Kuper Stumbling Stones (Disneyland…)

stumblingstone.jpgThe Stumbling Stones are 10×10 centimeter concrete stones with a brass plate on top.  The brass plate lists the name, date of birth, and place of the decease of a Holocaust victim.

A review of the maps provided in Traces of War highlights several key points:

  • Amsterdam has the largest number of Stepping Stones in Holland.  This is not surprising since 3/4 of Amsterdam’s Jewish population (of 80,000) was killed by the Nazis in concentration camps.
  • The largest concentration of Amsterdam’s Stepping Stones is found in the old Jewish quarter.  This is around Central Amsterdam, on the East side of the Amstel. This is also not surprising since it precisely matches the map created by Amsterdam’s Bureau of statistics that provided an inventory of Amsterdam’s Jewish population.  This map, which we saw in Feddes’ Millenium of Amsterdam, was used by the Nazis to round up Amsterdam’s Jewish population.  In this case, the Dutch’s propensity to formulate and follow a plan provided the Nazis with a roadmap to round up the Jewish people.

I feel that these Stepping Stones provide an important and successful memorial to those murdered in the Holocaust.   It is successful because it reminds us that these victims were real humans- just like us.  Importantly, this display is very public.  It serves to remind us of what happened in the Holocaust. This is in stark contrast to the secret monuments which will serve no purpose because they will never be seen.

In Kuper’s AJAX The Dutch, The War:, we learned that antisemitism is on the rise in Holland.  This is evident by antisemitic chants at soccer games.  Public displays of these memorials are critical to ensure that something like the Holocaust will never happen again.


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