Omitted from the maps for the full duration of the Cold War, this tiny town (current population: 4,500), was at the very heart of the Soviet Union’s military presence in Poland. For decades, no-one knew it existed and that sense of secrecy lingers to this day.
VIDEO: Situated in what is now the Lower Silesian town of Zgorzelec, Stalag VIII-A was first established on the eve of WWII to house Polish prisoners. In total, as many as 100,000 prisoners are thought to have passed through the gates, including composer Olivier Messiaen who wrote his masterpiece Quatuor pour la fin du temps while in captivity there.
Included among the six Polish airmen involved in the escape was Captain Stanisław Król, a Polish Air Force Spitfire pilot who had been shot down over France in 1941.
The Polish Air Force and Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF) in Żagań, west Poland, will mark the March 24-falling 75th anniversary of the World War II mass escape of Allied pilots from a German POW camp in the area.