Twenty-six students and three teachers braved a wintry central Europe to visit several important places in both Germany and Poland over half-term. No sooner had we landed in Berlin, than we were out braving the cold and exploring, beginning immediately with a visit to the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag - Germany's parliamentary building. Our focus in Berlin over the course of our visit shifted between Nazi Germany and Cold War Berlin - some standout highlights being the Berlin Wall, the Stasi Prison, Cold War Bunkers, the Olympic Stadium and the Topography of Terror. Our four days in Berlin were extremely rewarding and very enjoyable.
Next, our trip moved onward to Dresden some two hours south from Berlin. Here, we were greeted by our first sighting of ice and snow. Nonetheless, undeterred our students braved this wintry feel to visit Germany's newly-renovated Military Museum and Dresden's old town. Here, they learnt extensively about the Dresden Bombing Raids during World War and about life in post-war East Germany. Our stay in Dresden was only limited to two days as we had to move westwards to Krakow in Poland but the students really did enjoy visiting Dresden.
Our visit to Krakow began with a visit to the infamous Schindler's Factory, where an excellently designed museum introduced our students to life in Krakow both pre-World War Two and during the war. The museum helped to introduce different aspects to the war, for example resistance and survival, whilst informing them about the inspiring story of Oskar Schindler. The next day was arguably the most poignant but certainly the most chilly. Arriving to Auschwitz early morning, we were greeted by considerable snow and bleakness. Our students were guided around both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz Birkeneau and engaged maturely with what they witnessed. Our visit to Auschwitz was complimented on our final full day with a meeting with a Holocaust survivor. She emotively told her story about her survival of the Holocaust from an impossibly unique perspective - something I am sure our students will remember for a long time. - Mr Wheatley