These are figures to gladden the hearts of those who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that no victim of the Holocaust will ever be forgotten, and to preventing the recurrence in Europe of genocide and of the anti-Semitism and racism that enabled it.
There are now 67,000 Stolpersteine in 1,600 cities in 21 countries, states Gunter Demnig.
Gunter is the parent of the Stolpersteine movement, which the Cologne-based artist started more than two decades ago. Now 70 years old, Gunter spends his days placing Stolpersteine in the sidewalks in European cities.
“Gunter is on the longest and most arduous marathon of commemoration and art that the world has ever seen. Each placement involves wielding jack-hammers, drills and other heavy equipment. Each involves working in noise and dust,” notes Terry Swartzberg, head of the Initiative Stolpersteine für München e.V.
“Gunter’s heroic, selfless dedication to the commemoration of the Holocaust makes him one of our era’s greatest figures, as does another aspect of his work. He has built up the world’s largest family of commemoration,” notes Terry, the Munich-based ethical campaigner.
This family is comprised of 1,600 organizations, each responsible for its city or area, each managing its own affairs, each staffed by volunteers working on pro bono basis. They handle the processing of orders, which entails researching the victims’ fates and families.
These orders are placed by the victims’ families and friends, by peer groups (such as LGBT associations) and, very often, by the people owning and living in the apartment buildings in which the victims residing before being dragged off to be killed in concentration camps.
“This is grassroots democracy at its finest,” notes Terry. “Even more exciting: it is wholeheartedly supported by the young. L’dor vador – from generation to generation – the young are now bearing the precious memories and messages of the Holocaust – thanks to the Stolpersteine.”
For further information:
(+49-170) 473 35 72