“All of us must continue to insist that Nazis are not welcome, that we must keep the memory alive and learn from our history so that it does not happen again.” – Hendrik Czeczatka
Thomasius Street is a quick walk from where we stayed in Berlin last week. It’s a typical Berlin residential street lined with small cars and local shops. Go back 75 years, and Thomasius Street was turned into hell by the Nazi’s who forced the Jewish families living there out. Most of them were deported to death camps, many perished at Auschwitz.
All across Germany that story was repeated. Your home was not yours anymore. Your fate was in the hands of hate.
Other people moved in, moved out, again and again, until your life on the street you called home, was erased.
In 1996, a project began in Germany to remind people of those who called these places home. It commemorates people who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.
The project is called Stolpersteine (stumbling stones), and it was created by the artist Gunter Demnig.
To date, more than 63,000 of the stones have been installed across Germany and in other European countries since the project began.
Stolpersteine are concrete blocks measuring 10x10cm which are laid into the pavement in front of the last voluntarily chosen of residence of the victims of the Nazis. Their names and fate are engraved a brass plate on the top of each Stolperstein.
They are a reminder of what was lost. One can’t help but stare at the names, the ages, the dates of their death.
If we don’t remember the past, we will repeat it.
These are some of the stones we saw.