http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 81,4394933
The above link is to a 1944 newpaper photo of escaped German POW Eduard-Heinrich Kiefer. He also used the names Tilman Kiver and later Til Kiwe. He was recaptured in the St. Louis train station after being noticed by an employee because he was dressed strangely. Kiefer had used dye to alter his German uniform. He made at least two other escape attempts, once reaching the Mexican border where he was arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol.
About twenty years later, as German actor Til Kiwe, he played one of the guards in The Great Escape, the blond one who discovers the prisoners popping out of the escape tunnel and who takes a shot at the Steve McQueen character.
Postings to this forum have previously noted that Kiwe, along with several other actors in the movie (most notably Hannes Messemer, "the Komandant", and Donald Pleasance, "the forger"), were POWs in WWII. However Kiwe actually carried out escapes just like those shown in the movie. He had learned English while a student in Baltimore before the war.
Both before and after the war, Kiwe went on anthropology expeditions to Africa, South America and Polynesia. He ended up both as a movie and TV actor in German (and a few American) productions, a documentary film maker about exotic locations, and a theater manager. His natural acting ability, fluency in English, and observation of foreign cultures as an anthropology student, no doubt aided his escape attempts.
Kiwe was also probably the most highly decorated of the actors in The Great Escape, having won the Knight's Cross in North Africa. He died in 1995.