8th November 23
In October half term, 40 students accompanied by five members of staff, spent five days in Berlin learning more about the history of the Holocaust and the Cold War. At many of the sites visited, we were fortunate to have knowledgeable guides who gave us great insights into the historical significance of these sites. At the German concentration camp of Sachsenhausen we learnt about the experiences of the different types of prisoners incarcerated there. An interactive workshop at the House of Wannsee provided an opportunity to understand how the persecution of the Jews developed and culminated in the decision being made for the Final Solution of the Jewish problem. It was hard to comprehend how such a decision could be made in such calm and peaceful surroundings. The Holocaust Memorial visit was an opportunity to reflect on the impact of this decision made at Wannsee. Visiting the Topography of Terror allowed us to gain an appreciation of the role of the perpetrators of this genocide.
Studying the Cold War for GCSE allowed history students to see the location of one of the confrontations between East and West during the Cold War at Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Memorial site allowed a greater understanding of the impact of the construction of the Berlin Wall. The interactive DDR Museum was an opportunity to gain a better understanding of what life behind the Iron Curtain was like and from the heights of the TV Tower in the former East Berlin, we were able to see the city of Berlin from a different angle. One of the highlights of the trip was an evening visit to the Reichstag Dome. The students certainly deserved a rest after returning having walked 40 miles in five days but walking certainly allowed them to see more of the city, such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Roma and Sinti and Book Burning memorials.
There was still some time for a morning shopping trip to the Alexa shopping centre and the food court was very popular on several days. We would certainly recommend this trip for students in the future for the appreciated of its history and for friendships being made and developed.