POW editions of Monopoly from WWII included escape kits

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10 Responses to “POW editions of Monopoly from WWII included escape kits”

  1. x says:

    bjacques nailed the obvious headline for this post ‘C. “Monopoly’s Get Out Of Concentration Camp Free Card”.

  2. yotta says:

    Whew! Thanks, MARKY for #1. I was prepared to go ape on anyone who would compromise the important lifeline provided by the IRC. I am glad to see that the British were a bit more circumspect. Now if we could just get the Bush administration to stop trying to hoodwink them….

  3. Randy says:

    A few years back while doing a consulting gig for U.S. Playing Cards I got to visit their in-house museum. The had a display about secret escape maps that they’d imbedded literally inside Bicycle playing cards.

    They also mentioned that technically, that information was still classified – and it was the mid 90′s when I learned about it.

    Of course, a quick search on eBay will find you a replica deck . . .

  4. bjacques says:

    Did it have a “Get Out Of Colditz Free” card?

  5. tishykb says:

    i think this made my day. i <3 history

  6. Marky says:

    Both Foot (MI 9: Escape and evasion, 1939-1945) and Shoemaker (The Escape Factory: The Story of Mis-X) say that the Red Cross was never used for “loaded” supplies. They created their own false charities because they didn’t want the official packages tainted in any way.

  7. Bark Shanty says:

    Another flaw in this story… 35,000 escaped prisoners? There were only about 120,000 American POWs in WWII in all theaters of the war. The Great Escape, which sent Germany into an uproar, was over 79 prisoners who got out… there were never 35,000 escaped prisoners of war.

    Which makes one wonder, where did this bogus story come from, and what makes it “newsworthy” today? Something smells here…

  8. The Mad Hatter says:

    Well, if Bark is right, that would be pretty crappy journalism on part of WSJ..

  9. Lilah says:

    At #2:

    Who said all of the escapees were American? Monopoly was an international sensation, with versions being printed in multiple languages/countries.

  10. MiCroStoogE says:

    I read this story years ago — I think it was in an issue of Popular Mechanics from the early ’60s.

    From what I remember, Marky was right — the British Secret Service set up a phony charity to distribute items like this, rather than using the Red Cross.

    And I also agree with Bark — the only way you could get 35,000 escaped prisoners is if you counted everyone who walked away from a camp in the last few days of the war if/when the guards deserted to save their own skins.

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