Gunter Demnig engraved the first Stolperstein, a stubbling stone, in Cologne, in front of the Historic City Hall. He had realized that people had no memory of the presence of Sinti and Roma in their city. As he said later, referring to an old woman who had claimed that there had never been Gypsies in her neighborhood: 'She just didn’t know that they had been her neighbours, and I wanted to change that'. That’s the reason why he put the first stumbling Stone there, on 16 December 1992, on the 50th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Erlass signed by Himmler, according to which the Sinti and Roma should be deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Stolpersteine: An Individual Memory – Facebook campaign
In August 2016 we were exploring the phenomenon of Stolpersteine, which has become a significant feature in dealing with the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and of other persecutions. The German artist Gunter Demnig has devoted these last 24 years to commemorate the individuals who underwent the Nazi persecution placing cobblestones where they used to live or work before escaping or being deported or killed.
Zigeunerlager, the section for Gypsies at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was established between the end of February and the beginning of March 1943, following the enforcement of a second decree, signed on 29 January 1943 by Heinrich Himmler. From February 1943 to August 1944: Zigeunerlager (or Gypsy Camp) is in operation at Auschwitz. Documentation reveals the registration of 20,943 Roma and Sinti (10,094 men and 10,888 women and children). However, it is estimated that in actual fact 23,000 Gypsies were detained.
- History of Stolpersteine
- Art and Resistance
- Giving Back an Identity
- Case Study: The Salonikan Jews
- The Incredible Story of the Family Schattner (video)
- The First Stolperstein in Braille
- Extending to New Territories
- Stolpersteine: An Individual Memory
- Gallery: part 1, part 2, part 3
We would like to thank ASG members and followers for sharing their stories and photos with us that we could have used in this project. In alphabethical order: Daniel Bitran, Morad Bouchakour, Maria Fragoulakis, Miriam Friedman Morris, Andrea Heise, Sandra Kostons, Susanne Reber, Cordian Riener, Howard Shattner, John Smeets.