Shoah ‘stones’ pop up across Europe

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY TOBY AX­EL­ROD

WHEN COLOGNE artist Gunter Dem­nig in­stalled his first “stum­bling block” Holo­caust me­mo­rial in Ber­lin 17 years ago, he could not have imag­ined that his idea — to place plaques on the pave­ments in front of build­ings that once housed Shoah vic­tims — would spread through­out Ger­many and other Euro­pean cities.

Mr Dem­nig said there were now around 48,000 stum­bling block memo­ri­als ( Stolper­steine) across Europe.

This week, Mr Dem­nig helped in­stall a new brass plaque in the town of Völk­lin­gen, in the state of Saar­land, dedi- cated to all the slave labour­ers forced to work in the Völk­linger Hütte, an iron and steel fac­tory. The fac­tory was es­tab­lished in the mid-19th cen­tury and last used in 1986.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal re­ports, about 100 res­i­dents of Völk­lin­gen turned up for the cer­e­mony, in which an elon­gated brass block was in­stalled in front of the for­mer fac­tory.

Hu­bert Kester­n­ich, a mem­ber of a lo­cal ac­tivist group that co-spon­sored the me­mo­rial, said that between 1942 and 1944, 219 adults and 35 chil­dren died at the fac­tory as a re­sult of mal­nu­tri­tion, dis­ease and the ter­ri­ble work­ing con­di­tions.

Do­na­tions to the project can be made at www.stolper­steine.eu/en. A gift of 120 eu­ros cov­ers the cost of one plaque.

PHOTO: AP

Two of the me­mo­rial plaques

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