New Holocaust “Stepping Stones” Laid in Prague

Prague Morning

Twenty-four new Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) in memory of the Holocaust victims were laid last week in Prague.

“The blocks with the information of the deceased are laid in the pavement in front of the victims’ houses,” said the head of the Jewish Community František Bányai.

“Families and institutions, or anyone who wants to remember a Holocaust victim can contact us. We currently have applicants until 2023,” added Bányai. A maximum of about 50 stolpersteines can be laid in Prague every year.

Israeli Ambassador in Prague, Daniel Meron, said the paving stones should be a reminder and a warning since even now it is necessary to fight antisemitism and racism.

Their number is limited because they are supplied exclusively by the German artist and author of the entire project, Gunter Demnig.

Prague Stumble Stones text is always in the local language. Every Stone starts “Here Lived”, followed by the name/title of the person, year of birth, the year of the first deportation from Prague.

WHERE DO THEY ORIGINATE?

In 1990 when Gunter Demnig was marking the route where Roma had been deported from the city of Cologne he was told by a woman that “Roma” had never lived in that area.

Mr. Demnig was looking for a way to reintroduce the memory of these deported people back into their old neighbourhoods. The ground location is specifically because it’s easier to get the permission of the city to install in the pavement than to get the permission of the building owner to put something on the wall. As there are few maps to show the placement of the stones then people will naturally “stumble” across them. The current project started in 1996.

Tens of thousands of blocks with names and dates of birth and death and facts about the people’s deportations to Nazi-operated camps have been placed in pavements all over Europe since then.

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