Berlin Trip 2015
During October Half Term, a group of thirty Upper Fifth Form historians, along with Messrs Smith, Roberts and Lakin, set off from Whitgift to Berlin, looking forward to four days of visiting the sights of the German capital. The trip complemented the GCSE topics of Nazi Germany and the Cold War that the students had been studying. After a long coach journey, barely had the boys set their bags down in their hotel rooms, before they started a walking tour of the centre of Berlin. Led by a very knowledgeable guide, they visited the Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Topography of Terror Museum and Checkpoint Charlie. There was also a chance to sample the local delicacy of currywurst, or as preferred by many of the students, Burger King.
Over the next three days the packed schedule included: the Sachsenhausen Camp Memorial and Museum, a sombre experience for the tour party; Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz, where the details of the final solution were agreed upon by Nazi officials on 20 January 1942; and a tour around the Olympic Stadium, where the boys played a spontaneous game of football themselves.
Two of the most fascinating sites visited were on the last two days of the trip; the Stasi Museum and then Stasi Prison Museum. The boys found both of these sites very engaging and were shocked at the minute organisation of the Stasi in mentally torturing their prisoners. Bernauer Straße, with sections of the Berlin Wall, and the Palace of Tears at Friedrichstraße Station, brought to life the nature of divided Cold War Berlin. Last on the itinerary was the DDR Museum, a very interactive and hands-on museum where the boys learnt about everyday life in East Germany. The group arrived back at Whitgift after a trip that had really brought to life the topics studied for the GCSE course and increased the boys’ knowledge of a very historical city.