Tag Archives: Nazi Germany

#Auschwitz75

Today, 27 January 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Auschwitz was established in Poland in 1940 by the Nazi party and was initially created for 3 main purposes: to imprison enemies; to use forced labour; and to kill certain categories of people. An estimated 1.1 million people were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp between 1940 and 1945 and when it was liberated by the Soviet Army in 1945, fewer than 7,000 of the approximately 1.3 million deported there were freed.

The Germans had already moved 60,000 of their prisoners from Aushwitz-Birkenau to other camps and many of them died on those death marches.

Of the 7,000 liberated by the Soviet Union, nearly half were too ill, malnourished and exhausted to survive for long after they were given their freedom.

It is thought that up to 17 million people: 6 million Jews and 11 million from other groups such as the Roma, homosexuals, people with disabilities and those persecuted for their political or religious views; were killed from as early as 1933 and with an increasing intensity during the Second World War.

Zalmen Gradowski – Polish Jew, born circa 1910, transported to Auschwitz December 1942 and killed October 1944.

#WeRemember #Lestweforget #Auschwitz75

Bringing History Lessons to Life in Berlin

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a big fan of holidays. Not just the trips themselves, but I absolutely love the process from the moment we start thinking about the perfect destination to pick and, much to Mike’s frustration, can frequently be found thinking about where we should travel next, even before we’ve left home on the next one booked. We haven’t done too much travelling since our trip back to Canada last summer, but no sooner had G and I got home from our fantastic day out at the Strictly tour, than it was time to finish the packing and zip up the suitcase for our 5 day half-term break.

Our holiday was perhaps not what people expected, in that we weren’t chasing the sun with a few days at the beach, even though both G and M are desperate to go back to Greece and mention it every time they can possibly shoehorn it into any conversation. Instead, we had taken inspiration from G’s GCSE history syllabus and her learning about Superpower relations, the Cold War and Nazi Germany during the inter-War years, subjects which also happen to tie in quite nicely with M’s focus on World War 1 in his history lessons this year; and so headed to Berlin. As the children have got older, we try to involve them more and more with planning our activities whilst we’re aware from home and this trip was no different. G spoke to her history teacher just after Christmas as the school had taken a group of their A-level students to Berlin a few weeks earlier and came home with some recommendations of the best places to visit to help solidify her learning and understanding of these eras.

Armed with that information as well as the additional research Mike had carried out in the preceding weeks, we had plenty to do to fill our time and couldn’t wait to get started. I had found what looked like a great place to stay: the Citadines Kurfürstendamm Berlin apart-hotel, meaning that we had access to a full kitchen which always makes life a little easier when travelling with food allergies. We were ideally located not too far from the main retail street and within easy walking distance to not only shops and restaurants, but also the Berlin U-Bahn, or Underground rapid transit system.

Our first day started, as it so often does when we travel to a new city, with a “Hop-on, hop-off” bus tour, although we weren’t as impressed with the City Circle Tour offering as we have been with other tour companies we’ve chosen in the past. However, it gave us a great introduction to the city of Berlin itself and helped us work out how to get to the various sights on our list as well as ticking a few of them off without too much hassle. Both G and M were fascinated by their first view of the few remaining remnants of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate and the bombed remains of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, all of which really brought their history lessons to life.