Month: June 2023

Reading: Johnny Pohe and life in Stalag Luft III by Julio


This recreation is of the layout of the German POW camp Stalag Luft III. During the second world war, many allied forces were captured and put into these prison camps. This particular prison camp is relevant to the current reading work I’m doing. The story is called “Johnny Pohe and the Great Escape”. In the story, Johnny is one of the first Maori pilots. During the war, he is shot down and captured by German forces. Normally, Johnny would have been put in your average German POW camp, where he would have been subjugated to horrible things. Fortunately, Johnny was an officer and was put into Stalag Luft III, an internment camp for officer airmen. The treatment was better than what a regular soldier would experience –  of course the treatment was still terrible but it was a considerable step up. Nonetheless, Johnny and many others wanted to escape. By digging three tunnel systems, some of the men were able to escape. Tunnels Dick and Tom were found by guards, but Harry remained undetected. On the night of the escape, many things went wrong.  People were found by guards, the tunnel entrance was frozen shut and part of the tunnel even collapsed. The few men who made it out, Johnny included, met a terrible fate. They were captured and shot by German soldiers. These men risked their lives in war, they are brave and serve as an inspiration for others.