STOLPERSTEINE: Remembering the Victims




If you have never heard of a STOLPERSTEINE you aren’t alone.  I hadn’t either until my trip in November to The Netherlands and Germany. This article is going to tell you about them so that when you travel to Europe, you will be on the lookout for them.


Stolpersteine is German for Stumbling Block or Stumbling Stone. It is a brass cube shaped memorial plaque that is laid in front of the last residence of choice of a victim of the holocaust.   The size is 4″ X 4″.  They could be seen alone, but also in groups where families lived together.  The father ‘s and mother’s stones above the children’s stones is the norm.  They bear the name of the person who lived there, the birth and death years, where they were deported to such as the transit camp and where they died, and they can hold as much as 6 lines.

Where can you see a STOLPERSTEINE?

Stolpersteines can be found in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.

Stolpersteine in Wertheim GermanyThe picture on the left has a group of stumbling stones in front of a store in Wertheim, Germany.

Whose idea was it to create the STOLPERSTEINE ?

Gunter Demning is a German Artist who was touched by the loss of so many Jews in his hometown of Berlin, Germany and wanted to do something about it. His website states:  Gunter Demnig cites the Talmud saying that “a person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten”. The Stolpersteine in front of the buildings bring back to memory the people who once lived here. Each “stone” begins with HERE LIVED… One “stone”. One name. One person. He created a foundation to administer the project.

Gunter Demning always places the first stone in a new location himself. As of April 2017 there were around 61,000 STOLPERSTEINE in 1,200 locations in Europe. There will be more, there’s a waiting list that is only growing larger.

Who would have a STOLPERSTEINE?

On the STOLPERSTEINE website it states: “This project commemorates all victims of National Socialism – Jews, Sinti, Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled people, people persecuted for their political views, their religion or their sexuality, forced laborers, men considered deserters – anyone who was persecuted or murdered by the National Socialists between 1933 – 1945.


Not all STOLPERSTEINE are for those who were murdered. Sometimes one or more members of the family escaped and the others were murdered, but their plaques would be placed together at their last ‘residence of choice”. It’s a way of bringing the family together again.


Anyone can request a STOLPERSTEINE for a victim, but there is extensive research involved and permissions where necessary. Living family members must be consulted and permission given for the stone as well.  They cost 120 Euro (roughly $133 USD) for making and placing the stones.


Do you like the idea of seeing these memorials placed all over Europe?  This is just one of the ideas I have for you when you visit Europe and this is my specialty.  Click here to set up a Let’s Get Acquainted call now.

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