“A person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten.” – this is what Talmud states. These words were also the inspiration for the unique, international project initiated by the German artist Gunter Demning.
In 1992, in Cologne (Germany), he laid the first Stolperstein. Stolpersteine are concrete cubes with brass plates inscribed with short biographical information. Stolpersteine might be easy to miss – their edges measure 10cm (they are the size of cobblestones) and they are installed in the pavement.
Stolpersteine commemorate all the victims of Nazi violence; not only Jewish but also Roma, Sinti, disable, homosexuals and other repressed groups. The project’s motto is „one victim, one stone” to focus on individual tragedies.
Usually Stolpersteine mark the last place of residence (or sometimes work) which was freely chosen by the person before she or he was deported by German Nazis.
Stolpersteine project started in Germany but soon it has been implemented in many other European countries. Nowadays there are over 75,000 such memorials installed in more than 20 countries and 1,200 cities. This is the largest decentralised memorial in the world.
So far they are not very common in Poland. Wroclaw was the first Polish city where Stolpersteine appeared. The first memorial block was laid there in 2008 and honoured Edyta Stein. Today there are more than 40 Stolpersteine in Poland. We had a pleasure to help with travel arrangements for 2 wonderful ladies from the USA who were the initiators of Stolpersteine project in Grajewo in September, 2022. 7 Stolpersteine has appeared on Traugutta and Dolna streets in that town and they commemorate their ancestors who lived there and then were deported and murdered in Treblinka Death Camp.
List of Stolpersteine in Poland: