Student historians from Camborne Science and International Academy travelled the breadth of Europe to learn about Nazi Germany last month.

“It was a life changing trip from start to finish for everyone involved,” said Kelen Jones, head of history. “We started the trip in Berlin, learning all about the Nazi regime. We walked for miles through the city to see important historical sites including the Reichstag building, the Soviet Tiergarten and the Brandenburg gates.”

Fifty-one students from years ten to 12 went on the seven-day trip along with two members of staff. “We visited Checkpoint Charlie which really brought home the challenge Berliners faced to have freedom,” said Rhys James of year 11. “The museum showed the different methods people used to escape into West Berlin like hiding in hollowed out surfboards and even on a tightrope.”

The group also visited the East Side Gallery of political graffiti. “We then travelled to Krakow and took a bus trip to Auschwitz, which included a detailed briefing of the Holocaust, the development of the Final Solution and the creation and consequences of Auschwitz,” said Miss Jones. “This was very hard-hitting but our students conducted themselves with the utmost respect and dignity – they were a credit to CSIA.”

Students walked through the infamous gateway with the signage ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ and travelled silently around the buildings.

“Rooms filled with the evidence of genocide followed by corridors displaying the faces of the inmates created a thoughtful and reflective atmosphere for us all,” added Miss Jones. “We were given a tour of the purpose-built death camp including the railway, toilet and sleeping blocks, and the memorial at the now demolished crematoria and gas chambers.”

John Ross, the CSIA director of key stage five, said: “I was very proud of our students who conducted themselves with a decorum and maturity well beyond their years.”

After the emotional challenge of Auschwitz, the students relaxed in Krakow city centre and enjoyed the buildings, café culture and market.

Having spent a lot of time investigating the negative impact of the Nazi regime on Jewish culture, it was fitting to end the trip in a restaurant in the Jewish quarter; with a traditional three course Jewish meal whilst being entertained by a traditional Jewish band.