In the October half term, which was also the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a group of forth Fifth Form History students and four teachers travelled to Berlin by coach. En route, the students passed through Helmstedt, which used to be the border crossing between West and East Germany and was heavily fortified.
The students trip to Berlin included visits to sites of interest in National Socialist and Cold War Berlin for them to study. They also visited the Reichstag and the famous Norman Foster Dome, the Soviet War Memorial, a truly memorable and quite harrowing visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp and then onto the 1936 Berlin Olympic stadium. The pupils visited a Commonwealth War cemetery, containing Indian soldiers who had died in the liberation of Berlin in 1945. The Holocaust Memorial gave everyone pause to reflect on the inhumanity of the Nazi regime. Bernauer Strasße allowed us to see remnants of the Berlin Wall that divided the city from 1961 to 1989 and the famous escape tunnels. The Palace of Tears at Friedrichstrasße station brought home the nature of the East German state as did the Stasi Headquarters museum and Hohenschönhausen prison where enemies of the state were held and interrogated. On the final night we saw Berlin by night from the TV Tower and before departing we visited the DDR museum that exhibits what life was like for ordinary people in East Germany. A happy but tired group of pupils returned to School having visited the modern-day capital of Germany and learned about its past and significance in modern history.