Stolpersteine - Gunter Demnig
1 review of Stolpersteine - Gunter Demnig in English
When you walk through Eppendorf, my neighborhood, a central district of Hamburg, Germany, you see the streets are lined with elegant turn-of-the-century town houses, cafés, small bars, restaurants, shops, and numerous small rivers flow through the district at the north tip of the innercity lake Alster. And then you see a large number of bronze colored cobble stones in the sidewalks, in front of some house entrances. These are sidewalk memorials as I call them. Eppendorf had like the Harvestehude and Grindel quarters a large Jewish population until the second world war. These are silent memorials to those who have lived among us until then.
These bronze colored paving stones are called Stolpersteine ("stumbling blocks") in German. They are set into the pavement in front of the entrance of buildings. Each stone has an engraving of the name of a person who had lived in that house and who had been deported and killed during the years of the National Socialism. The stones are simple but effective daily memorials embedded in the sidewalk.
In the area were I live in Hamburg nearly every house has these stones. Some have even 10-12 stumbling blocks. On the picture I posted you see one of the stones in front of the neighboring house were I live (photo).
Stolpersteine is since many years a privately financed project of the artist and craftsman Gunter Demnig from Cologne. He says: "You have to take a low bow infront of the house to read the stone engravings."
The United Nations statement of the Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27:
"We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the belief that race, religion, disability or sexuality make some people's lives worth less than others'. Genocide, antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination still continue. We have a shared responsibility to fight these evils."
This commitment applies to every human being. Never forget.
Gunter Demnig lives and works in Cologne, and sets his stumbling stones everywhere in Germany.
Here is a nice flickr group of photographs:
minisimo, 5 February 2007: Freu mich sehr über diesen Bericht. Sehr gute Sache diese Stolpersteine!
lokalreporter, 5 February 2007: in berlin in my kiez dem scheunenviertel we have such stones too and a lot of young nazis again! my reverence to gunter deming! mein herz für die ermordeten!
Stephan Uhrenbacher, 5 February 2007: Endlich hat die jemand eingestellt. Bravo Cem.
mostro, 5 February 2007: Far away from the reigning values such as economy, vanity, outward appearance or effectiveness these small but grand monuments regularly bring us back to a position in which we are only humble and weak human beings under the grey winter clouds of history.
Thanks to the author for bringing such severe subjects into QYPE - we all could cope with a bit more of political topics ... and reverences to all other similar projects in Europe - in Hamburg e.g. there were some impressive exhibitions and happenings organised by Karin Guth, which showed the fate of Sinti and Roma in the 3rd Reich.
dolly, 6 February 2007: hello cem ,written very well and very instructive; didn't know these stumbling blocks and has studied a little again.
frau_suesske, 10 February 2007: Auch und gerade in Koeln *stolpert* man ueber die Steine. Jeder Spaziergang, jeder Einkaufsbummel fuehrt damit zurueck in diese schreckliche Vergangenheit. Und das ist gut so!!
Anhand der Reaktionen meiner Tochter (13) und ihren Freunden erkenne ich, dass in ihnen ein Bewusstsein und Interesse entstanden ist, welches keine einzige Schulstunde wecken koennte.
Jeder Stein erzaehlt von einem Menschen, einer Geschichte. Das Grauen von damals bekommt ein Gesicht.
Dass so viele Stolpersteine existieren, liegt nicht zuletzt daran, dass Anwohner durch Patenschaften/ Spenden dieses Projekt finanzieren. Fuer mich ist das ein positives Zeichen.
Badbury, 24 December 2007: London's streets are paved in gold, Eppendorf's and Harvestehude's in bronze. I actually do "stumble" across them in front of my house. Great idea! Cem, how good of you to dedicate them an article. Lokalreporter, maybe you should hurl those at the new Nazis' skinheads! And then put them back to place. The stones And the neo-fascists.
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