On the second day, we left the hotel for Auschwitz-Birkenau where we had an extended guided tour. We walked up to the gate with the famous saying, “work will give you freedom”, and everyone was trying to imagine what must have been going through people’s minds as they walked though this gate. We were shown around the buildings where Jewish people were sent to sleep, equally where many had died. Whilst walking around, we were shown a display of how women’s hair was spun to make into cloth and also parts of the German uniforms. Everyone walked around in silence trying to grasp what it must have looked like back then. We were shown a special block which was a bit like a prison. When entering the gas chambers, you were immediately aware of how musty and cold it was. The walls were coloured a green to blue shade, which apparently is what is left of the gas that was used. After a very memorable day we returned to Krakow to go and experience a traditional Polish folklore dinner, we were entertained by interesting dances and music. Some people had more involvement in dancing than others.
On the third day we left for the Wieliczka Salt Mine, where we were given a tour and a chance to taste some of the salt straight from the walls of the mine. On leaving the mine we wandered through the Polish Junior Strictly Come Dancing competition which was a surprise considering we were hundreds of feet underground! After this we headed back into Krakow to have lunch. We were then given a tour around the Jewish museum followed by a moving talk from an inspirational Jewish woman who told her story throughout the war and holocaust.
On the last day, which was Halloween, we had a tour of Wawel Cathedral and Wawel Castle. We saw the fire-breathing dragon out of its cave. After the tour we were given a chance to see Krakow on our own. In the main square we had the opportunity to explore Polish shops and a chance to have lunch in a Polish restaurant. After this we then headed to the airport for our flight back to Heathrow. We then took a bus back to School.
Overall the trip was an amazing experience and we had the opportunity to gain a unique insight that many other visitors may not encounter. The trip was very useful as it is very relevant to our current history topic. It brought the subject to life and is something that we will never forget. This destination was chosen to support our studies but with its deep and dark place in human history, it is clear why it is also a travel a location for many people.
‘During the October half term, Fourth and Fifth Form pupils went on a history trip to Krakow in Poland. We set of to London Heathrow by coach and after a three-hour flight we arrived in Poland. Greeted by our tour guides we went straight into the Jewish quarter for lunch and we were shown areas that were featured in the film Schindler’s List. This area was a significant spot as throughout the war this location and its residents were heavily affected by the war. Later in the evening we went to the Schindler’s factory museum where we were given a tour, here we saw how Schindler’s factory operated and how he saved so many Jewish lives.’
Lucas Allum (Fifth Form, Gascoigne) and Alex Moore (Fifth Form, Gascoigne)