On the 8th December 2015 a group of 25 Shells who study German went on trip to Berlin. The trip involved mainly visiting the famous Berlin Christmas Markets and touring historic landmarks.
Having arrived in Berlin we checked into our hotel and went on a walk to visit the book burning memorial next to the Humbolt University on Unter-den-Linden (“under the Linden trees”) which was the site where the Nazis threw out all the books from the University library that had, what they described as, anti-Nazi content. The Memorial was amazing. It was an underground square room with white empty bookshelves, with only a little viewing window above it, designed so that you cannot see the whole room, signifying that you cannot grasp the whole picture or enormity of this event. This was coupled with a chilling quote from Heinrich Heine “Once you start burning books, you start burning people”.
For dinner we dined at a traditional German restaurant called the Hofbräuhaus (actually a typically Bavarian restaurant in the heart of Berlin). We all had different types of sausages which we all enjoyed. There was an Oompa band in traditional German clothes and I’m sure the teachers enjoyed their Beer! The next day we had a tour of the German Olympic stadium and also the Hertha Berlin Football Stadium. We visited the changing rooms where the teams who played in the 2006 World Cup were based and an indoor athletics training ground, as well as the track where Usain Bolt won gold at the World Championships. We also stood on the balcony where Hitler addressed the audience of the 1936 Olympics.
Later on we visited an area of the Berlin wall, which separated East Berlin and West Berlin from 1961-1989. Checkpoint Charlie was also visible from where we were viewing the wall. Our eyes were all on stalks when we saw the wall itself, as we didn’t think it would be that big! The final part of our trip consisted of visiting the Jewish Holocaust memorial and museum which was very chilling and moving at the same time.
On behalf of all the boys I would like to say a very big thank you to all our teachers who accompanied us on the trip and made it possible.
By Edward Roest