November 26, 2017


On my first day in Berlin this past summer, my friend one of my hosts, Renee, pointed out these bronze plaques in the sidewalk. They are “stolpersteine” — stumbling stones, or stumbling blocks.  They somber reminders of toll the Nazis took.

Each block is placed in front of the home (or where it once stood) of the person who was displaced. It starts with the words, “here lived,” followed by the details: name (here: Hugo, Paula and Eva Haarzoph), year of birth (1896, 1907, 1933), date the person was displaced from their home (Feb 26, 1943), and (if known) their destination and fate. In this case, the family’s fate was Auchwitz. Hugo, at some point, was moved to KZ Natzweiler concentration camp.   As far as their fate, I believe the english translation for “ermordet” is “murdered.”

There are currently over 600 stolperstein in Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Norway and Ukraine and more on the way. The project was founded by artist Gunter Demning in an effort to remember the victims of the Nazis. 

He cites the Talmud saying that “a person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten”.

You can read more about Gunter Demning and stolperstein here.

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