24 Northgate and Dereham Sixth Form Students headed to Berlin in March for a jam packed trip of historical significance.
Will Sparkes, Year 10, tells all about the trip:
It was an early start heading to Heathrow airport at 2am! We flew over to Berlin and were staying in a hostel – basic accommodation for school groups and not the best food but we were there for more important reasons. Part of the GCSE course covers Nazi Germany and many places we were due to visit played significant parts during the wars.
We took a trip to the famous Berlin Wall and the Reichstag Building Museum and a tour of the dome. The first day also included a visit to the famous Brandenburg Gate – one of Germany’s best known landmarks and then a walking tour of central Berlin. Over the three days we certainly did a lot of walking!
After a busy first day, there was even more on the itinerary for day two, with a guided tour of the Berlin Jewish Museum and a visit to the memorial of the murdered Jews of Europe. We then went to the Topography of Terror museum/exhibition, located on the site of buildings in which the Nazi regime from 1933 – 1945 were the headquarters of the SS and the Gestapo. There are permanent exhibitions in the museum based on Berlin in the third Reich, the history of the site and the Gestapo and SS. The day finished with a visit to the Deutsches Historisches Museum (Museum of German History).
Day three consisted of a visit to the House of the Wannsee Conference, where Nazi officers were involved in the planning of the Holocaust. It is now a Holocaust Memorial and Museum – there are exhibits of texts and photos that document the events of the Holocaust and its planning. It really put into perspective the magnitude of what happened. There was also a trip to Sachenhausen (concentration camp) Memorial and Museum with the opportunity to see some of the rebuilt barracks, mass graves and memorials (mostly for the political prisoners during the Nazi reign), the kitchens and infirmary. Lots of the prisoners were union leaders and others who were opposed to the Nazis, for example the Communists. Towards the end of the war, some Jews were also taken to Sachenhausen. About 200,000 people passed through Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945.
Will thought that the visits on the third day were the best, everything became more real, as often films don’t really portray what happened in the war particularly well.
An excellent, informative and thought provoking trip which will certainly help with the GCSE course – thank you to Mr Guy for organising and Mrs Keeler, Miss Nichol and Mr MacDonald for attending and supporting too.