Meet Bede the Bear. He will be showing you the sights of Berlin and updating you on our trip! So far we have arrived and settled into our hotel! Tonight we will be visiting the Reichstag. Stay tuned for more of our adventure...
Day 1 Evening - The Reichstag
Our trip to the Reichstag was very informative. In particular we learnt a lot about the structure of the building. The glass dome is open at the top which helps to regulate the temperature all year round. There is also a large metal screen that moves to help stop the glare of the sunlight. When on the viewing platform inside the dome we could see down into the parliament chamber. There were also excellent views of the Berlin skyline at night. Lily Woodland - Year 11
Day 2 Morning- Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Story of Berlin Museum and Nuclear Bunker, and Checkpoint Charlie
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
This church was built as a memorial to the more grand Kaiser Wilhelm church that was mostly destroyed during WW2. From the outside this church is very plain, but it has over 20,000 small stained glass windows. Inside the church it is a wonderful blue glass. There is also a large bronze statue of Christ and a huge musical organ that costs over 200,000 Euros to maintain! Dylan Morley - Year 11
Story of Berlin Museum and Nuclear Bunker
The Story of Berlin Museum gave us an insight into the history of Berlin. In particular it told us about the Nazi rule and the impact of the Cold War on Berlin. It was interesting to find out that the Volkswagen car was created by the Nazis and literally means the "people's car". Dominic Robbins - Year 11
The Nuclear Bunker was an unusual experience. We found out that the relatively small space could hold over 3000 people in the event of a nuclear attack. The beds were small bunks that were incredibly cramped. There were only 4 washrooms, 2 kitchens and room for 16 staff! The Bunker was never intended to be used, and people would only survive in there for 2 weeks! Finley Sumner - Year 11
We stopped for lunch at near Checkpoint Charlie. Many of us decided to try the local cuisine of Currywurst! It was delicious!
There are some sections of the Berlin Wall that are still standing around Berlin and the checkpoint. Many of the pieces of Wall still have graffiti from the time, giving us an insight into the people's opinions. There was also a news outlet on the West side of the wall that would broadcast the news in bright lights over to the East to show them what was really happening. Naoimh Dolan - Year 11
Peter Fechter was 18 when he tried to flee from the Eastern sector over the Berlin Wall into the Western sector. He was shot but was still on the Eastern side so was left to die. We saw a memorial for him near the checkpoint. Will Wyatt - Year 11
Day 2 Afternoon - Jewish Museum,Topography of Terror and Bebelplatz
Bede the bear did not want his photo taken at these sights out of respect.
The Jewish museum:
This gave us a really important insight into the history of Jews in Germany. In particular it was interesting to find out that Jews were heavily persecuted in the Middle Ages. Jules Samuels - Year 11
There was an unsettling piece of interactive architecture in the museum. It was a concrete room that was over 20 feet high. There was a ladder that you could not reach and a small slit of light at the top of the room. All of this was supposed to represent the lack of hope that the Jews had during the Holocaust. Keeley Doherty - Year 11
I found the installation of over 10,000 metals faces in the museum a touching experience. You walk over the faces, which are supposed to represent those killed in the holocaust, and the noises made by the metal are supposed to sound like their cries. Dan Layden - Year 11
Topography of Terror:
I found this a horrible but enlightening exhibition. It told us about those affected by Holocaust. I was surprised that so many, not just Jews, were displaced and killed. Amongst those were; political prisoners, gypsies, metally and physically disabled and homosexuals. Wiki Szymanska -Year 11
Here we saw a memorial under the pavement that recognised the burning of thousands of books by Nazi University students. They burnt any books that did not fit the Nazi ideology. The memorial is a set of empty shelves that represents the idea that if all books are gone, knowledge is gone, and people could be brainwashed. Matt Ball - Year 11
Day 2 Evening - Shopping centre and the Sony Centre
We had some free time in the evening so headed to have some retail therapy in a local Mall. We also visited the Sony Centre and watched the lights change in the domed roof. Another highlight of today was our visit to the Fassbender and Rausch chocolate shop. There were massive sculptures of the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and the Titanic! Joe Holbrook - Year 11
Day 3 - Plötzensee Prison, Sachsenhausen, Olympic Stadium and Wannsee Villa
Bede the bear did not want his picture taken at some of these sights out of respect.
Plötzensee Memorial Centre:
Early this morning we visited Plötzensee prison. The prison was used by the Nazis to house and execute mainly political prisoners during the dictatorship. I was surprised that the opposition to the Nazis was so small in number. Those sent to and executed at Plötzensee were often educated and important in rank or society. We learnt about the Red Orchestra, a small resistance group, most of whom were hanged at Plötzensee. Santra Mathew - Year 11
Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum:
We found out that although the camp was not a purpose built death camp there was a section of the camp that was developed as a mass killing centre. Here there was a medical centre that doubles as a set of rooms where prisoners were shot. There was also a small crematorium within this building. The chimney from this could be seen from the rest of the camp, adding to the fear and terror. Aida Foote - Year 11
I was particularly interested in this part of the visit as my Grandfather once played a match in the stadium during his career asa footballer for Newcastle United from 1956! We learnt about the history and structure, we found out that Hitler did not like the initial grand plans as he felt the stadium looked too big and imposing. He wanted it to be build for the people and not to make them feel small. We also saw the original bell from the stadium bell tower. On the bell one of the last visible swastika's in Germany, it is partially filled in as it is now an illegal symbol in Germany. Hannah Hughes - Year 11
Haus de Wannsee-Konferenz:
At the Wansee Villa we had a talk by a member of staff. She talked us through the process of the Holocaust and the decisions that were made at the Wansee Villa. It was hard to imagine that high ranking members of the Nazi Party sat and discussed how they could exterminate over 11 million Jewish people. We went into the room where the meeting took place over breakfast, it had fantastic views out over the lake. It was such a beautiful setting for such a horrible meeting to have taken place. Ellie O'Neill- Year 11
Day 3 Evening- Brandenburg Gate
On our last evening we visited the iconic Brandenburg Gate. On the way we stopped at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of the Holocaust. There are over 3000 stone installations, all of varying sizes and heights, and on uneven ground. The number of stones is random, to represent the random selection of those who were murdered. The sense of walking through the memorial is supposed to make you feel uneasy and to make you think about the events of the Holocaust. We then headed to the Gate and took pictures and had some doughnuts!! Joe Holbrook - Year 11
Day 4 - Travelling home
We had to wake up very early! We checked out of the hotel and travelled by coach to the airport. Safe to say a very tired bunch of St Bede's pupils boarded the plane and slept the whole way home!!
Bede had the time of his life travelling around Berlin, and is now safely back home and having a well earned rest. He was also pleased to get to know the famous Berlin bears whilst he was away!!
Mrs Lewis, Mr King, Miss Hancock and Mr Sutton would like to thank our wonderful Year 11 pupils for being so fantastic whilst we were away, it was a truly excellent trip!