“Stolpersteine”

Gunter Demnig

The German artist Gunter Demnig wanted to call attention to the victims of Nazism by memorializing the places where they lived before they were killed. Since 1993, Demnig has installed 48,000 small memorial plaques into pavements in 18 European countries through his project Stolpersteine (which is German for “stumbling stones”).


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  • Snublestener, Gunter Demnig. Photographer: Bjarte Bruland
  • Snublestener, Gunter Demnig. Photographer: Bjarte Bruland
  • Snublestener, Gunter Demnig. Photographer: Bjarte Bruland
  • Snublestener, Gunter Demnig. Photographer: Bjarte Bruland
  • Snublestener, Gunter Demnig. Photographer: Bjarte Bruland
  • Snublestener, Gunter Demnig. Photographer: Bjarte Bruland
  • Snublestener, Gunter Demnig. Photographer: Bjarte Bruland
  • Snublestener, Gunter Demnig. Photographer: Bjarte Bruland
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About the project

About the project

“Stolpersteine”

About the project

 

Each Stolperstein (no: snublestein) consists of a small brass plaque measuring 10 cm x 10 cm that is engraved with the person’s name and the dates of his or her birth and death. The plaque is installed in the pavement outside the place where the person lived before he or she was deported and killed. These victims could be Jews, Roma, political dissidents, homosexuals or Jehovah’s Witnesses. The artist undertook the project as a means of highlighting where the victims of Nazism had lived before they were killed. Pedestrians who stop to examine the memorial plaques realize that Nazi atrocities were committed not only in non-specific locations, but also in their own neighbourhoods. These discreet markers imbue history with a sense of immediacy and proximity. They are reminders that the people who died were ordinary people whose homes were on that street: mothers, fathers, teenagers and young children.

Gunter Demnig, who was born in Berlin in 1947, has been motivated by a desire to preserve the memory of the people who disappeared. Most of these people lived harmoniously alongside their neighbours until 1940, when they were forcibly removed. Demnig’s background is as a performance artist, and his installations of the “stumbling stones” started as an illegal street action in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood of Berlin in 1993. The project was controversial, partly because the present-day inhabitants did not want to be reminded on a daily basis of the gruesome events that had taken place in their neighbourhood. Another objection was that people treading on the stones would be dishonouring the dead.

Demnig installs all the plaques personally, and considers it important that the project differs from traditional memorials. The installations are performative events, accompanied by music or the reading of a text. The installation ceremonies vary according to factors such as the choice of music and the people participating – and whether passers-by stop to join in.

The Jewish Museum in Oslo took the initiative to bring the project to Oslo. On 30 August 2010, Gunter Demnig installed the first 19 stumbling stones in Norway in the pavement outside no. 15 Calmeyers Gate in Oslo, along with a stone for Ruth Maier in Dalbergstien. Of the 28 tenants living in no. 15 Calmeyers Gate, 19 were deported and killed during the deportation of the Jews in the autumn of 1942.

A person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten. – Gunter Demnig

The Jewish Museum in Oslo maintains a database of victims of the Holocaust. The database is updated and corrected on an ongoing basis. It also contains precise information about the victims’ addresses at the time of their arrest and deportation. The Stolpersteine project commemorates Jewish and other victims, and the Norwegian Resistance Museum has selected political prisoners who died as a result of Nazi atrocities for commemoration with memorial plaques.

 

Facts

Facts

Address

Calmeyers gt. 15 og Dalsbergstien i Oslo

Artist
Date completed

15.10.2014

Building owner/developer

Bjarte Bruland

Project partner

Jødisk Museum Oslo
Oslo kommune

Art adviser

Bo Krister Wallström

Program

Art scheme for outdoor public spaces (URO)

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