The Escape from Horsens State Prison in 1949

The Break Out from Horsens State Prison in 1949

- An achievement beyond all limits

Carl August amazed many people when his escape and the details of the filled newspaper headlines at the end of 1949. Through 11 months of hard working and digging, he managed to disappear from prison and only the next morning the shocked prison staff discovered that he had performed what everyone meant was impossible - to flee from Horsens State Prison.

Here is a small excerpt from the book - from the chapter about the escape:

Extract from the chapter on the escape in 1949

The days snapped away, the thick walls squeezed around him. Being in isolation was basically a lonely affair. The cellar cell, just over 8 sqm, was extra secured with a double layer of bars for the windows. It was small, spartan decorated and cold, although there was a heater on the wall against the hallway. While Carl August sat and tried to make time go, he thought of a room under the stairs, the stairs that went from the basement and all the way up through the wing he was in. The room under the stairs lay to the right of his cell . 20 years before where the cavity was walled because a prisoner had used it as a hideaway during a flight attempt. As far as he could judge, it would be possible to break through the wall and into the cavity.

Carl August sat on the bed and looked at the wall cabinet, sitting over the little primitive desk. That closet should be the solution. If he removed the back cover of the closet, he would be able to conceal his escape route, break through the wall, and crawl it into the cavity. Then he would be able to work through the outer wall or under the foundation. If he then was able to dig an approx. 18 meter long tunnel under the prison yard, to the buildings that formed the inner prison wall, he was a long step closer to freedom. It was an ingenious plan, but demanded a greater planning and creativity, and it was absolutely not harmless. He felt the adrenaline pump around the body. It was a wild plan, and nothing was just over the course of a night. First, he should only be in the cell for a few weeks, and secondly, as far as he could figure out, take months to complete the digging.

When Carl August had been punished in the isolation cell, he was sent back to the security prisoner section. Now the first challenge came. He would persuade the staff to allow him to return to the basement cell. Carl August asked for permission, and the inquiry came behind management, but Carl August was exceptionally good at argue. He explained it with a deep need for calm and time for thought. The management shook a bit, but why not. The permission was given, and a week later, a very satisfied Carl August returned to isolation cell No. 7. The door slammed and was locked from the outside, and the jailer disappeared on the stairs, where Carl August could hear his heavy steps disappearing up the stairs. Then Carl August breathed up and began a little silent dance of war. Finally, he could begin on his bold but also ingenious plan. It was almost too good to be true. But that was true.

He was now sitting in his own little imaginative universe at the bottom of the prison and was able to think through his plans for the hard-working grave work of the future. It was a bit of playing gambling. Was it possible to get through the wall to the vault. Was it perhaps filled up and when he first went through, how would he get through the foundation of the building, probably consisting of big and untouched stones. Carl August lay on his back in the cell with his hands folded on his stomach as he let the imaginations fly away. He did not know anything about one of today's psychotherapeutic concepts, the visualization of a goal, but that was exactly what he did. For his eyes, the tunnel manifested itself. He saw himself digging and digging, removing soil and other obstacles until he wanted to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the light that illustrated his forthcoming freedom. He could already taste the freedom, feel the light from the sun and feel the wind swallow in his hair as he ran along the road, away from prison, prison guards and the police