This book tells the remarkable story of the Great Escape made by British, Commonwealth and Allied prisoners-of-war from Stalag Luft III in March 1944, the brutal murder of fifty of the recaptured RAF officers by the Gestapo on the personal orders of Hitler, the story of those recaptured and sent to concentration camps and the subsequent complex post-war investigation carried out by the Royal Air Force Police Special Investigation Branch, which identified those responsible ~ all the way from German High Command down to the Gestapo executioners who carried out their orders.
The wanted men from the Gestapo and Kriminalpolizei (Criminal Police) who survived the war were swiftly hunted down in the chaos of worn-torn Europe, rounded up as war criminals by the small but dedicated RAF Police investigation team and later brought to justice in Hamburg. Sixteen of those found guilty by the International and British War Crimes Tribunal were sentenced to death and were hanged at Nuremberg and Hamburg, while a further four were hanged by the authorities in Czechoslovakia for a variety of war crimes against humanity.Others found guilty by the tribunals of complicity received various terms of imprisonment.
Regrettably, a change in British government policy in 1948 prevented others who had been arrested by the RAF Police from being prosecuted by the International War Crimes Tribunal and in most cases they walked away as free men, in spite of the blood on their hands.
This remarkable war crimes investigation, the only one of its kind entrusted to a British military police force, began at the end of hostilities in 1945. Over 23 years later, in 1968, one of the last suspects in the case was traced and convicted by a West German Court for his part in this infamous wartime mass murder.