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Stumbling Stones

30. Juni 2016 | von

Stumbling Stone in Köln-Kyffhäuserstraße

 

You probably already stepped by (or even stumbled) on those stones somewhere in Aachen, Germany, or even Europe. And like the majority of the people, you kind of noticed that this stone looks different from the rest of the sidewalk’s pattern. Maybe you even made some effort by pressing the eyes and read some name on it. And if you took some minute more, you noticed that this message graved on the stone it is about honoring somebody, his/hers birth date and death are also marked on it. And in many cases some tough detail of this person’s life is also shared, e.g. “deported to Auschwitz in 1944, murdered”.

The stumbling stones are nothing more than a block of cement capped with this golden-metal-sign where the name, dates, and detail of the crime committed against this person is graved. The main concept of this memorial is to make us remember the horrible times of the Nazism in the same way as honoring this person (and all the others) that suffered crimes like persecution, deportation, murder or were haunted until committing suicide. Those blocks are normally placed in from of the last habitation this person freely lived. They are dug in the soil and leveled with the path. Gunter Demnig is the artist that developed this concept, and the first stone was placed in the year of 1992.

 

As tough as those stones content are, they are in the same way a very interesting idea and art work. By the way it is the most spread around memorial in Europe! So far there seem to exist 56.000 of those stones spread in many cities in 19 european countries. Crazy, to think that those places are all connected by this memory (and of course many other factors…). I particularly also like a lot the fact that they are simply spread around the city. So you can always be surprised when finding one. You can try to make a virtual collection of those. If they would be all represented in a map, we could learn a lot about the neighborhoods and cities inhabitants at that time (for example stating that a neighborhood was mostly inhabited by Jews, or that a specific part of the city didn’t host any Jews at all, etc.).

 

Although I would love to share the very interesting stones-situations I’ve already saw, I sadly couldn’t find them anymore – extra because I was looking for them (you know… Murphy’s law!). So decided that I will post some more in the comments whenever I find an interesting one. And you’re also invited to post any nice example you find!

 

Get on your shoes and go have a walk through your city, whenever you stumble, just take a picture of the stone!

 

 

Stumbling Stone in Köln-Severinstraße

Stumbling Stone in Köln-Altstadt

 



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