On my walk home from university the other day, I came upon these Stolpersteine – “stumbling stones” – which are brass cubes laid among the cobblestones in remembrance of the Holocaust victims who once lived in various places throughout Europe.
To date more than 75,000 of these mini memorials have been laid throughout the continent.
When I tried to search the names on the stones that I had seen, I found several news articles reporting that these stones had been stolen and then replaced.
To see stones that say, “Here lived [name]/Born/Arrested/Assassinated” is jolting. These are the sparse details that chronicle so many lives.
Several of those who are commemorated by the stones I passed were killed in the Fosse Ardeatine massacre. The recitation of the names of all of the victims of this massacre each year on the anniversary has been called “a roll call of the dead.”
Such memorials can be as subtle or as provocative as the passers by are sensitive.