This is from some reminiscences that my uncle Fred Henderson wrote about escaping from a German prison camp during World War II:

In November 1943, the camp in which I was interned in Upper Silesia in Eastern Germany was transferred to a small town north of Belfort in France. As soon as we discovered on studying a map that had been smuggled into the camp that we were only about forty kilometers from the Swiss frontier we could think of nothing but making plans to escape.

There were many circumstances which favored an escape attempt at this time. First of all, we were in a newly constructed barbed wire enclosure which had not been given the thorough once-over that only a prisoner had the patience to carry out. Nevertheless, the Germans had constructed it well, using very large wire, much tougher than I had seen in Germany, which apparently had been obtained from the dismantling of the Maginot Line.

The second big factor for success was the fact of being surrounded by a friendly population of whom eighty or ninety per cent would help us out should we throw ourselves on their charity.

Then began a methodical study of the weaknesses of our prison walls. Two rows of wire with rolled-up coils between would have to be cut through but this could be done in one particular location hidden from the direct view of the guard on duty thirty feet away.

More to follow.

Part I is here.