A Return to Berlin

This year's Year 11s were lucky enough to participate in the customary trip to Berlin organised by the History Department. The trip offers a glimpse into the lives of those people living in the city during the Nazi regime and, later, during the Cold War. This is especially important for the students as it serves as a prelude for these periods which they will study later on in the year.

One of their first visits was to the Berlin Wall Memorial in which they were able to observe the evolution of the Wall since it was first built in 1961. The fantastic guide also recounted the chilling stories of those people killed while trying to cross to West Berlin or in accidents relating to the Wall. Later on in the trip, a visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp gave insight into the terrible conditions endured by those imprisoned and the cruelty that characterised the guards. We were also able explore the inside of an original airplane in the Allied Museum and even lifted a sack of coal in order to get a sense of the struggles faced by the people of the city as they unloaded the planes during the Berlin Blockade.

Although the weather was not on our side, we continued to visit important locations such as Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie. The Olympic Stadium was a prime example of fascist architecture; especially interesting was the Jesse Owens Lounge and the anecdotes surrounding his stay in Berlin during the 1936 Olympics. The Bundestag Dome designed by Sir Norman Foster was a prime example of an environmentally-friendly construction and the desire for transparency in the government.

We ended the visit with a cruise down the Spree and a walk in the city centre.

By Angélica O, Year 11