Year 10 History & German Trip to Berlin
On Friday 9th June, 22 pupils from Bolingbroke Academy, accompanied by Ms Oliver, Ms Sherman and Mr Thomas met at 3.45am at school to travel to the airport for our flight to Berlin. This trip was for Year 10 pupils who study History and/or German, to enhance their cultural experiences. It was an opportunity to live and breathe history and to practice German.
On day one we visited the DDR museum and learning about life in soviet occupied Germany. After the DDR museum we enjoyed a river cruise; a fantastic way to see different parts of the city. From the river cruise, we walked to visit the underground bunkers. Here, we learnt about the creation of the bunkers system during WW2. In one of the rooms, the lights were turned off so we were stood in darkness. We had to close our eyes whilst our guide flashed a light. This revealed to the pupils the special paint that had been used on the walls to generate light when the electricity was not working.
On Saturday we enjoyed a self-guided audio tour of the Reichstag Dome and admired the beautiful views from the top. We learnt about the architecture of the dome, the architect Norman Foster, the history of Berlin, the structure of the city, with other important landmarks as well as the history of the German government and the current political system.
In the afternoon we visited the Holocaust Memorial and then made our way to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. We explored the camp for over two hours with a tour guide who told us about her family history and her grandfather’s experiences during WW2 and the Holocaust. This was a very moving site visit and the pupils were enormously respectful and reflective.
Our final stop of the day was in Potsdam, to Sanssouci Palace. It gave the pupils the opportunity to see where the Potsdam Conference took place but also to engage with a completely different period of history as well. The pupils explored the palace gardens: Sanssouci is the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.
On Sunday, our third and final day, we set off for our final day of exploring. Our first stop was the Jewish Museum where we had two separate tours about the treatment of the Jewish population, before and during the Holocaust. We also learnt about the architecture of the building.
After the Jewish museum, we walked via Checkpoint Charlie and on to the Topography of Terror where was had another tour. This museum is set on the site where the SS headquarters in Berlin used to be. Here, we were split into two groups again to explore the museum and learn about the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, the growth of the police state and the persecution of the Jews and other “undesirables.” The Bolingbroke pupils impressed the tour guides hugely; everyone was engaged, answering and asking questions.
From the Topography of Terror, we made our way to our final stop of the day, a traditional German restaurant for pupils to try a variety of traditional German dishes at our last meal together. Pupils ordered their food in German and meal choices ranged from different sausage dishes to schnitzel. After our relaxing “last supper” we walked quickly back to hotel to meet the coach for our transfer to the airport.
To read more please see this week’s Courageous Hound Edition 17.