Students experience the Berlin Culture
Categories: College News
On 9 – 12 February 2012, 26 Year 10 students visited Berlin. The group was a mix of History and German language students and they thoroughly enjoyed an opportunity to experience another culture, understand their study in a wider context and broaden their understanding of Nazi Germany and the Cold War by visiting some remarkable landmarks.
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and has a population of 3.49 million people. Located in North East Germany, it is one of the 16 states of Germany and the centre of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has 4.4 million residents from over 190 nations. The students visited the cultured city which boasts over 170 museums, forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.
Twenty years after its post-Wall rebirth, Berlin is rich in history and first on their agenda was a visit to the House of the Wannsee Conference. This permanent exhibition documents the Wannsee conference, the events prior to it, and its consequences. The students gained an in-depth understanding of the Protocol of the Meeting, Göring’s Authorisation and The Conference Participants. Afterwards, they visited the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum. The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was built in summer 1936 and was designed to be the ideal of its kind by SS architects, used as a model for other facilities by the Nazi regime. It claimed tens of thousands of victims and was evacuated in April 1945, with many more prisoners dying on death marches.
Next, the students visited The Olympiastadion (Olympic Stadium). Unusually, there have been two stadiums on this site. The current one and also one called the Deutsches Stadion which was built for the aborted 1916 Summer Olympics. Interestingly, both were designed by a Father and son of the same family. The German cup final is held at The Olympiastadion every year. After an intense day of sightseeing, the students relaxed with an evening meal.
The students stayed at the Meininger Hotel Berlin Central Station which is located in the heart of Berlin, between Berlin Central Station and the Reichstag Parliament. They were in a superb position to start their full day walking tour of the city on 11 February.
Key highlights of the tour included:
- Brandenburg Gate, the former city gate and one of the most well-known landmarks in the world;
- Holocaust Memorial, otherwise known as The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe;
- Topography of Terror, a unique open-air museum that charts the history of the Nazi regime through to World War II. The site is the former Gestapo and the SS Headquarters.
This trip enabled students to see for themselves the terror applied by the Nazi regime and even walk into excavated prison cells located directly under a remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall. The walking tour ended with a visit to the current Reichstag Dome, designed by architect Norman Foster and built to symbolise the reunification of Germany. This prominent landmark was the perfect way to end a sensational trip.