Sixth form students from Bourne Grammar School experienced first-hand the history of World War 2 and the Cold War when they spent four days in Berlin recently.
The 23-strong party spent the first two days absorbing the city’s turbulent and often harrowing past.
They took in the scenic boulevards, majestic architecture and sites of victory parades as well as protests against the Berlin Wall where the Hoff single-handedly ended the Cold War.
History teacher Neil Smith said: “It is hard to think of any other city that shares the same links to the turbulent history of the 20th century than the capital of Germany.”
The visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was a very sobering experience which many of the students found profoundly moving.
They also travelled to the picturesque villa of Wansee where, in 1942, the 15 leading members of the Third Reich decided on the mechanics of the Final Solution.
The last stop of the day was the Olympic Stadium, the scene of Jesse Owen’s triumph in 1936 and Zinedine Zidane’s infamous head-butt in 2006. The group were able to see the mix of old and new with many of the original features of the Nazi period still intact.
The third day’s history focussed on the period of the Cold War with visits to the Stasi prison museum and the museum of GDR life.
One student said: “For me the prison museum was the highlight of the trip, made memorable by our guide who was able to recount his experiences within the prison as a young man and how he was sold to West Germany in 1986 for about £60,000.
“To be able to hear such an account is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
No trip to Berlin is complete without visiting the Berlin Wall, still in-situ, and the students enjoyed getting up close to the most potent symbol of the Cold War.
There was just time on the final day to visit the Reichstag, the seat of the re-unified German parliament, before the return to Bourne.