Berlin has seen many different eras in the 20th century, from the Weimar Republic to the 3rd Reich to the 4 Power Occupation— it is the centre of our GCSE History course. Year 10 and 11 History students made the trip to Berlin to better understand a century of immense change.
We managed to go inside the Reichstag building, which has been destroyed numerous times but is now a wonderfully sustainable building with solar panels and natural ventilation. We also spent a less uplifting day at both Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp for political opponents, and a Stasi prison for direct comparisons between the two. The Stasi prison was Big Brother incarnate: psychological torture to force you to confess to non-existent crimes. Even more terrifying was the Stasi HQ, which ran Orwellian levels of spying with informers everywhere: no-one could be trusted (even your ‘friends’). It is incredibly striking that this was going on until 1989, less than thirty years ago. It felt wrong to call it ‘history’.
It was also amazing to see the very room where the Potsdam agreements were made, when the Big Three decided on the post-war settlement for Germany. Unrelated to our course but equally as interesting was the nearby Sanssouci Palace, the summer residence of Frederick the Great. The gardens were spectacular, and we were particularly lucky with the weather. The non-historical highlight of the trip was the supermarket Rewe City which made a bumper profit from City girls thriftily buying Kinder chocolate at rates much lower than in the UK!
Many thanks to the “Big Four” of the history department: Mr Murray, Mr FitzGerald, Mr Tomlinson and Ms Lockyear, for making the trip as enjoyable as could be. We are also grateful for Brexit not happening as expected on the 29th March, which would have made the trip very difficult indeed.
Artemis, Year 11