Sidewalks as memorial monuments

A lot has been written about over 32,000 square brass bricks that are installed on Berlin's sidewalks. These bricks are placed in front of houses in which people used to live in during WWII, before facing deportation to concentration camps. Each brick contains a victim’s name and some other details about him/her. I've seen those bricks also in Düsseldorf and Cologne. Actually, during a visit to Cologne I was wandering around the Roonstrasse Synagogue streets, and saw tens of bricks. It was amazing (and yet shocking, considering what they symbolize). At one point the sidewalk looked completely shiny.

When I notice one of those stumbling stones ("Stolperstein") I stop for few moments, read the description and move on. I have probably acquired this habit because I'm Israeli and Jewish.

During one of my visits to Berlin, I stumbled upon another brick. I stopped, and read it:

 
Here lived / Viktoria Kanafa / year of birth 1895 / Murdered 1940 / Place / Unknown

Here lived / Viktoria Kanafa / year of birth 1895 / Murdered 1940 / Place / Unknown

 

This stumbling stone is installed in front of the "Hermann Hesse" high school in Kreuzberg district. It was lunch break, and few 14-years-old girls were sitting and chitchatting outside the school, right by the brick. At one point one girl saw it, and asked her friends what it is. One of them replied: "It's a memorial monument for a Jewish woman that lived here and was murdered by the Nazis". Then they continued to talk about teenagers stuff.

It was short but powerful. The memorial monument achieved its goal.

Hermann Hesse High School in Kreuzberg, Berlin

Hermann Hesse High School in Kreuzberg, Berlin

(Images: Lior Steinberg)


Written by Lior Steinberg. Follow him on Twitter and .