Over Half Term, 28 Year 10 and 11 pupils attended a four-day trip to Berlin. As the capital of Germany, Berlin is a modern, vibrant city with a complex past. The people of Berlin experienced great turmoil in the 20th century, including the rise and fall of Nazism and the Cold War that emerged after 1945. Students visited a large number of sites of historical importance and enjoyed modern German culture.
The trip included a city walking tour to view the Reichstag, Germany’s Parliament building, the memorial to murdered Sinti and Roma of Europe, the Brandenburg Gate, Bebelplatz and the German Historical Museum.
The resistance and terror in Nazi Germany was studied during a visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, the Berlin Olympic Stadium, Gleis 17 Grunewald Bahnhof and Wannsee Conference House. And as part of considering life in Nazi Germany, students visited the Fuhrer Bunker, the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, Ku’damm and Breitscheidplatz.
Days three and four saw an introduction to the Cold War, including The Berlin Wall Documentation Centre; the DDR (German Democratic Republic) Museum, The Stasi Prison, Treptow Park Soviet memorial and the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery.
The relevance of this trip was highlighted by a protest march in Berlin on the Saturday we arrived. An estimated 250,000 peaceful protestors marched through the centre of Berlin for a number of reasons, but were united by opposition to the rise of far-right groups in Germany. Students witnessed this march first hand, drawing an important parallel with the events of the past.
Looking back at this trip, students said:
“It was surreal to see the concentration camp in person. It is hard to put into words but being there was really different to reading about it and was incredibly eye-opening.” Daniel
“My favourite site was the Stasi prison which was fascinating because it is something I didn’t know much about before. I learned a lot about how the Stasi operated and what life was like in East Germany.” Phillip
“I liked seeing the protest march first-hand to see how enthusiastic and passionate everyone was. I had seen protests in London before but nothing like this.” Jessica
“I liked the whole atmosphere on the trip. There was a lot of serious history and we learned a lot but there was time to have fun too.” Ellen
“A very moving and interesting trip – 10/10.” Sam
David Chinnock, Head of History