July 8, 2008
Our cities overflow with so many monuments… of old kings (that no one knows anymore), generals or Holocaust memorials. Often you don´t really see them anymore and just walk past them (the exception being the amazing Holocaust memorial in Berlin). Memorials should make you feel and remember and empathize. Most stone memorials don´t really do that.
The “Stolpersteine by Gunter Demnig do. They can be found throughout germany and even Austria and Hungary, over 12500 of them. I “found” the first ones in our town Dortmund a few months ago. They remind us of people killed by the nazis, whether they were jews, homosexuals, members of the resitance or disabled people. A brass plaque is put in the ground in front of the houses where the people lived and says just “here lived” or like in Dortmund “here worked”, the name, year of birth and the fate of the person.
It´s so smart – and touching. The stones don´t match the allignment of the surrounding stones, you literally stumble over them. Even in the busi shopping street in Dortmund they stand out, not like a monument where you just walk around…they “hit” you personally and make you stop and look.