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Our Lady’s College, Greenhills, Drogheda, Co. Louth

Senior History Trip to Munich and Nuremberg

The Senior History trip to Munich and Nuremberg took place from 18th – 21st February. Twenty five students accompanied by their history teachers arrived in Munich for two hectic days of activity. On the first day the group visited Dachau Concentration Camp and received an excellent guided tour of the camp. Dachau was the first concentration camp opened by Hitler in March 1933. Over 200,000 prisoners came to Dachau, and over 42,000 died there , before it was finally liberated by the American army on 29th April 1945, the day before Hitler’s death. This visit included a visit to the two crematoria used to cremate the prisoners who died in Dachau ; and also the gas chamber built in Dachau (although there is no evidence that any gassings ever took place there). In the afternoon there was a visit to the Jewish Museum in Munich, recently constructed in 2005, to commemorate the Jewish community who lived in Munich before the Nazi regime, and also to commemorate and remember the Jewish people who returned to Munich after World War 11. Two highlights of this visit was the viewing of photographs which gave an in-depth insight into the life of the Jewish community in the city; and a Torah cover owned by an important Munich Jewish family dating from 1887 that was discovered in New York and returned in the last few years to this museum. The next visit was to the Deutsches Museum, one of the largest museums of science and technology in the world. One of the favourite exhibitions here was the hall of aviation with numerous examples of Junkers, Messerschmitts and Heinkels used by the Germany army both before and during World War 11. There was even a V2 rocket on display. This museum provided a great cross-curricular experience with displays in music, coding, physics, chemistry, biology and natural science, to name but a few. The Foucault pendulum was on display, as were copies of the Rosetta Stone and the Gutenberg Bible – the first Bible printed in Germany during the Reformation. The first day ended with a trip to the cinema to see the award-winning film The Banshees of Inisheerin.

On the second day , the group travelled by bus to the city of Nuremberg, one hundred and sixty kilometres north of Munich, but still in the province of Bavaria. The first stop of the day was at the site of the infamous Nuremberg Rallies, that were the yearly propaganda showpiece of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. The group visited the Documentation Centre of Fascination and Terror at the abandoned Congress Hall, and saw various artefacts associated with the Nazi regime including broken glass shards from Kristallnacht, an anti-aircraft searchlight used to light the night sky at the Nuremberg Rallies and part of a granite column from the massive arena that was the March Field. A local guide joined to group to lead us on a guided tour of Nuremberg old city. It was then time to drive to the nearby Zeppelin Field, which was one of the main arenas during the Rallies, where Hitler mounted the podium each evening during the rallies to address the amassed crowds of loyal supporters. The tour continued to the walled city, where there were great opportunities for photos at the castle, along the city wall and in the old town squares where the original wooden house of Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer still stands, and the Hauptmarkt with the beautiful iconic fountain Schoner Brunnen. The last stop was at the Palace of Justice to visit the Nuremberg Trials Memorium. It was an incredible experience to stand in Court Room 600, the very courtroom where 177 Nazi leaders including Goering, Hess, Speer and Streicher were tried

and convicted for their war crimes. Held for the purpose of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, the Nuremberg Trials are now regarded as a milestone towards the establishment of a permanent international court. They led directly to the Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The group returned to Munich at nightfall and prepared for an early morning return flight on the following day. The students and teachers, Ms. McGorry, Ms. Mills and Ms. Murphy, all agreed that this tour was a wonderful enriching educational experience.