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During the February half-term holiday, 26 Upper Sixth pupils travelled to Poland. The focus of the trip was a visit to Auschwitz, designed to complement pupils’ understanding of the Jewish experience in the twentieth century as part of an A2 course on the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Based in Krakow, in southern Poland, the group toured the old city, visiting the sixteenth century castle, the early modern cathedral and the medieval St Mary’s Church.
Auschwitz was the focal point of the second day. The main camp, with its notorious sign Arbeit Macht Frei (Work brings freedom), houses a museum of exhibits, such as human hair and inmates’ belongings, together with a prison block and execution yard. Birkenau, the primary extermination site, is a vast space containing the remains of several crematoria buildings.
Appropriately, the visit had a significant impact on the pupils. The final day included a tour of the Jewish quarter in Krakow and a more cheerful visit to the Wieliczka salt mine.
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