Journey to Poland 2023

Travel to Poland

For the past 9 years, history and geography teacher Annick Berthod and English teacher Igor Bonnet have been committed to a deep-rooted remembrance of the Holocaust, taking each year’s Terminale class to Poland to follow in the footsteps of Jewish life there.

The trip to Poland is in line with the history and history-geography, political science and geopolitics syllabuses of the Terminale year, as well as with our school’s project.

The aim is to prepare our students to become citizens who are aware of the challenges of yesterday, today and tomorrow for a participative democracy, by studying and visiting the places where the extermination of a people took place, and thus the annihilation of humanism, the very cornerstone of democracy.

Our journey takes us to Auschwitz and then back in time, following in the footsteps of Jewish life in Krakow, the Polish countryside and Warsaw.

Classes, discussion and reflection sessions, workshops and visits to the Mahn-und-Gedenkstätte in Düsseldorf prepare students for the trip.

Report on the trip to Poland

From Saturday January 28 to Friday February 3, this educational trip took us to the concentration and extermination camps Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau, then on to Krakow, where we visited the city, the former ghetto and the Schindler Museum, then to Chmielnik, where we visited a synagogue that had been desecrated and turned into a museum, before going on to Lodz, where traces of a Jewish population representing half the city were still clearly visible.
After a trip to Chelmno to see the first Nazi extermination camp, the trip ended in Warsaw with a visit to the Warsaw Jewish Institute, where a permanent exhibition is devoted to the Ringelblum archives: texts, photos, drawings and other traces of life in the Warsaw ghetto.

This trip gave us, the final-year students, a better feel for and understanding of the history we are told.
The historical photos took on real dimensions.
Despite our thick coats, the cold that seeped down to our skin was a humbling reminder of the harshness of the cold experienced by deportees at the time.
It was a modest experience compared to their terrible reality, but it gave us a better understanding of their suffering.
At last, this genocide has become personal.
It’s no longer hard-to-capture numbers that come to mind, but distinct faces, families of innocents.
The places are no longer vague in a faraway land.
They are buildings we have
cold stones, piled-up objects and hundred-year-old trees which, having been there at the time, allowed us to touch the past and appropriate the sufferings of these people, just as a letter written by one’s ancestor would, telling the story by talking about the lived experience.

During the presentation of the trip, the Terminales tried to convey, through a film, images and discussions, their feelings, their awareness and the responsibility they now bear to the Première students preparing for the trip, and to their parents.

Our special thanks go to Madame Berthod, who organized and accompanied the trip, as well as to Monsieur Bonnet and Monsieur Besançon, the escorts, and Monsieur Dillenschneider, for making this trip possible, which is and always will be an immense privilege for the Terminales.

The Master of Ceremonies,
Terminale 2023

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