What is ‘Stolpersteine’?

May 31, 2023

A plaque commemorating a victim of Nazi persecution in Nuremberg became the 100,000th "Stolperstein" recently.

About Stolpersteine:

  • Stolperstein are small, brass memorials placed in the pavements of cities across Europe to commemorate victims of Nazi persecution.
  • The Stolpersteine are a project initiated by German artist Gunter Demnig since 1992.
  • These small stones serve as a reminder of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust and the countless lives that were lost.
  • "Stolperstein" is a German word meaning, literally, "stumbling stone," or, metaphorically, "stumbling block."
  • The first Stolperstein was placed on 16 December 1992, a date which marked 50 years since an order was signed to begin the mass deportation of Jewish people and Roma from Germany.
  • Each of the brass plaques embedded in pavements recalls the fate of a person who was persecuted by the Nazis, deported, murdered or driven to suicide.
  • Unlike some other memorials that focus on specific persecuted groups, the Stolpersteine honour all victims of the Nazi regime, including Jewish, Sinti, Roma, disabled, dissident, and Afro-German and “asocial” citizens.
  • The inscription on each stone begins “Here lived”, followed by the victim’s name, date of birth, and fate: internment, suicide, exile or, in the vast majority of cases, deportation and murder.
  • Each Stolperstein is individually funded and can be sponsored by private individuals, schools or and organisations. 
  • It is the largest decentralized Holocaust memorial in the world.