Sunday, August 27, 2006

Stolpersteine (Stumble Stones)

Here lived Isidor Rothfels
born 1896
deported 1941
to Minsk
? ? ?

The website Geschichtwerkstatt St. Georg (the St. Georg History Workshop) gives a bit more detail:

Lange Reihe 108
Isidor Rothfels
geb. 5.2.1896 in Bebra [a small city south of Kassel, Germany]
am 8.11.1941 deportiert nach Minsk
verschollen [missing]

This is apparently all that's known about Isidor Rothfels: he was born in Bebra, lived on Lange Reihe in a building where the 1000 Töpfe store now stands -- and he was deported to a concentration camp by the Nazis in 1941.

This Stolperstein is one that I've passed dozens of times -- they're all around the city. If you walk at all here in Hamburg, you can't help but 'stumble' over a few of them.

Take a closer look at the next one you pass. Take a picture of it, post it on your blog, find out what you can about the person named on the stone. And remember -- this was a person, just like you and me. He woke up in the morning, had a bite to eat, went to school or work, talked to friends.... Except the person on your Stolperstein was eventually deemed unfit for 1940s German society -- and was shipped off to a concentration camp somewhere in central or eastern Europe, either to be killed or to go 'missing', like Isidor Rothfels.

The BBC has an article in English about the brass plaques, if you'd like to read more about them.


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