At the start of February our Psychology department took 26 students from across both year groups to Krakow in Poland to explore their current topic of Social Influence. This topic covers issues of obedience to authority to inflict pains on others and how social roles played by Prisoners and Guards. While the students were away, they were encouraged to apply what they had learned in lessons about the observations of Milgram and Zimbardo as both studies related directly to the trip. Above all, it was an opportunity for the young adults to sensitise towards atrocities and put them in larger historical/ social context.
During the two day trip, the students visited four key places that show the history of Poles and Jews throughout history and in particular the Second World War. They visited the Galicia Museum, existing to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to celebrate the Jewish Culture of Polish Galicia, as well as having a guided tour of the Schindler Factory Museum, which is housed in the former administrative building of Oskar Schindler’s Factory, that tells the story of Schindler and the Jewish Prisoners of Plaszow, who were the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s hit movie, “Schindler’s List”. They also had a tour of Auschwitz, a concentration and extermination camp operated by Nazi Germany during the Second World War, as well as a tour of Birkenau, an extermination camp also referred to as ‘Auschwitz II’. One student, Louise Evans, said that Auschwitz “was a moving but good experience”. As well as this, the students had an interaction with a survivor narrating her experience in Auschwitz as a child.
Overall, students James Munro, Rebecca Allaway and Alfie Matthews described the trip as ‘amazing’ and ‘benefitting’, as well as giving them ‘real-life experience of one of the main topics in Psychology’.