Munich ban on Holocaust memorial plaques ‘may be overturned’

January 21st, 2015

The scheme, started in 1996 by a German sculptor, has spread across Europe and there are now 50,000 stumbling stones in more than 1,000 cities from France to Russia, prompting claims it is the largest memorial in the world.

Now that ban may be on the verge of being overturned, according to a report on The Local website.

A new mayor elected last year, Dieter Reiter, is in favour of allowing the stumbling stones, and a local initiative to bring the memorials to Munich led by Terry Swartzberg, an American Jew living in the city, believes it has enough votes on the city council to have the ban reversed.

Opposition to the stumbling stones in Munich has come from an unexpected quarter: the elected leader of the city’s 4,000-member Jewish community, 82-year-old Charlotte Knobloch, herself a Holocaust survivor.

“People murdered in the Holocaust deserve better than a plaque in the dust, street dirt and even worse filth,” she said in a statement.

But support for the stumbling stones appears to be growing in Munich, with other Jewish residents and Holocaust survivors coming forward to say they want the memorials.

Gunter Demnig, the sculptor behind the stumbling stones, said he got the idea when he heard an elderly German woman at the unveiling of another memorial deny any Holocast victims had lived in the area.

“I called them stumbling stones because it would make people who came across them pause from their everyday lives and remember that an individual killed by the Nazis once lived at that address,” he said.

World War Two

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