Author(s): Monty Halls
Some of the most extraordinary stories of courage and endurance in the Second World War concern the freedom trails, the dangerous escape routes out of Nazi Occupied Europe. Over 5,000 British, Commonwealth and American servicemen made the journey over the Pyrenees, the Slovenian mountains and the Italian alps. Many also died en route, killed by the perilous conditions or caught by the German army. In Escaping Hitler:The Freedom Trails Monty Hall recreates the stories of some of the most charismatic figures of the Second World War, men like Major Gordon Lett who escaped a POW camp in Italy and fought behind enemy lines at the head of the International Brigade. He was joined by an SAS team who took on the German army in Operation Galia and then, exhausted and pursued by the enemy, made a perilous escape across the Apennine mountains in Italy. There's also Australian Ralph Churches who orchestrated the mass escape of 100 POWs from Slovenia - the largest successful Allied escape of the entire war. And Len Harley, a Londoner who owed his life to a young Italian girl called Rosina. Monty also describes the bravery of the local people who sheltered POWs and kept the escape routes open - often paying a terrible price. Andree de Jongh risked her life to smuggle men through occupied France, survived being sent to two concentration camps, and has been described by MI-9 as 'the greatest of our war-time agents'. Mixing new research, interviews with survivors and his own experience of walking the trails, Monty brings the past to life in this dramatic and gripping slice of military history.
As seen on Channel 4, this is the incredible story of four escape routes out of Nazi-occupied Europe, of the Allied servicemen who used them, and of the men and women of the Resistance who risked their lives to create and run them.
Monty Halls is an ex Royal Marine, marine biologist, documentary broadcaster, expedition leader and writer. He is best known for his Great Escapes series on BBC2 but has presented series for Channel 4, Channel 5, the History Channel and National Geographic. He is also a speaker and corporate trainer in the area of leadership and team building. He has written several books including The Fisherman's Apprentice and the Monty Halls' Great Escape series, and is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers.