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History Excursion to Auschwitz and Krakow, Poland

As part of their studies in modern European history, a component of both IGCSE and A level history involves studying the Nazis. To help gain more first-hand experience and to reinforce the lessons taught, students from Levels 1,2,3 and 4 visited the concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, located in southern Poland.

This is the fourth time an excursion from Townshend to Auschwitz has occurred, and like the previous ones, our students and staff were respectful and careful to take the lessons from this dark period in history. Whilst it is obviously tough seeing the violence and depravity of the Nazi regime, it is always an extremely useful reminder of why we teach values and ethics. It is always so good to bring students from such varied backgrounds and ideas to a site like this to show how wrong the Nazis’ ideas of prejudice and racism were.

Following the excursion to Auschwitz, after an overnight stay in a hostel, the students were then taken to experience Polish culture and explore one of Europe’s most beautiful and historic cities: Kraków. The students were given a guided tour of several sites including Wawel Castle, the old Jewish square, and the historic central square of Kraków.

Thanks to the Wenku travel agency for organising the excursion, and thanks to the chaperones (Mr. Palsha, Mrs. Sabri, Dagmar Duncan) and all who participated. It is an intense, long (at least 16 hours of bus riding in 2 days) but ultimately worthwhile trip, and I hope it will widen our students’ knowledge and give them yet more experiences and lessons to take into their futures.

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