First Things First ~ February 2021

by Bradford Mercer

I took this photo of Stumbling Stones (Stolpersteine) in Berlin, 2017. The Schneebaum family was deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. “HIER WOHNTE” means “here lived.” JG is the birth date. “ERMORDET” means “murdered.

Last Wednesday, January 27, was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The day marked 76 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp established by Nazi Germany.

Several years ago Cindy and I came face to face with a sobering reminder of Auschwitz—Stumbling Stones (Stolpersteine). During our stay in Berlin we noticed small brass plates embedded in the walkways all over town. Inscribed on each one of these Stumbling Stones (also called Stumbling Blocks) is a name and date of a victim of Nazi persecution. You will notice in the photograph above that the Schneebaum family was deported to Auschwitz in 1943, where they were murdered. Initiated in 1992 by the German artist, Gunter Demnig, the Stolpersteine project’s goal is to commemorate individuals at exactly their last place of residency or work. There are currently over 13,000 Stumbling Stones in more than 280 countries.
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