Stolperstein #6

Stolperstein

Last spring, I spent two weeks in Germany, a country punctuated by a variety of dramatic historical monuments. Berlin’s monument landscape was particularly rich for me, as my grandmother was German, and spent time in Berlin as a young woman. I stayed in a hotel on Rosenthalerstrasse that happened to be only a few blocks from her employer in the former heart of Jewish Berlin.

I had heard about these small brass cobblestone-sized plaques, called stolperstein (or stumbling stones) created by the artist Gunter Demnig. I had seen them in photographs and read about some of the controversies around their installation and placement. Needless to say, stumbling upon them in a “native” setting was entirely disarming. I found two stolperstein in Koln, and dozens in Berlin, and found myself scanning the sidewalks for evidence of this history of deportation and disappearance.

Librarian and artist living in Eugene, Oregon where it is often damp and always green.