Ireland’s Alcatraz | historywithatwist

Spike Island, outside Cork Harbour

They sat clothed from head to toe in black, a veil covering their faces, leaving only their eyes visible to look out at the cold limestone walls around them. Their bones ached and their flesh was r…

Source: Ireland’s Alcatraz | historywithatwist

March 24, 1944 Tom, Dick and Harry – Today in History

For those of us of a certain age, this story is very familiar even if only from the film, The Wooden Horse (1950).  Today in History‘s article may provide details you didn’t previously know.

Barracks were built on pilings to discourage tunnelling, creating 24” of open space beneath the buildings. Seismic listening devices were placed around the camp’s perimeter. In the German mind, the …

Source: March 24, 1944 Tom, Dick and Harry – Today in History

How Millions Of Secret Silk Maps Helped POWs Escape Their Captors in WWII | Atlas Obscura

A “Mark III” military escape kit, with a silk map peeking out. OSHER MAP LIBRARY AND SMITH CENTER FOR CARTOGRAPHIC EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

Imagine it’s 1942, and you’re a member of Britain’s Royal Air Force. In a skirmish above Germany, your plane was shot out of the sky, and since then you’ve been hunkered down in a Prisoner of War camp. Your officers have told you it’s your duty to escape as soon as you can, but you can’t quite figure out how—you’ve got no tools and no spare rations, and you don’t even know where you are.

One day, though, you’re playing Monopoly with your fellow prisoners when you notice a strange seam in the board. You pry it open—and find a secret compartment with a file inside. In other compartments…

Source: How Millions Of Secret Silk Maps Helped POWs Escape Their Captors in WWII | Atlas Obscura

A fool on a hill…: The House by the Lake, by Thomas Harding

housebylakeThomas Harding’s grandparents were originally called Hirschowitz, and they were Jews who managed to escape from Hitler’s Germany just before escape pretty much ceased to be an option. They were relatively fortunate; most of their family got out too. When they came to England, Erich refused to…

Source: A fool on a hill…: The House by the Lake, by Thomas Harding

The night I helped my mother escape North Korea | World news | The Guardian

Originally posted in The Guardian.

Hyeonseo Lee’s mother carries her, aged three, on her back

‘She had been the rock of our lives’: Hyeonseo Lee’s mother carries her, aged three, on her back

I set my phone to silent, dressed myself entirely in black and walked calmly and purposefully through the hotel lobby. Outside I hailed a cab and directed the driver to take me to the point where the town ended, about 200 yards from the river. There, at the end of a row of low buildings, was the derelict house among the trees where I was to meet my mother and brother. I crouched down behind an old garden wall and waited. The place was cold and damp and smelled of mouldering leaves and animal droppings. I peeped over the wall and saw North Korean border patrols passing on the opposite bank of the river. In the half-tones beneath the trees, I felt camouflaged.

The sunset looked ominous, a palette of murky reds and yellows. On the other side of the water Hyesan seemed lifeless, a city dug from rock, or an intricate cemetery. A place of ghosts and wild dogs.

Min-ho had told me he would lead our mother waist-high through the water and help her up one of the ladders on the Chinese bank. The water must be freezing.

I checked the time on my phone every minute for an hour. Night had fallen like a cloud of ash. I could see nothing on the other…

via The night I helped my mother escape North Korea | World news | The Guardian.