Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Stolpersteine in Horazdovice

Stolpersteine, or "stumbling blocks" are cobblestone-like memorials for individual victims of Nazism that are placed outside the last known residence of the person to whom the memorial is dedicated. The creator of this project is Gunter Demnig - do visit his website.

At the MST we love to hear about the different activities in which our scroll-holders take part that concern our scrolls and the communities whence they came. This past weekend (14th September) was the culmination of many months of work by the Westminster Synagogue Scrolls Committee in London. Their synagogue cares for MST #931 from Horazdovice, and has chosen to sponsor Stolpersteine in memory of the Jews from this Bohemian town.

Starting with the first names on the lists of Jews transported to the concentration camps, Stolpersteine for members of the Adler family:

Jakub Adler
Jindriska Adlerova
Ota Adler
Ruzena Adlerova
Zikmund Mautner

were set into the pavement by Herr Demnig (in the hat) and his assistant.

On his website, Demnig "cites the Talmud saying that 'a person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten.' The Stolpersteine in front of the buildings bring back to memory the people who once lived here. Each 'stone' begins with HERE LIVED ... One 'stone'. One name. One person."

Westminster Synagogue members Liliane Fredericks (whose photographs these are) and Cynthia Landes were proud to represent their community in Horazdovice as they stood outside the former Jewish home and witnessed the final piece of a project into which so much care and work have been invested.

It is said that before the Shoah there was a custom in parts of Germany for non-Jews to say when they tripped over a protuding stone "Da liegt ein Jude begraben", i.e., 'there must be a Jew buried here'. Demnig has taken this less than pleasant idiom and created an incredible monument of over 40,000 stones that remind us of all those who have no grave to mark their unjust death.

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