Students from Bethnal Green’s Morpeth School are lined up against the Berlin Wall
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 February 2016
Sixth form history students have returned to London’s East End from to Berlin where they have been studying the 20th century’s Cold War and the Rise and fall of the Third Reich.
The pupils from Bethnal Green’s Morpeth Secondary spent the first day exploring the Reichstag, German’s former parliament, and other monuments to remind today’s young generation of the evils of Hitler’s Nazi empire.
They saw the original graffiti on the Reichstag walls etched by Russian soldiers when Berlin fell to Soviet forces in 1945.
The tour included the National Memorial to the six-million Jews of Europe murdered by the Nazis, followed by the Cold War Stasi secret police HQ in the former East Berlin now converted to a museum of its once-dreaded activities.
“Our guide was one of the original of activists who raided the Stasi HQ,” Morpeth’s Head of History Tom Smith explained. “That was after the fall of the Wall in 1989, of course.
“But the most poignant moment was when we realised that the old Stasi surveillance building is now being used to house Syrian refugees.”
The Mopeth students saw Syrian children collecting their meals in the old Stasi canteen, wondering what it must feel like to have such an uncertain future.
The highlight of the second day was the infamous Berlin Wall which divided the city between the Soviet occupation sector and West Berlin at the height of the Cold War, symbol of the ideological rift between East and West.
The students toured a mile-long preserved section of The Wall that was constructed by the Soviets in 1961, with its once-feared watch towers now redundant, which finally came down after 28 years.