Lower Sixth Berlin Trip

2018_history_Berlin -Reichstag Photo 2018 (1)On Thursday 14th June the Lower Sixth History classes touched down in sunny Berlin to start a four-day visit to this historical city. After settling into our rooms at Alexanderplatz we walked to the Reichstag,  The Reichstag is the centre for German politics, it had been out of use since the Communist fire of 1933 and was only fully restored after German Re-unification in 1990.  After the exhaustion of all the culture we kicked back for some typically German refreshments at Potsdamer Platz. We then took the metro back to the hotel to catch up on some beauty sleep.

The following day we travelled 30 minutes out of Berlin to Oranienburg, the site of Sachsehausen concentration camp. This was as heart wrenching, shocking, and emotional as you would expect; we all, listening to our audio guides, went on our own personal journey glimpsing the horrors of Nazi Germany and the further suffering inflicted after the war when the German Democratic Republic more commonly referred to as East Germany took over the camp and used it for their own political prisoners.

A sombre and thoughtful group returned to the hotel and escaped back to 2018 with the Portugal v Spain match. It was brilliant viewing in a restaurant that Mr Symaka had unselfishly scouted out for us. It was an entertaining game that everybody enjoyed watching,. You could hear cheers from all over the restaurant.  However the loudest cheers were from the teachers’ table which they had tactically positioned in-front of the projector screen.

We started Saturday with a visit to the Olympic Stadium. This stadium, most famous for hosting the Olympics at the height of Nazi power in 1936, was impressive in size, scale and ambition and gave us a glimpse into Nazi Germany. It was built to reflect German superiority in all areas and did not disappoint.  It was also interesting to see its rehabilitation, whether seeing the polo and cricket pitch left over from the stadium’s days under British use as its Army’s headquarters but also to see the stadium’s uses today whether as a rock concert venue or as a home for Berlin’s football team, Hertha BSC. We then visited Charlottenburg, which was situated in what was once West-Berlin, with swanky restaurants, shops and beautiful architecture, we couldn’t help but draw comparisons to Alexanderplatz, formally in East Berlin with its grey concrete buildings and Soviet atmosphere. From there we walked to check point Charlie and looked at the nearby preserved section of the Berlin Wall. It was a powerful image of the once-divided city, with Mr Bodle directing our attention to the graffitied word “madness” which aptly sums up the mistakes of the past.

We returned to England the following day, all of us profoundly moved by the trip.

I would like to thank Mr Morrissey, Mr Gonzales, Mr Symaka, and Mr Bodle for organising such an informative and enjoyable experience.

Milly Sherwin, Lower Sixth