Munich Maintains Ban on Sidewalk Holocaust Memorials
With backing from the local Jewish community, the city council of Munich voted to uphold a ban on the cobblestone-shaped plaques commemorating Holocaust victims, The Local reported on Wednesday.
The decision came after about 100,000 people in the city had signed a petition calling for the lifting of the ban of these “stolpersteine,” or “stumbling blocks,” designed by German artist Gunter Demnig in 1996.
Instead, the city will allow these small commemorations to Holocaust victims on the walls of the houses where the victims once lived, according to the report.
A key opponent of lifting the ban on stolpersteine was Munich Jewish Community President Charlotte Knopbloch, herself a survivor of World War II. She said the engraved plaques disrespected the memories of the dead because every time somebody stepped on them they became defiled.
In January, she told AFP: “People murdered in the Holocaust deserve better than a plaque in the dust, street dirt and even worse filth.”
The decision on Wednesday was apparently a compromise between opponents of lifting the ban, like Knopbloch, and supporters, including Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter and a city cultural adviser, who believed the plaques should have been incorporated into a “network of cultural remembrance.”