Stolpersteinverlegung (Stumble Stone Ceremony)

by Stef Rieder

In America, I learned about the horrors of the Holocaust and World War II many times, but only in a classroom via powerpoint, textbook or the occasional Jewish Museum. But since having moved to Berlin, the past surrounds me and is now a part of my present. In Berlin and the rest of Germany, those who were horrifically murdered in the Holocaust are remembered on the sidewalks in front of their respective homes with these bronze cobblestones, or the literal German translation, “tripping stones”. One man and his assistant sculpt the cobblestones and bring them to the respective homes. The stones include the name of the person, date of birth, where they were transported, and when they were murdered. The funds for these cobblestones are often donated by the community. My girlfriend’s mother, with a lot of research and hard work, was able to track down the family of those who lived in her flat during the Holocaust. Aliza Strauss Even-tov flew with her husband, Moshe, from Israel to be at the Stolpersteinverlegung. Aliza’s family was deported to the Riga death camp on the 15th of August, 1942, where they were murdered three days later. The family remembered on the cobblestones includes Fritz Strauss (38), Katharina Strauss (36), Evelyn (16), Hans-Michael (6), and Judith (4). May these people and millions of others never be forgotten.

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