The efforts of the committee are directed at reactivating the now barren landscape where The Great Escape took place. It is hoped that doing so will rekindle the memory of this extraordinary event. It will also allow for the education of new visitors by encouraging them to experience the site and consequently the story for themselves.
Thanks to the work of Mr. Bartelski in London, England, and the Museum of Martyrology of Allied POWs in Zagan, Poland, land has been designated for the establishment of the memorials. Three phases are envisioned. Phase 1 aims to establish the memorial markers at the entrance and exit of the tunnel where The Great Escape took place. The aim is to unveil Phase 1 in 2004, the 60th Anniversary of The Great Escape. Phase 2 aims to build a small chapel as a place for visitors to gather and pay their respects. Phase 3 envisions the final landscape pieces at the site including a viewing tower of the entire site of the camp and an outdoor landscape piece. Each piece will naturally draw the visitor to the next, moving through the forest from one piece to another.
As you can imagine such a project will take up copious amounts of time and a relatively large amount of money, the first we are all willing to give freely the latter is a bit more involving. We have approximately 12 months to raise the necessary funds for phase 1 of the project the lasting memorial to the 50 who were shot.
In November 2001, Carrie Tobolski the Grand Daughter of Pawel Tabolski who was one of the 50 airmen shot and Calgary architect, Ryan Scarff travelled to Zagan, Poland and met with the Mayor, the Zagan Municipal Council and the Cultural Minister to discuss the project. Full written support was granted to pursue this project.
Ryan Scarff is a graduate of Dalhousie University, completed the design of the monuments as his Architectural Masters Thesis.
The memorial landscape park consists of five buildings/monuments in total including a tower, a chapel, the tunnel entrance consisting of an underground sky pavilion, the tunnel exit memorial and an outdoor landscape piece. Construction is scheduled to begin in the autumn of 2003 with the unveiling for the 60th Anniversary of the Great Escape planned for the spring of 2004.
Currently the International Great Escape Memorial Committee is actively pursuing interested third parties to assist in the financing of this project. Poland has agreed to provide manpower resources to assist with the research and construction for this project. It is the responsibility of the Great Escape Memorial Committee to secure all financing for this project.
So as you can see a lot of work has to been done between now and the unveiling of the memorial in 2004. However small with the support of you, your organisation, its members or readers this project will become feasible, and a lasting reminder of the sacrifices made 60 years ago to give us the life styles that we enjoy today will established.
The nationalities of the 50 were as follow:-
South African 4
New Zealand 2
Further details can be found on the The Great Escape Memorial Project web site http://www.thegreatescapememorialproject.com/index.html
Thank you for your time.
Ian Le Sueur
La Route Orange
00 44 1534 490120
Memorial to the Great Escape Zagan Poland.