Amazingly we are able to gain a fascinating insight into the Commando’s time at Colditz due to two diaries that were kept: one by their ‘Jailer’ and another by one of those “Jailed”.
On the German side Corporal Georg Martin Schädlich, known by the Colditz prisoner community as “The Ferret” or the “Corporal with the keys” kept a diary throughout his time at Colditz and thus covers the period of the Musketoon Commandos. The British said Schädlich could ‘sniff out a tunnel’ and had a begrudging respect for his powers. Although some may have considered Colditz to have been an ‘easy billet’ for the Germans this was not to last for Schädlich and later in the war he was to lose his life in Italy, dying of a wound to the stomach. Thankfully his family kept his diary and many years later this intriguing journal was published by his grandson, Thomas Schädlich.
It is Schädlich who is the link to the Commando’s Diary as it was he who was to come into very close contact with the Commandos and supervise their captivity – and it was he who was referred to in their diary as their ‘good man’. Finally, it was Schädlich who kept hold of the Commando Diary once they were taken away to Berlin.
On the Commando’s side a diary was kept by one of the youngest Musketoon Commandos, 20 year old Eric Curtis. Curtis was able to provide short annotations of his time between being captured and arriving at Colditz as well as their time at Colditz. In his own words we can see the physical and mental state this brave young man was in during his time in captivity and gives us a unique insight into his thoughts.
Below are photographs of four of the five individuals named in the diaries.
Schädlich, Teichert, Barry & Curtis