Oflag IV-C: The Celebrity Fit Club of German POW Camps
Camp guards collected so much escape equipment that they established a “Kommandant’s Escape Museum”. Local photographer Johannes Lange took photographs of the would-be escapers in their disguises or re-enacting their attempts for the camera… Security officer Reinhold Eggers made them a regular part of Das Abwehrblatt, a weekly magazine for the German POW camps.
Oflag IV-C was the Celebrity Fit Club of German prisoner-of-war camps during the Second World War. “Celebrity” because the camp hosted the VIP contingent of Allied POWs, mostly relatives of high-ranking Allied politicians. “Fit Club” because the lengths to which the camp inmates went in their attempts to escape are on the level of the absurd physical challenges faced by the show’s contestants. The difference, I suppose, being that they were POWs trying to escape to freedom, instead of rehab washouts trying to reignite their 15 minutes of fame performing dog tricks in front of a national audience.