During the February half-term GCSE History students from Years 10 and 11 embarked on a tour of the German capital. Over the course of the four day trip over thirty students explored some of the city’s famous Nazi and Cold War landmarks, including the Reichstag and Berlin Wall.
Here Year 10 student Laura shares with us the impact visiting Berlin had on her.
“On the evening of arrival, we met our brilliant tour guide, Nigel, who took us on an evening walk around some of the local monuments such as the Reichstag. Later that evening we settled into our accommodation, the Meininger Hotel. Our first full day of the historical tour began with an early start at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. This tour was an eye-opening and humbling experience that connected with each and every one of us. It was very apparent that none of us had truly understood the horrors of the war beforehand, as we had never had the opportunity to see or hear at first-hand the brutality of Nazi punishment. After this humbling experience, we were soon back to the hustle and bustle of Berlin today as we went for lunch, and many of us encountered for the first time the delights of the German schnitzel.
Later we moved on to two short visits, one being to a prison with a place of execution, and the other was Schloss Cecilienhof (famous for being the location of the Potsdam Conference 1945). Day 3 commenced with a visit to the memorial of Trains to Life, Trains to Death, which remembered the children of the Kinder Transport moving west and the ones that were left behind. This was followed with the observation of a few memorials on the way to the German Historical Museum, where we had the opportunity to read and explore more about Nazi Germany, and its aftermath. Also that day we were fortunate to get the opportunity to venture up the prominent skyline TV Tower, which gave us a great view of Berlin and visited famous parts of the Berlin Wall, like Checkpoint Charlie.
On our final morning, we went to the Berlin Olympic Stadium, which hosted the 1936 Summer Olympics, as well as the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It was a lovely destination to finish the trip with, as we had the chance to sit and admire the stunning stained glass, whilst reflecting upon the lives that were lost during the war and appreciating the unique insights that Berlin had provided us with. It was a great opportunity to visit popular venues and the iconic historical sites of this amazing city. This tour was such a memorable experience, and I believe that I speak for all students when I say thank you to all the teachers for making it possible.”