Clever. The Allies hid escape maps in Monopoly games for POW’s to use, along with other useful tools. During the course of WWII many allied prisoners of war spent time in German prisoner camps. Though life was far from easy, the captors of the POW’s allowed the families and relief organisations to deliver special care packages to the internees. One of the inclusions in the POW care package was the popular board game, Monopoly. Hidden inside the game were special tool to aid a successful escape. The reason board games and playing cards were permitted inside POW camps was because boredom was one of the biggest problems faced by prisoners, and those who were occupied proved to be less troublesome.
Just because you have been captured by the enemy doesn’t mean that you are out of the war. It is every detainees duty to seek freedom and return to their own army and service. But doing so was difficult and dangerous, but the Monopoly games helped just that little bit. Hidden inside the board games were a map of the prison and its location in the area, a metal file hidden inside the board, a small compass inside one of the play pieces, and German, French and Italian money hidden among the play money.
But Monopoly wasn’t the only form of entertainment the prisoners received that aided in their quest for freedom. Other forms of boredom breakers also carried aids. Such examples were Snakes and Ladders, Chess, table tennis and playing cards.
The allies never used Red Cross parcels to deliver these items for fear of their discovery and a refusal by the Axis powers to deliver them.
It’s believed that the hidden items within Monopoly and other games aided 316 escape attempts from Colditz Castle, which saw 32 men reach the home front.