This day

by Cem Basman


These bronce colored paving stones are called Stolpersteine ("stumbling blocks") in German. They are set into the pavement in front of the entrances of buildings. Each stone has an engraving of the name of a person who had lived in that house and who was deported and killed during the years of the National Socialism. In the area were I live in Hamburg nearly every house has these stones. Some have 10-12 stumbling blocks. On the picture above you see one of the stones in front of the house were I live. Stolpersteine is since many years a privately financed project of the artist Gunter Demnig from Cologne.

Today is the Commemoration Day for the Victims of National Socialism. This day is also called the Holocaust Memorial Day. About 7,500 prisoners were liberated in Auschwitz concentration camp by the 322nd Infantry unit of the Red Army on January 27, 1945. The exact number of victims is impossible to fix with certainty.

The United Nations statement of commitment for this day:

We recognise that humanity is still scarred by the belief that race, religion, disability or sexuality make some people's lives worth less than others'. Genocide, antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and discrimination still continue. We have a shared responsibility to fight these evils.

This commitment applies to every human being. This is the true acceptation of this day. One world.



Tony S Lee, 2006-01-27


Thanks for sharing. The Stolpersteine are clearly an excellent tribute.

This is a suitable time to mention the movie Life is Beautiful (La Vita e Bella) which, although based in Italy, is a truly moving tale of the times to which you are paying tribute.

If you haven't seen it, make sure you do.

Ben Rose, 2006-01-27

Ben, this is Cem Basman. Not Volker. He is on the way back home ;). "Life is Beautiful" is a wonderful movie. Since "Down by law" I'm a fan of Roberto Benigni.

Cem Basman, 2006-01-27

That is a powerful message, one that keeps those people alive and relevant. Thanks for sharing.

Gregg Eldred, 2006-01-27

Hamburg, thank you for this. Impressive.
Cem, thank you for posting about this.

This is a Hamburg only thing? I have never seen it in any German city. Maybe I should look better?


Sander Jonkers, 2006-01-27

... oh, I already see:

"Bis heute hat er über 5500 Steine in 97 Ortschaften verlegt. "

So, 97 different cities.
And apparantly it's a kind of donation system? :

"Für 95 Euro kann jeder eine Patenschaft für die Herstellung und Verlegung eines STOLPERSTEINS übernehmen. Anfragen bitte an"

Do the current inhabitants pay for the Stolpersteine in front of their houses?


Sander Jonkers, 2006-01-27

Am meisten ueber ueber Christian Ude hat mich geargert, dass er gegen die Stolpersteine in der Hauptstadt der Bewegung war. Das werde ich ihm so leicht nicht verzeihen.

Sascha Siekmann, 2006-01-27


And apparantly it's a kind of donation system? Yes, that's right.

Do the current inhabitants pay for the Stolpersteine in front of their houses? No, but they have to give their permission. As far as I know the permission is no problem.

I like the whole idea, the concept and realization very much.

Cem Basman, 2006-01-28

Cem, I'm not sure about the permission. AFAIK there have been cases where the inhabitants have voted against the Stolpersteine in front of their house - for whatever reason.

Oliver Regelmann, 2006-01-28

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