During the first week of October, a group of our Key Stage 4 pupils travelled to Berlin for a 4 day trip aimed at deepening their understanding of the city’s Nazi past in preparation for the GCSE History examination. The trip was led by Mrs Montoro, Miss Teresa, Mr McDonald and Sr.Moreno accompanied the group.
Students saw some of the places they had been studying for their GCSE course, such as the Berlin Wall, Reichstag and Hitler’s Bunker. We had an early start on the Monday, beginning our guided tour of Berlin and walking for four hours! After lunch we walked to the Topography of Terror Museum, built on the site of the buildings that were the headquarters of the SS and the Gestapo. The tour of the museum gave us a real sense of the horror that had happened there. One of our Year 11 pupils commented «The workshop that we had was really useful for helping us with our source skills. We spent nearly an hour looking at one source, which showed us the depth you can go into with analysis and interpretation.»
We visited Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and Holy Mary pupils acted maturely throughout the entire visit, especially when we were taken to see what remained of the gas chambers and the room where the bodies were cremated. Micaela in Year 11 said «It was a real eye-opener and made me realise how lucky I am. I will not waste a minute of my life after seeing how they struggled.»
The Jewish Museum, one of the most frequented museums in Berlin. The tour focused on personal stories of those attempting to flee Nazi persecution and their struggle. By looking at items left behind by individuals, pupils gained a great insight into the dilemma of deciding what they should and should not take. The tour ended with a look at the Jewish education system, established after the Nazis banned Jewish children from schools through the Nuremburg laws.
They also got to experience the Olympic Stadium and test out their athletic skills! The weather was rainy and cold, but it was an incredibly busy 4 days.
Year 11s overwhelming response was that the trip was really useful, engaging and made History come alive!
Mrs Montoro said “I am so pleased that the pupils enjoyed the trip. I am proud of their behaviour and maturity and am confident they will have gained a lot from the experience.”
Mr McDonald added “This was an incredibly successful trip and has developed the pupils’ cultural and historical understanding of Western Europe.”