How board game helped free POWs

Posted on December 8, 2007 

How board game helped free POWs

Park Place, Boardwalk, and a hidden map with a secret escape route? For Allied POWs during World War II, Monopoly® games came equipped with real-life “get out of jail free” cards.

During World War II, the British secret service hatched a master plan to smuggle escape gear to captured Allied soldiers inside Germany. Their secret weapon? Monopoly boxes.

The original notion was simple enough: Find a way to sneak useful items into prison camps in an unassuming form. But the idea to use Monopoly came from a series of happy coincidences, all of which started with maps.

Wishing to hide this less-than-stellar upholding of the Geneva Convention, they happily welcomed Red Cross aid packages for POWs. So throwing Monopoly games into the care kits along with food and clothing was met with little scrutiny. Monopoly was already a well-known game throughout Europe, and the German guards saw it as the perfect way for their detainees to remain occupied for hours.

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