Said to be a "prisoner's Mecca," Holzminden was created during the fall of 1917. Hundreds of POW officers are transferred to this camp, especially those have many escape attempts under their belt. These officers include Caspar Kennard and David Gray.
Officers John Thorn and Wally Wilkins create an escape hatch by cutting through the wooden boards and metal wire in their barracks. On the day they are supposed to leave, Wilkins came down with a fever, so he told officer Reginald Gaskell to go in his place. They reach the outside of the prison walls and are successful. This escape hatch is used many times afterward.
After many failed searches, the guards finally find the hatch and the POWs are punished harshly. The barricades in the barracks are reinforced with an iron sheet, permit passes are instituted for the main gates and elsewhere, instituted for the main gates and elsewhere, windows are nailed shut, the censoring and inspection of letters and parcels intensifies, barbwire fences are raised, barracks are scoured for contraband, and the number of guards increases.