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Years 11-13 History Trip to Berlin

Published on 03/01/24

Year 12 student Martha H tells us all about the History Trip to Berlin.

History Trip to BerlinDuring October half term I was lucky enough to take part in the History trip to Berlin, Germany. It was a trip I was extremely excited for as I believed it would be a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of Germany’s interesting and complicated history, focusing on three main subjects, the rise of the Nazi Party, resistance and terror in Nazi Germany and the Cold War. I also knew this would be a very useful trip as I am currently studying History at A level, and part of the course is all about the history of Germany from 1919-63.

We began the trip with a detailed tour of Berlin and its various monuments and memorials. We visited famous landmarks such as the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, which was so interesting as I have spent so long learning about these places and their deep history. Seeing them in person and being able to put the events into context was an amazing experience.

We also visited the Topography of Terror museum, which is an exhibition created in remembrance of the terrors and persecution applied by the Nazis, documenting where their main instruments of this were located, like the Gestapo headquarters, the SS security service and from 1939 the Reich security main office. This was a very moving place to be as reading about the terrible crimes committed against people whilst being at the centre of where it was all managed and organised felt very real. In order to get around Berlin on the first day, to visit all the places on our tour, we used a mix of walking and public transport. I enjoyed experiencing all the different means of public transport in Berlin like the tram, trains and the subway.

History Trip to Berlin - Olympic StadiumThe second day however was the most poignant for me personally. This is because we visited the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. I found this to be an incredibly moving experience as to be able to pay my respects to those who suffered the horrors of these concentration camps was very important to me. Although it was a painful and solemn experience, I learnt so much from it and believe that it is incredibly important to visit these places. We were also lucky enough to visit the Olympic Stadium which is an amazing landmark which played an important role in Nazi propaganda in 1936. We ended day two with a rooftop visit to the Reichstag at sunset which was incredibly beautiful and I loved being able to view the entire city at such great height.

On our final day we had a tour of the remaining parts of the Berlin wall and learnt more about the history and stories that come with it which was very interesting.

We ended the trip by visiting the Stasi prison which was another very hard but moving experience. It has been made into a memorial site, remembering the stories of those held there such as GDR opponents, people who helped others to flee and political prisoners. What I found the most moving was that so many parts of the buildings have been preserved, creating a very real picture of the conditions people were kept and persecuted.

I had an incredible time on this trip and being able to learn about vital parts of German history whilst being in its capital city was an amazing experience. It was also an enjoyable time not only because of what I experienced, but also spending time with Mrs Stanley, Ms Sefton, Mr Howarth and Ms Kedie who all made it a very fun and informative trip.