A Comparison of The Colditz Story and The
By Robin Zimmermann
This essay compares and contrasts The Colditz Story
and The Great Escape. I created in from a suggestion
from my father.
May 17th, 1999
I personally enjoyed most of both books, though I liked The
Colditz Story better.
- One readially apparent point is that they are both escape
stories. They are also both set in German World War II
prisoner-of-war camps dedicated to officers.
- It can also be discerned that Colditz differs from other camps in
several ways. Firstly, it is a castle. Also, it was used mainly to house
recaught escapers. As a side effect of this, it had a far wider spread of
nationalities, and the fact that the prisoners had escaped before meant
that a much larger garrison was required.
- Both camps had numerous failed escape attempts, and the ones that
seemed least likely to be feasible had the best success rate.
- Also concerning escaping, in Colditz only a few left at a time,
while in The Great Escape, there was just one great
- Only a small porportion of those incarcenated in each camp actually
got away. In The Colditz Story, the protagonist,
P. R. Reid, made it out, while his counterpart in The Great
- In both camps, there were people producing escape equipment day and
night, though the people in The Great Escape were able to
get a lot by barter, which only got the P.O.W.s in Colditz a little.
- In both camps, there were people carefully and ingeniously hiding
the escape gear, though the author of The Great Escape
stated how they did it, while the author of The Colditz
Story did not.
- A few prisoners were actually removed from the camps (There were
people mentioned in The Great Escape who were moved to
Colditz!). The author of The Colditz Story, P. R. Reid,
was moved into Colditz at the beggining of his narritive, while the
writer of The Great Escape wasn't moved until the end
of the book, and he was liberated by the Allies before he could be put
in any other camp.
- One thing I noticed was that The Great Escape ended on
quite an unhappy note, for most of the people who escaped got shot and
killed by the Nazis. Fortunately, most of those guilty were caught and
convicted of their crimes.
This report by Robin Zimmermann. It was written on May 17th, 1999, and
converted into HTML on May 19, 1999.