I'm reading The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill, which recounts escape attempts from the Stalag Luft III POW camp in Poland during WWII.
Brickhill describes a camp where he and his fellow RAF/AAC pilots were fed, had access to Red Cross packages, we're treated relatively decently by the Germans, and were given a fair degree of freedom (theatre, library, chapel, music, athletics). I am aware that they were indeed prisoners, and that the rations were less than ideal. But Brickhill doesn't write about anyone starving, nor does he write of their captors commiting any atrocities. It seems a very large risk, especially given that they knew the Germans were losing the war.
Why would they try to escape? It was notoriously difficult (soft sand, raised barracks, and seismic microphones to impede tunnelling) and any escapee would have a difficult time getting out of Germany. In addition, anyone caught after would face severe punishment.
Why did these airmen try to escape when their basic needs appear to have been adequately met?