Clemens Forell is the main character of As Far as my Feet will Carry Me (German: 'So weit die Füße tragen'), a story about a German World War II POW who escapes from a Siberian Gulag in Russia to Iran, and to Germany, in a 3 year odyssey.
The author, Josef M. Bauer stated that he in 1955 had interviewed the real escapee who wished to remain anonymous, thus Bauer has given the character the name "Clemens Forell".
During the winter, Forell escapes from the Soviet GULAG lead mines at Cape Dezhnev (East Cape), Siberia, and spends three years making his 11,000km long way to Iran, by sled, train, and mainly walking. After interrogation by Iranian police, who suspected him of being a Soviet spy, he was identified by his uncle. He arrived home in Munich in December 1952, 3 years and 2 months after escaping.
So weit die Füße tragen was a major success as book, translated in several languages. The 1959 television series, starring Heinz Weiss, was one of German TVs earliest and still biggest events, giving hope to all those who still were waiting for a relative to return home somehow.
In 2001, it was remade as a movie, adding a duel between Forell and a Soviet officer chasing him, ending in a Western-like showdown on a bridge at the Iranian border. Many scenes feature characters speaking Russian language or other foreign languages (Shamanistic cultures in Siberia), without any subtitles, giving the (German and other non-Russian) viewer the feeling of helplessness experienced by the protagonist with his limited knowledge of Russian.
Journalists later had tracked down the original figure, Cornelius Rost (1922-1983), who never wanted to become known due to fear of KGB prosecution.