Berlin’s Stolpersteine – Remembering in the City




  • Dallas Rogers
  • Berlin’s Stolpersteine – Remembering in the City

Droz_image Oct 2014If you look down at the footpath in Berlin you might see one of over 600 STOLPERSTEINE – Stumbling Stones. Artist Gunter Demnig is placing these small brass plaques in the path of our everyday lives to force us to remember the victims of National Socialism. Demnig’s commemorative brass plaques are embedded in the footpath out the front of each victim’s last known address. Individual and collective memory is important to Deming, who cites the Talmud, saying: “a person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten”.

Dr Danielle Drozdzewski says large-scale public memorials, like the one at ground zero in New York, are important sites of collective remembrance. But Danielle asks us to think about the remembrance of these types of events in the everyday. For Danielle, being forced to step over and look down at a Stolpersteine in the street in Berlin is, perhaps, a more confronting form of remembrance. This is a story about Demnig’s ” Stumbling Stones”, each one starting with a chilling reminder of who “HIER WOHNTE” – who “HERE LIVED”.


Dr Danielle Drozdzewski is a Senor Lecturer at the University of NSW. Her research covers cultural memories and the links between memory and identity. She has explored this theme through research into Polish cultural memory as it has been articulated in public spaces through monuments and memorials, and in private spaces, and between and within generations of Poles in Poland and in diaspora communities in Australia. She is interested in how mobilities affect the transferal and maintenance of cultural memory, and how war and totalitarianism disrupts their transmission in public spheres. Danielle talks to SoundMinds Radio about her current research that is examining how the public interact with Deming’s vernacular memorials in Berlin.


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