This trip was very special for the fact that it was not only Berkhamsted School's first international departure for an academic trip since March 2020, but also TCBC's!
We could never have believed that after Harrow School landed back in the UK from Poland on March 8th 2020, that their trip would be the last trip we would run for over 2 years because of the Covid pandemic.
So, we were absolutely delighted to be back in the thick of things again, organising Berkhamsted's trip, a group of 40 Year 10 History students exploring Berlin for 5 days.
Ted Savill, Group Leader, said "It was an excellent trip, aimed at grasping a more developed understanding of the Cold War and Nazi Germany based on visits to various sites associated with that period. Many of our students had not been on a school trip aboard since they were in year 7. They enjoyed the cultural sights of Berlin, going on the tube, eating out and they were well led by our informative guide. There were no problems with Covid, flights, logistics - all very smooth."
Thanks to the four students who each chronicled one day of their trip, as below:
On the first day after eating breakfast in the hotel we left to get the coach. It was a pleasant journey and didn't feel very long on a nice coach. We arrived at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and it was very cold at first so we found it hard to concentate. We soon warmed up and Roger Moorhouse, our guide was very helpful at explaining the story behind it but it was very informative and useful for our learning. After that we went to a train station memorial Gleiss 17 where we met Susan Lorenco who used to go to Berkhamsted School and she told us the history of her Grandfather who was a Jew in Nazi Germany and it was interesting to hear an individual story and to see the impact of the large numbers of Jews exported in the memorial. Later we went to the Olympic Stadium which was fun as it was very grand which was interesting to see. Afer we went back to the hotel we had an evening meal at 7.30 pm which had a nice vegetarian option as well as meat. Later we did a quiz which was a good opportunity to bond with the others on the trip and was very funny it was also nice to spend time with my friends.
To start off the day, we travelled to the Holocaust memorial and the Reichstag. As we were showing ourselves through the Holocaust Memorial, it was extremely poignant and impactful. The museum below also taught me a lot more about the personal experiences people endured under the Nazi dictatorship. After lunch, when we travelled to the Berlin Wall, we learnt a lot about living conditions in post-war Germany, as well as a the democratic leadership for West Germany and East Germany. Luckily, we were able to spend a lot of time at the wall; this meant that we could see how difficult it would be to cross the wall as well as how people did attempt escapes. Furthermore, the way the wall was constructed proved how intimidating it must’ve been for Berliners. After the wall, we took a short walk to a river cruise where we saw the main sights of Berlin with narration. This taught me things I had never expected to know as well as displaying the beautiful city. Once the river cruise was finished, we went for dinner in a lovely restaurant.
We went to Treptow Park after going on the tube. It was very beautifully done and it was very big and it was quite overwhelming the size showed the way that the Soviets felt about their victory. We had time to walk around by ourselves which meant that we were taking it in more as we were not being talked at the whole time and we were able to see the detail of it. We spent about an hour there we went shopping and had lunch which was a very nice break. After lunch we went to the Topography of Terror it was very hot but it was interesting and it was a good museum and our guide was really nice and asked us questions and delved quite deep into what the Gestapo and SS did and what higher members of the Nazis were doing and the connections between them all and what that might say which was very interesting and shocking.
On our final day, all groups met at 9am to travel to Kolhoff Tower for 10 am which was completed in 1999. It was amazing to see the city of Berlin from such a high point of view and see for miles the many constructions. Then we visited the German resistance Museum which was very interesting to learn about how Nazi opposition existed throughout certain areas of Nazi Germany and how German people resisted. We were educated about this topic through a tour guide and many helpful visuals such as pictures which enabled us to understand more about the topic. After we visited the German Resistance Museum, we had around one hour of free time to have lunch and shop in a big mall located near the centre of Berlin. After we had our free time, we went back to the hotel and travelled to the airport to depart for home.