‘Where are memorials to remember perpetrators of the Holocaust?’

Charlotte Knobloch, the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and current head of the Munich Jewish community, has long opposed the stumbling block memorials.

Parts of the Holocaust memorial project "Stolpersteine" (stumbling blocks) are pictured in Berlin, Germany, August 18, 2017.  (photo credit: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE)
Parts of the Holocaust memorial project "Stolpersteine" (stumbling blocks) are pictured in Berlin, Germany, August 18, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE)
In a commentary section, Germany’s top-selling newspaper Bild asked where are the stumbling block memorials – originally designed for the victims of the Holocaust – to remind Germans of the perpetrators who committed crimes against Jews during the Holocaust.
The article was written by Filipp Piatov on Thursday, a day before Germany commemorated the Jewish victims of the November pogrom against its Jews in 1938.
“Who wants to fight against forgetting and repression, like the creator of the Stumbling Block, cannot suppress the perpetrators. The victims of the Shoah are not a mystery to posterity. It is the perpetrators who have done the incomprehensible. They are behind every stumbling block,” wrote Piatov.
The Cologne-based artist Gunter Demnig started the Stolperstein (stumbling blocks) plaques that appear across Germany and are embedded into sidewalks. The plaques are located in the front of the homes of German Jews with their names, dates of birth and death and the names of the extermination or concentration camp they were deported to.
Piatov wrote that the traditional “stumbling block reveals that everyone should know where the family Rosenthal lived, who were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943 and murdered there. However, where did their murderers live? Where are their stumbling blocks?”
The journalist added that the “highly praised remembrance culture must offer more than a good feeling,” adding that the collective memory in Germany devoted to the Holocaust must prevent politicians from using stumbling blocks to showcase their fight against antisemitism and present it in a misleading way.
“Above all, it must prevent that you do not see the perpetrators because of the victims,” wrote Piatov.
Charlotte Knobloch, the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and current head of the Munich Jewish community, has long opposed the stumbling block memorials and called them an insult to the victims. Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor, said it is “intolerable” for passerby to step on the names of Jews that were murdered in the tragedy.
A cofounder of the memorial in the city of Kassel, declared at an antisemitic demonstration in 2014 that “death is a master today from Israel” and that he wished that there would be “stumbling blocks” for Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces. There have also been anti-Zionist sentiments from the co-founders of the Munich stumbling blocks initiative.
In 2016, the NGO Respect and Remember Europe, which was founded by Munich-based photographer Gabriella Meros, presented a prize for international artists to counter the stumbling block memorials.
Meros, a German Jew, is a sharp critic of the stumbling block project.


Tags pogroms