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20-year anniversary for 'Stolpersteine' memorials


This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Stolpersteine—stumbling blocks—that have become a familiar and poignant reminder of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust. There are now more than 56,000, not only in Germany but in areas that were occupied by Nazi Germany.

German artist Gunter Demnig came up with the idea of keeping memories alive not only of the events of the Nazi era, but of the individual victims. Each stone, actually a brass tablet, is set into the ground at the last address of those who were deported, murdered, or forced to flee. While most commemorate Jews, the project also includes other victims, including Roma, communists and socialists, and homosexuals.

Demnig has personally installed 5000 of the tablets. He says that he was inspired by a Talmudic idea that "a person is onlyl forgotten when his or her name is forgotten."

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I found them very thoughtful and moving memorials.  By placing them in the pavement, people keep polishing them with their feet.

As I've said before, there's no people I know that have faced the crimes of their past generations the way today's Germans face their Nazi infamy.

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