KS4/5 students recently travelled to Berlin, Kraków and Dresden, a trip organised by the History Department. This was an exciting opportunity to see history come alive and to visit some of the historical sites the students have learnt about as part of their respective GCSE and A-Level studies.
The trip started in Berlin where students visited a range of historical and iconic sites including The Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building and dome, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and the German Historical Museum. The Topography of Terror Museum was good preparation for the visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp as it displays images and information about life under the Nazi regime.
As well as learning about life under Nazi rule students also studied exhibits about life behind the Berlin Wall by visiting the Checkpoint Charlie Museum which was small but full of fascinating expositions and information about life during the Berlin Wall. Students ended their stay with visits to the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Straße and the famous TV Tower which offered spectacular views of Berlin.
After a 3 nights in Berlin, students travelled to Kraków in Poland. The main purpose of this part of the trip was to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. This proved to be a challenging but a worthwhile experience. Students saw the accommodation blocks and the site where prisoners were executed and were able to walk through one of the remaining gas chambers. What most found particularly moving was walking along the same path that those selected for the gas chamber took. Students left pebbles, specially made by IOW Pebbles of Love, at the memorial and execution wall and took time to contemplate the horror that took place here over 70 years ago.
The next stop was a tour of Schindler’s Factory Museum. The museum informed students about life in Poland between 1918 and 1945, and enabled them to learn about how life changed in Kraków so dramatically in this period. Students also spent some time at Wawel Royal Castle, home to Polish Kings and Presidents. The visit was completed with time in Kraków’s historic town square (Rynek Główny), shopping and taking in the sights.
A new addition to this annual trip was a visit to Dresden, a city packed with history and which was badly affected by bombing during World War 2. Following a guided tour of the city and some of it’s most famous baroque and rococo buildings students were able to visit Germany’s oldest Christmas market before the long journey back to the UK.
Mr Beverley, Teacher of History and trip organiser said “We are so proud of our students and how they coped with the long journey, busy itineraries and emotional experiences on this trip. Their maturity and sensitivity was impressive, and they have all developed a detailed insight into German and Polish history, language and culture.”
All the photos from the trip can be found on our 'Ryde Academy in Pictures' page on the website.