NS-Documentation Centre Krefeld and Villa Merländer e.V. Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse 42 47799 Krefeld Phone: +49 2151 86 19 64 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Against forgetting. The artist Gunter Demnig commemorates the victims of the Nazi era by placing brass plaques in the pavement in front of their last self-chosen place of residence. Meanwhile, Stumbling Stones are located in 1265 municipalities in Germany and in 21 European countries. The words "lived here" are always written on them. Because there, where the memory is kept alive, a person is not forgotten. At the same time, the Stumbling Stones reflect the most important dates of life and fates: A Stumbling Stone reveals when a person was born, the respective reason for persecution and, if applicable, when he or she died.
Not only Jewish victims of the Holocaust are commemorated with the Stumbling Stones, but also Sinti and Roma, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, the mentally and physically ill and people who were persecuted because of their political views or because their life plan did not fit into the world view of National Socialism.
The Villa Merländer-Verein has been involved in the artist's action for many years and not only looks after the laying of the stumbling blocks, but also takes care of the financing through the acquisition of donations, public relations and the care and maintenance of the stones.
Started in 1996 in Cologne, more than 70,000 Stumbling Blocks have been laid in the meantime. Of these, more than 150 brass plates have been laid as stumbling blocks in Krefeld since 2006. The road to this has not been an easy one, because especially in the first few years the project had to struggle with great resistance, especially from the political side. The first stumbling block was initiated in 2003 by the Rheinische Schule für Körperbehinderte Krefeld (Gerd-Jansen-Schule) as part of a competition organized by the Federal Agency for Civic Education. A little later the Kurt-Tucholsky-Gesamtschule also took the initiative and set a stone.
In 2005, the decision on stumbling blocks was brought to the council meeting in Krefeld: the council surprisingly rejected the project. The Stumbling Stones then developed into a matter close to the hearts of many people in Krefeld. On the initiative of the survivors Dr. Ruth Frank and Ilse Kassel as well as students and their teachers from the Kurt-Tucholsky-School, 14,000 signatures were collected for the implementation of the project. The then Lord Mayor Gregor Kathstede reached a compromise: if the house owners did not expressly oppose a stumbling block and relatives of the victims had no objections, stumbling blocks could be laid from now on. Since then, the Villa Merländer Association, especially board member Sibylle Kühne-Franken, has been in charge of laying and coordinating the Stumbling Stones in Krefeld and has been responsible for coming to terms with the individual fates of the Nazi victims.
If you are thinking of creating a stumbling block, you will find the organisational framework for this below:
For the laying of a stumbling stone 120€ expenses are incurred. The initiative for laying a Stumbling Stone can come from different actors: For example, the descendants of the victims who contact the NS-Documentation Centre or the Villa Merländer e.V., citizens of the city, schools that work with the culture of remembrance or associations or institutions that want to set an example against forgetting. The NS-Documentation Centre then clarifies all the historical background for the stones to be laid and maintains contact with the initiators. The Förderverein Villa Merländer e.V. clarifies all organizational questions with the city of Krefeld and the Demnig office. We will announce the date of the laying as early as possible. All donors will of course be invited personally.
Would you like to participate in the laying of the next stumbling blocks in Krefeld? We are pleased about direct donations under the keyword "Stolpersteine" to
Villa Merländer e. V.
IBAN DE76 3205 0000 0000 3438 06
In the geoportal of the city of Krefeld the stumbling blocks can also be experienced interactively online. With a click of the mouse, pictures, biographical texts, Wikipedia information and other factual information such as victim group and place of deportation can be found. It is also possible to search specifically for the names of the victims or the addresses of the Stumbling Stones. A query tool allows different filtering of the stumbling blocks, for example only displaying stumbling blocks of resistance fighters. The query tool also helps to answer initial spatio-temporal questions such as "Show me all stumbling blocks whose victims were deported to Buchenwald in 1937".
Would you like to ask for more information about the Stumbling Block Project or individual stories? You are interested in donating? Please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.