WWI: Escape from ‘Hellminden’

The Iola Reads program is offering a chance to read "The Grand Escape" about a daring breakout from a World War I prisoner of war camp in Germany. A documentary about the event was shown at the Iola Public Library on Tuesday.



March 8, 2023 - 1:47 PM

A display of photos and letters home draws the attention of patrons at the Iola Reads event at the Iola Public Library on Tuesday evening. The display will be available until Friday. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Escape is a form of resistance. 

During World War I, prisoners of a German war camp spent nine months digging a tunnel 180 feet long, 2 feet wide and just 16 inches deep. Then, they had to travel 150 miles through German villages and countryside to find freedom in Holland.

In the summer of 1918, 10 men succeeded in their mission to escape Holzminden, better known as “Hellminden.” It was one of the most daring prison escapes ever recorded and inspired historical nonfiction author Neal Bascomb to pen “The Grand Escape: The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century.”

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