German artist Gunter Demnig puts three 'Snublesten', or Stolpersteine, in front of the Synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, June 17, 2019. A stumbling block is a memorial stone laid in the pavement next to houses where victims of Nazism had their homes.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A memorial honoring Danish Jews deported to concentration camps during the Holocaust has been inaugurated in Copenhagen.
On Monday, German artist Gunter Demnig laid the first stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) in Copenhagen, which are also the first to ever be installed in Denmark.
Demnig first dreamed up the now-famous memorial in 1992, and the first such stones were placed in Austria in 1997. Today thousands of the blocks – each 10x10 cm. and bearing the name of a victim of the Holocaust and placed outside their former home – have been installed across Europe.
“The first of 12 stolpersteine were placed today by the Jewish Community in Copenhagen to commemorate the victims of Nazi occupation and persecution during [World War II],” the Israeli Embassy in Denmark tweeted on Monday.
According to The Copenhagen Post, “Demnig himself will be in the Danish capital this week to place the stones at locations” across the city. The artist, 71, said he makes it a point to always be present for the installation of blocks in a new city.
Each brass-plated concrete plaque is engraved with the phrase “Here lived,” followed by the name of the Holocaust victim, his birthday, the date of his arrest and/or deportation, and fate, if known. The engravings are written in the native language of the country in which they are placed.
To date, more than 70,000 “stolpersteines” have been installed in more than two dozen countries. Earlier this month, 68 more plaques were installed outside a high school in Thessaloniki, Greece, joining 81 already placed there in 2015. Those plaques commemorate the 149 students of the school who were deported to Auschwitz. Only six survived.
“The National Socialists wanted to exterminate people, turn them into numbers and erase their memory,” those behind the project wrote on the official Stolpersteine website. “Demnig wants to reverse this process and return individual names to places where people once lived.”
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