Nobody likes to be in prison. There are also prisons built for it, it is meant as a penitence setting, that is, a “punishment” for bad behavior. However, some convicts have taken so much trouble catching up on everything to escape. The result, spectacular escape attempts, which are usually discovered before the prisoner (s) really can walk the free world. But sometimes it is possible, sometimes the criminals (or prisoners of war) know how to conquer their guards, with freedom as a reward.
Of course, in the last centuries, there have been quite a few prison attacks, and the best, most bizarre, biggest or otherwise famous or infamous escapees are in this list. We begin in the distant past (read about four centuries ago) and gradually return to the present age, to end with the King of Disappearances, completely against expectations in an ordinary Danish.

10. Hugo de Groot (seventeenth century)


Hugo de Groot was a lawyer and writer who was born in Delft (April 10) in 1583. De Groot wrote mostly tragedies and poems, but also religious dissertations, and his most important work, legal texts. He wrote a book on the Law of War and Peace (The Jure Belli Ac Pacis) and on everyone’s right to free access to the sea (Mare Liberum). He is, as a lawyer, one of the most important ‘early’ lawyers.
He was a miracle child sent to Leiden University at eleven years old. At a later age he became a lawyer and traveled as a diplomat to many European countries (France, England, Spain). However, in 1610 he became involved in a religious wisdom, choosing Jacobus Arminius’s side. He was finally arrested in 1618 because of this connection and locked in Castle Loevestein with the sentence “eternal prisons.”Given that women did not spend much time, and the Great, despite his sentence, was a well-known man who had to be given a certain “state of life” if his wife and maid were to share his sentence.
Hugo also had to study, so he regularly received a large chest full of books, which received the soldiers from a family who handed the books to the Great. Hugo’s wife saw the light, and her husband left the chest to practice. Evening tonight Hugo practiced to sit in the chest and stay quiet for a long time. After two years (in 1621), the Great, escaped and quiet as a mouse, escaped in a chest for study books.Elsina, the maidservant, went with the coffin (and her boss) to see if everything went well. And everything went well. Hugo escaped at the casket at the right time, leaving the country via Antwerp, and later traveled to Paris.
The story is so famous that coffins can be admired in different places, which historians say is the casket of Hugo’s escape. Hugo himself later returned to The Netherlands, but refused to give a plea for himself because he did not think he had done anything wrong. Milder of disposition than his predecessor, Frederik Hendrik decided to “banned” only the stubborn Great. Hugo worked for a while as a councilor for the young Queen Christina of Sweden, but the cold climate did not work him well and he ended his life in the more southern Lubeck.

9. Jack Sheppard (eighteenth century)


We jumped forward in time to the eighteenth century, and to England. Jack Sheppard was born on March 4, 1702, and he was a notorious thief in his short time on earth (he died at the age of 22 on the scaffold). Not pleased with his shameful existence, Jack decided to become a thief in 1723, and in his short but powerful career he was arrested five times. Four times he managed to escape.
Because of his own background (he was born and raised in one of London’s poorest neighborhoods) and his luck escaped, Jack was quite popular among the poor. This made the English judicial power nervous. The people had to be kept small, and so Jack was sentenced and suspended in Tyburn, the fifth time he was captured, in a place where all such executions took place. But not before a little money was earned to him. He was so famous that the prison guards could ask money for rich citizens to see him, with a 150 kilo heavy ball on his leg.
The famous writer Daniel Dafoe wrote a biography, saying with permission and input from Jack himself, published during his execution. Obviously, this somewhat morbid timed book became extremely popular, and dramatically made for the large population who could not read. However, even after his death, the authorities were still afraid of the riot that Jack could bring about, and hence games were banned in his name or honor. Nothing is obviously better for publication and fame than a good ban …


8. Slawomir Rawicz, forty-four


Slawomir Rawicz was born in Poland in 1915 and was arrested by Russian secret service just after the Germans entered Poland. He was first sent to Kharkov for questioning, and later to Lubyanka prison in Moscow, but nothing was interesting about his lips, and so he was eventually sentenced for espionage, and for 25 years sent intensive work to Siberia. He and thousands of other ‘spies’ were sent to Irkutsk and from there they had to walk to camp 303, which had to be built by them. All in a Siberian Tundra climate.
On April 9, 1941, Rawicz escaped with six other prisoners in the midst of a storm. In a mad journey for freedom, the group is heading for the South, avoiding all contact with civilization. Meanwhile, they encountered another Polish lady, also in flight, called Krystyna. They crossed the Lena River days later, walked around the Baikal lake and crossed the border to Mongolia. There they had to cross the Gobi desert, and this would be fatal Krystyna and another companion named Makowski. The others survived on snakes, and ultimately they were rewarded for a long time with a view of the Tibetan mountains.With the somewhat lied leery that they were “pilgrims” on their way to the holy city of Lhasa, they were received with open arms. That winter they tried to cross the Himalayas, but they lost another companion. However, that was the last victim because after that, in 1942, they finally reached India, what if British territory was safe for them.
The movie The Way Back is based on Rawicz’s memorabilia, written in the book ‘The Long Walk’. Both are available and very interesting to read or see if you have the time.

7. Alfred Wetzler, World War II


Alfred Wetzler, a Slovak Jew born in 1918, is one of the few (known) Jews who escaped from Auschwitz (a Nazi kill camp for Jews). He and his co-founder Rudolf Vrba reported after their escape an accurate schedule of the internal structure of the kill camp. The report became known as Vrba-Wetzler, and it is the first detailed report that broke out to the allies of the West and was considered credible. This ultimately resulted in the bombing of Hungarian government buildings, in an effort to prevent the Nazis from deporting more Jews to Auschwitz. This has indeed saved some 120,000 Hungarian Jews a terrible death.
But well, the escape itself, we started with this list. Wetzler and Vrba escaped into the holly of the night by hiding in a hollowed-out shelter in a pile of wood just outside the arrivals hall. They got help from fellow prisoners, stacking timber around Wetzler and Vrba to keep them from hiding. They also smelly Russian tobacco and gasoline and on the pile of wood to plot the watchdogs. Wetzler and Vrba stayed in that shelter for four nights, before strolling with stolen clothes to the river. With a torn childrens page as the only orientation material, she knew a path to freedom, then writing their important and life-saving report. Presumably, they would have liked to see that the reaction to their revelation was more direct to the prisoners themselves, but unfortunately that was not included. Auschwitz itself was released only January 27, 1945, by the Russian Red Army.

6. The Great Escape, the Second World War


Stalag Luft III was a German prison camp for paramilitary allies. Roger Bushell disagreed with his prison conditions, and led from this war camp to one of the greatest escape attempts at all times. The plan was simple, three tunnels would be dug from prison to the free world. The tunnels had code names, Tom, Dick and Harry. Because the Germans were not from yesterday, the tunnels had to be nine feet deep, otherwise microphones could detect the dug. To save time, the tunnels were not too wide, about 37 centimeters were sufficient. Fortunately, all prisoners were completely demolished because of the lack of food, so this was not a problem.
One difficulty was to ensure enough oxygen for the digger as the tunnels became longer. With nothing but inventiveness, the paramilitaries built some kind of pump, and an electrical wire was installed, so that light could be created in the darkness. Even a mini rail was not taken too far for these soldiers, and so the sand was quickly removed.
Harry was almost ready early March 1944 but the fate struck, the soldiers of that section would suddenly be transferred to another facility. Thus, action had to be taken before they were actually deported. It was time to wait for a new moon, and finally it was on March 24th, the attempt started.
Unfortunately, the tunnel was too short. Instead of ending in the forest, the escaped soldiers appeared a few meters before the tree line from the earth. Nevertheless, 76 soldiers could cross the tunnel unprecedented. The 77th, however, was spotted by one of the guards, followed by a hunt. Only 3 men out of 76 managed to escape. Fifty were shot down and the rest was returned to the camp.

5. Alfred “Alfie” Hinds, the 50’s


Alfred (or Alfie) Hinds was born in 1917 and grew up in a children’s home after his father, a thief, died of the corporal punishment he was given. At the age of seven, Alfie ran away from the hostel and was arrested for teenage years later for small theft. His first escape was Borstal, an institute for young criminals.
Not strange, because of his experience with the government, Alfred was not filled with fatherland love, and soon deserted during World War II. He instead continued his criminal practices, and was eventually arrested for a jewel theft in 1953. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison despite his plea for innocence.That did not suit him well, and some time later he escaped from the Nottingham Prison, across (apparently) closed doors and a 6 meter high wall. The press titled him with the name: Houdini Hinds.
Escape was his thing, but the government’s claws do not stay, because in 1956 he was arrested again after no years of freedom. In the subsequent trial (in which Alfie accused the prison of illegal arrest), Alfie once again escaped by closing his two guards in a toilet break during a break. Unfortunately, he was taken prisoner again 5 hours after his escape.
His third escape was from Chelmsford Prison, not a year later. He returned to Ireland again and took a different identity. Unfortunately, he was arrested for possession of an unregistered car and again he was stolen behind bars.
Throughout this time, Alfie had also advocated his own case by sending letters to the British House of Appeal repeatedly. He also sold his life story to the newspaper News of the World, for a small 40,000 pound. A nice income. In 1960 he was eventually sentenced to the Parkhurst prison for the last six years, where he remained neat until his six years had ended. Alfie died on January 5, 1991.

4. Alcatraz, the 60’s


Alcatraz is America’s most famous prison. It is a penitentiary in the Bay of San Francisco, and so-called escape-proof. Fourteen attempts, with about 34 involved, prove this fact, all of them failed. However, in 1937 and in 1962, the prisoners failed to be captured or shot down during their attempt. The official suspicion is that these escaped convicts have nevertheless died, in the ice-cold bay water, but their bodies have never been found, and therefore we can not say anything with certainty. It may be that she succeeded.
On June 11, 1962, Frank Morris and the Anglin smuggled brothers to escape their burrowing cells. Then they veered a road through the bars and escaped through an air shaft, sewer pipe and across an iron fence to the coast of the Alcatraz island where they disappeared on a kind of floating float. They assume they are drowned, but as we said, we are not sure. The story was filmed in 1979 under the name “Escape from Alcatraz” with Clint Eastwood in the lead


3. Maze Prison, 80’s


In Antrim, Northern Ireland, the Maze Prison is a huge penitentiary institution that consists of a plethora of buildings and walls with barbed wire and God knows what to keep in mind for prisoners.The prison is known as the Long Kesh. The Long Kesh was considered escape-resistant, but on September 25, 1983, it was proven to the contrary. The Irish call it the Great Escape, and during this legendary outbreak, no less than 38 IRA members (Irish Republican Army) escaped from prison block H7.
At half past three, the prisoners took over the power of the H block and held the guards as hostages. A prisoner was shot down, the others were kept under fire, but no further harm. When a truck arrived with food supplies, it was overtaken and used to escape. All 38 IRA members thus expelled the maximum guarded prison in a food truck.
19 prisoners were already caught in the following days; so they did not get far. However, the other prisoners knew to avoid detection and disappeared from Ireland. Some of them were later arrested in the United States, and sent back to Ireland. Others continued to enjoy their freedom. By the way, nowadays, none of the detainees are actively prosecuted because of the political “problems” which were initially the cause of these men being locked up. Some even have been granted amnesty.

2. Pascal Payet, the new millennium


Pascal Payet deserves a place in this list, not because of one, but because of two spectacular escapees.He escaped two times from a maximum guarded prison in France, and he did that through a helicopter.In addition, he helped three other judges to do the same trick, again by helicopter.
Payet was convicted of 30 years imprisonment for murder during robbery vanguard in 1997. After his first escape in 2001, he was arrested again and sentenced to an additional 7 years. He escaped a second time, in 2003, but was found again in 2007. In addition, he had changed his face with plastic surgery, but it did not help him, he was recognized.

1. Brian Bo Larsen, recently


We conclude this list with the best escape party of all time, at least when you look at the number of times of escape. Brian Bo Larsen, a Danish, has as many as 22 successful escapees on his name. Of course, we can attribut this to bad surveillance and neglected structures, and perhaps the Danish authorities are not as aggressive as in other countries, but nevertheless, so often escape is not all given to everyone.
Sentenced for 7 years imprisonment, Larsen decided in 2005 that it was well-known and he escaped using binoculars. However, every time he escaped he was captured again and returned to escape again a few months later. No year ago, December 22, 2014, he was again taken after his 22nd escape.However, we do not think this will be his last attempt …
His last attempt at freedom was interrupted by an unfortunate wig. He was so happy with his newly regained freedom that he accidentally drove through a fence, high and stolen car, and stopped a number of trees. He ran away from the car (the other passenger, a prostitute, left behind) but was later picked up by the police. He gave a false id. card and was almost safe when accidentally wiped his wig, after which the police officers recognized who they really were dealing with. Unfortunately, Brian was not allowed to enjoy this Christmas this year. But maybe next year?

These were the ten escapees again. And yes, we undoubtedly skipped some that were worth mentioning. Do not hesitate to fill in the comments below!


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