HISTORY students took a poignant trip abroad as they learnt about the harsh reality of the Holocaust.

St Mary's Senior School for Girls took GCSE students of History and Religious Studies on a three-day visit to Kraków, Poland.

The first stop was to the last remaining synagogue in Kraków, where the girls learned about pre-war Jewish life and the Jewish Ghetto which existed under Nazi occupation.

Up next was a visit to the Galicia Jewish Museum.

Here, students had the privilege of meeting a Holocaust survivor who gave her account and personal experiences of being born to Jewish parents in Kraków during the war.

Day two saw the students visit Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The powerful displays of physical objects found at the site and the sheer scale of Auschwitz II left a lasting impression.

“No book or video can fully prepare you for the impact of this site,” said school subject leader for history Benjamin Rassell.

The evening was spent listening and dancing to traditional Polish folk music to end the day on a more hopeful note.

Finally, on day three, was a visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, where students saw stunning carvings and uncovered several underground chapels and sculptures.