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Stolpersteine: the world’s largest project of commemoration

 

73,000 Stolpersteine in 1,600 cities in 26 countries – placed by 1,600 local organizations, each staffed by volunteers. It adds up to the largest, most inclusive and democratic project of commemoration that the world has ever seen.

Each Stolperstein (“stumbling block”) commemorates a victim of the Shoah – Jew, Sinti or Roma, homosexual, persons persecuted for religious or political views or due to supposed disability (“euthanasia”).

Each Stolperstein is placed in the sidewalk in front of the building in which the victim lived before being dragged off by the Nazis to be murdered.

Each is commissioned by persons who have dedicated themselves to commemorating their family members, friends, neighbors.

Each Stolperstein is manufactured by hand and installed in the sidewalk by Gunter Demnig, the Cologne-based artist who launched this movement in 1994.

Each Stolperstein thus enables passersby to get to know and remember one of the 11 million people killed in the Holocaust.

The Stolpersteine thus constitute “the palpable atlas of Jewish life and suffering” – in the words of Galit Noga-Bonai, professor of religious art at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

Four images showing the Stolpersteine in Munich

 

FAQs

Who are the Stolpersteine for?

For everybody persecuted by the Nazis: Jews, homosexuals, Sinti and Roma (gypsies), victims of the Nazis’ “euthanasia” programs, and groups.

 

What about survivors of the Nazis’ persecution. Do they get Stolpersteine?

Yes. This is because the Stolpersteine document the fates of entire families and groups.

 

Where are the Stolpersteine placed?

On the sidewalks in front of the buildings in which the victims last lived their normal lives – prior to their becoming victims.

 

Who applies and donates the money for the Stolpersteine?

The largest group is comprised of the owners and tenants of the buildings in which the victims lived, followed by members of victims’ families and support groups (such as homosexuals).

 

How much does a Stolperstein cost?

€120. That covers the creation and placement of the Stolperstein.

 

What happens if someone can’t afford that?

No problem. We find the money. There are always many donors who are glad to contribute.

 

How do I apply for a Stolperstein?

By contacting the organization responsible for your area. There are 1,600 such organizations. We can help you find them. Please fill out the application form and send it to initiative@stolpersteine-muenchen.de The local organization handles the researching of the victim’s life and the ordering and placement of the Stolperstein.

 

How often are Stolpersteine defaced, damaged or removed? And what happens when this takes place?

To date, according to Gunter Demnig, the artist who created the Stolpersteine, 600 of the 80,000 Stolpersteine have suffered this fate. They were all replaced ASAP – within a few days or weeks.

 

How often are the Stolpersteine cleaned?

At least once a year and often on November 9th Reichspogromnacht. In Munich, we clean our Stolpersteine 2-3 times a year.

 

Who decides upon the wording of the Stolpersteine?

Working with organizations of commemoration, Gunter Demnig established guidelines for the wording.

 

How many Stolpersteine are there, and who are they for?

As of June 2019, there were 80,000 Stolpersteine in 1,600 cities in 26 countries. Germany has 56,000 Stolpersteine. They are to be found in 1,100 cities.

Jews constitute the largest group commemorated, followed by…..

 

What sources of information are there on the Stolpersteine?

Gunter’s Website is stolpersteine.eu

Wikipedia has a helpful entry: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolpersteine

 

Are family members consulted prior to the creation of Stolpersteine?

Yes. And all of them have to agree to the placement.

 

Who staffs the Stolpersteine organizations?

Volunteers working on pro bono bases. Gunter has a team of eight persons. It handles the creation and placement of Stolpersteine, and the keeping of records.

 

How long will it take to get my Stolperstein placed?

There is a huge demand for Stolpersteine. Which is good. The negative thing is that you may have to wait between six months and a year for the placement to take place.

 

Who places the Stolpersteine?

Gunter. In some cases, local organizations carry out placements – in agreement with Gunter and his staff.

 

Is there opposition to the Stolpersteine?

There is, notably in Munich, in which the leader of the ultra-orthodox congregation is against them. Munich is one of several cities that restrict the placement of Stolpersteine to on private property.

 

What cities have the most Stolpersteine?

Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt.

 

What’s the history of the Stolpersteine?

Gunter, a conceptual artist, launched the project in Cologne in 1991. The first officially-approved Stolpersteine were placed in July 1997. This was in Austria. The Stolpersteine were for two brothers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, who refused to serve in the Nazi armed forces.

 

 

Apply for a Stolperstein.

Please fill out the form below and email it to initiative@stolpersteine-muenchen.de

Application Form of Stolpersteine