The plan of class 10a was to visit Edinburgh in late September but as many other classes we had to cancel our plans and were very sad. Then our teacher came up with the idea to go to nearby Ravensbrück, which is the only former concentration camp for women built by the Nazis and located in Fürstenberg on the river Havel. We weren’t too thrilled in the beginning because of the history of this place but then we were excited to finally go on a class trip.
Read about our great class trip:
After a slightly exhausting journey with three changes we arrived at the youth hostel in Ravensbrück shortly after 11 am on a lovely Monday morning. We moved into the rooms in the “Chestnut“ house, which is one of the former accomodations of the female guards working in the nearby concentration camp Ravensbrück.
After lunch we did a city ralley through Fürstenberg in small groups and were rewarded with ice cream in a small café. It was one of our classmates’ birthday so she kindly invited us – that was very sweet after walking for two hours. In the evening we watched „Fantastic beasts 2“ in order to celebrate the unusual birthday. Bed time was already at 10 pm.
Jakob and Bero
On Tuesday we started the day off with a basic breakfast buffet at the youth hostel. At 9:30 am we started our guided forest tour with a biologist working around the area he showed us. We learned things about the last ice age and its impact on Brandenburg. Our guide also told us about the change of the tree population and how the Creek Hegenstein was dug centuries ago. We returned to our hostel at noon and then we had a free afternoon. Many of us went to the supermarket in town.
We met up again at 4:30 pm and prepared ourselves for the visit of the memorial on the next day. We read different texts like a smuggled letter from a former inmate of Ravensbrück, a comment on the question if visits to concentation camps should be mandatory for pupils, a comment on taking selfies in concentration camps and an article about the new exhibition on the female guards. We discussed the necessity of visiting Holocaust memorial sites and shared our expectations and worries.
After dinner we prepared for our campfire. Some people collected sticks for the marshmallows and bread and some collected firewood. Afterwards we ate the roasted delicacies, chatted at the campfire and enjoyed each other’s company, Finally we also played “Werewolf“ twice. At 10 pm we all went to our rooms and got ready for bed.
Lela and Nikolas
On Wednesday after breakfast we visited the memorial of the concentration camp. First we went up the hill to the former “Führerhaus“ and then walked to the site itself to get an impression of how gigantic the camp was.
Once the museum opened we entered and found tons of well-prepared information about the inmates and their everyday life in the camp, which was especially interesting for our class.
After lunch we had a guided tour of the camp site where we were told a lot about the history of this place and how the culture of remembrance has changed over the years.
The visit was intriguing and horrifying at the same time and our minds were occupied from all the things we learnt.
Afterwards our teacher invited us to take a walk and promised a surprise. Some of us speculated that it could have something to do with the bet the lost in class. So we headed to the city centre and stopped at an even smaller café where she invited us to have an ice cream. In the evening we were back at the memorial site lighting candles at the sunset on the lake and listening to inmates’ poems and a speech by Elie Wiesel. Our teacher prepared a placemat activity to talk about the things we saw and experienced during the visit. Some of us had a hard time to concentrate but it was interesting to read what our classmates thought.
Lennart and Dawid
On Thursday morning the day started with a morning impulse from Jakob and Henri, which consisted of a warm-up game. Shortly afterwards breakfast took place as usual, which like every morning for most of the students consisted only of rolls with jam, cheese or cold cuts.
After that, however, things got down to business: The canoe tour day really started, although on the first part of our tour on the Havel it was easier than expected.
When we got to our rest stop, some of us decided to jump fully or halfway dressed into the freezing water. Some earned a bit of money, others just made it for the fun of it.
The way back was a completely different story.
Although it was the same route, it was much more exhausting. At least that’s how I felt. However, this could have been due to the redistribution of the groups.
Despite the lead of our canoe, one person in our canoe managed to throw his paddle into the lake and only told the rest of his crew too late that the paddle was no longer in his care. By then the paddle had drifted some 20 metres away, which is why we fell back when we set out to get it back. It felt like we did an extra detour on the idyllic lake Röblin.
Obviously we lost first place and officially came third. The rest of the day was very relaxed, although everyone on my boat, including me, was soaking wet because of me.
In the evening a small group of us gathered and decided to spend the last evening in the idyll of peace and community. To be honest, that was the best end to any trip I’ve ever been on.
On Friday, the last day of our trip, we had to clean our rooms. After finishing this fun activity we went to the common room to evaluate our trip. Each of us brought one item that reminded that person of their favourite moment. We shared those little stories and enjoyed reliving the moments.
Our teacher prepared a feedback sheet with different categories and she gave us four stickers to use. We agreed that the canoe trip and the campfire were our highlights of the classtrip. Then we had one spare hour to visit the new exhibition of the female guards at Ravensbrück.
At noon we collected our luggage and headed for the train station to go back to Berlin. We all enjoyed our class trip and it would have been great to stay a bit longer.