSJessica]

Reach For the Sky: The Story of Douglas Bader by Paul Brickhill

Biography of Douglas Bader. In one of these two Bader books I saw a German propaganda photograph of Bader after he was captured. He was sitting in a German fighter plane, with many German officers around. One, who was covering Bader with a pistol, is the spitting image of Col. Klink. [GSJessica]

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