Fifth Form History Trip to Berlin
Forty Fifth Form Historians spent a packed two days in Berlin exploring the importance of the city during the Third Reich and the Cold War. It was a superb trip which gave a real understanding into both periods.
The first day was spent looking at central Berlin. Our first site was the Story of Berlin museum which gives an excellent overview of the city's history and includes a Cold War nuclear bunker. From there we went to the Holocaust Memorial and then looked at former Nazi places of importance including Goering's Air Ministry, the Topography of Terror and the location of Hitler's bunker. The constant presence of remnants of the Berlin Wall was with us through the day although the money demanded by the guard at Checkpoint Charlie for a photo showed which side came out on top in the Cold War. The excellent German Historical Museum provided sources and artefacts not available in text books before we returned footsore to the hotel. An excellent pizza meal reminded us of a former German alliance, while a moonlit walk to the floodlit Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag provided a fitting ending to the evening.
The final day was a sobering one but thoroughly thought-provoking. The stark remains of Sachsenhausen were matched by the grim surroundings of the former Stasi prison, where our guide's mother had been an inmate. Small groups of boys then gave impressive interpretations of the Stalinist propaganda friezes at the Soviet War memorial at Treptower Park before we took the U-Bahn to the best preserved section of the Berlin Wall, where a viewing platform enabled us to see how it would have looked during the Cold War. After such a day a well deserved relaxing evening in a typical German Beer Cellar was appreciated by all. This fortified us for the evening journey up the TV Tower, former symbol of Communist technology, where we enjoyed 360 degree views of the city.
The boys were all excellent company and subsequent History lessons on the Cold War have been frequently enlivened and informed by references to what we saw and heard. It was a real pleasure having such a delightful group really making the most of their half-term.
Head of History
Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011