History Trip to Berlin

Published on 25 April 2016

History Trip to Berlin

This Easter 43 History students embarked on a journey to Berlin to enhance their knowledge of Nazi Germany in time for their GCSE exams. After an early start we flew from Heathrow to Berlin Tegel and headed into central Berlin for an historical extravaganza!

We checked into the fabulous Hotel Aletto before heading out for a robust walk towards the Reichstag.  Enjoying a stop off at the magnificent Victory Column for a photo opportunity we walked through the old royal hunting park ‘Tiergarten’ towards the Reichstag. This impressive landmark had been built in the late 19th century to house the newly formed German parliament and was restored by British architect Sir Norman Foster after a fire destroyed the original building in February 1933.  A photo opportunity was enjoyed at Brandenburg Gate while observing the street entertainers and magnificent architecture.  It was interesting to identify some of the many memorials in this area        including one which commemorated the Romany Gypsies executed by the Nazi regime and the newly constructed Holocaust Memorial.  Everywhere you turned there was a valuable reference to the city’s heritage, before, during and after the dark years of Nazi rule.  An authentic German  dinner of schnitzel before a lively U-Bahn journey back  ended a full day subsequently named as #30,000steps.

 =The second day saw our group travel to the House of the Wannsee Conference, a location renowned as the meeting place of Nazi officials who planned the Final Solution in January 1942. This afforded students the opportunity to reflect upon the decisions taken by Nazi command to execute 6 million Jews.  We followed this museum visit with a trip to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp where we experienced the horrific living conditions in the camp and toured the remains of the centre for extermination which included gas chambers. Students were inspired by the engaging narrative from expert guides who brought the  reality of camp life alive.

Friday morning saw a more languid approach with a coach tour of the city. Our guide JB also took us to a museum dedicated to the resistance where we commemorated the sacrifices made by the Kreislau Circle, who attempted to assassinate Hitler in 1944, as we witnessed the site of their executions.  A highlight was a trip out to the Eastside Gallery – a 1.3km section of the Berlin Wall which has been decorated by 106 artists. It was interesting to witness the huge investment in construction and renovation by the German government, and also the contrasts between Imperial, Weimar, Nazi and Communist architecture indicating the turbulent and diverse history of Berlin.  We had time for two more museums – the Topography of Terror and Checkpoint Charlie, before a rainy walk to Alexanderplatz for our final German meal in the Hofbrau Berliner where spirits were high ahead of the England -Germany  football match!

The final day saw many in the group rush to spend their remaining Euros in the array of shops available at The Mall of Berlin.  All too soon it was time to head home. Thank you to every student who came to Berlin – your behaviour was exemplary and it was a pleasure to enjoy the trip with you.

Mrs Quinn, Frau Rhoden, Mrs Collins, Mr Cooksey and Mr Bodo