Adolf Hitler was said to have been furious when he was told that 79 Allied airmen had broken out of a prisoner-of-war camp in Sagan, eastern Germany, in March, 1944. Only three of them got to England. The rest were recaptured, and 50 of them were shot dead by the Gestapo. In defiance of the Geneva Convention, they were officially posted as having been “shot while trying to escape.”

At the war’s end the RAF determinedly tracked down the murderers. Some 72 Gestapo men were identified. Seventeen were given prison sentences, 11 committed suicide, six had been killed in the war, nine were detained but helped the RAF and were either not charged or acquitted, one claimed asylum in the new East Germany, seven were never traced, and 21 were tried and hanged.

Thirteen of those executed were hanged on Thursday, February 26th, 1948, at Hamelin Prison by Albert Pierrepoint. They were Edward Geith, Joseph Gmeiner, Walter Herberg, Walter Jacobs, Hans Kahler, Johannes Post, Otto Preiss, Dr. Alfred Schimmel, Oskar Schmidt, Johan Schneider, Emil Schutz, Emil Weil, and Erich Zacharis.