Setting the memory of Holocaust victims in stone





You only really start to understand the place when you get a feel for its past. And a nation's history isn't only to be found on its battlefields, or in the ruins of its castles. It also lies in the bones of its culture - in its poems, in its music, and in the stories your neighbours might tell you.

The door-handles of my old Berlin apartment are beautiful. Brass, art nouveau and engraved with flowers worn smooth by more than 100 years of hands - the hands of those who lived here before....

In the pavements of Berlin, there's brass. Here and there, small cobbles of it. They're a little worn - like the lovely door-handles in our home - but by wind and weather, rather than hands.

And instead of flowers, each is engraved with a person's name, date of birth and their death.

The word, "ermordet" - murdered - is almost always there. Or sometimes, "Flucht in den Tod" - "killed whilst trying to escape". Or "Freitod" - "Suicide".

These brass cobbles are "Stolpersteine" - "stumbling blocks" - hand-made by sculptor Gunter Demnig who, for the past 14 years, has worked with his hammer, chisel and drill to set his commissioned blocks outside front doors throughout continental Europe....



comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list