Upper, middle school students visit World War II monuments in Europe

Upper, middle school students visit World War II monuments in Europe

Students accompanied by faculty members visited Eagle’s Nest, Adolf Hitler’s secret hideout in the Berchtesgaden, Germany.

Students and teachers from both campuses traveled to Europe from Jun. 9 to 22 to experience historical World War II landmarks first-hand.

The group began its journey in London, where attendees visited well-known locations such as the Churchill War Rooms, the Imperial War Museum and sites on the Jack the Ripper tour.

The next stop for the group was Normandy, France, the location of Operation Overlord (D-Day). The next stop for the group was Normandy, where they got to explore the beaches where Operation Overlord, commonly known as D-Day, occurred.

Attendance Coordinator Gabriel Preciado said visiting Omaha Beach helped him fully realize the weight of the war.

“[When I was there,] I was trying to imagine that fateful day,” Preciado said. “I was thinking about the young men who were involved and the sacrifices they made. It must’ve been a scary moment in their lives.”

History teacher Lilas Lane said she thought the physical landscape of Normandy brought the history of World War II to life.

“Just imagine what it must have been like scaling those cliffs, seeing the craters of where the artillery had dropped the bombs, the Nazis and their guns, looking at the stretch of the beaches,” Lane said. “It’s different from documentaries and photographs.”

After France, the group went to Munich to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp and learn more about the Holocaust.

Grant Keller ‘21 said he thought the concentration camp was the most meaningful place he visited.

“Seeing the massive size of the camp in person made me realize the true scale of this atrocity,” Keller said. “Nothing really compares in showing the horrors of the Holocaust than seeing the sites in person.”

It was eye-opening for Lane to see current-day Germans’ different feelings about World War II, she said.

“One of the big takeaways was just how ambivalent people still are in Germany,” Lane said. “I think it’s a point of conflict and there is still tension within the German society, for sure.” During the last four days of the trip, students and faculty explored Berlin, where they saw Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin War, the Brandenburg Gate and also toured the Reichstag. Next year’s trip to Europe will be focused on the Cold War, Lane said. Some potential cities they might visit are Berlin, Warsaw and Budapest.

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