Steps towards the installation of STOLPERSTEINE

By December 2013, the project called STOLPERSTEINE will have been realized in approximately 1000 locations with over 43,500 installed stones and many requests for more locations have been made.

STOLPERSTEINE installations are to be found in various locations in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Russia, Croatia, France as well as in Poland, Slovenia, Italy, Norway, the Ukraine, Slovakia, Switzerland and Luxemburg.

Download steps as PDF-File: STOLPERSTEINE_steps_2013.pdf

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1. Filing application

An "Authorization for the laying of STOLPERSTEINE in public space" has to be applied for at the mayor's office or at the city/community council. It is advised to involve archives and historical societies and to enquire about sources. In addition, it is also advisable and useful to enlist cooperation with the VVN (Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes = Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime).
Trade unions can be consulted regarding political victims, churches regarding those religiously persecuted. Other sources that can provide information are associations of the Sinti and Romani people, clubs and assemblies for homosexuals, or victims' organizations of Jehova's Witnesses. Background information on the victims of the so-called euthanasia / murder of the infirm can be found mostly at individual hospitals.

Further information can also be requested

Most of the time, it is not sufficient to formulate the inscriptions from one's personal commemoration books or through information from relatives.

Commitment of schools, as well as participation by students in developing inscriptions and organizing stone layings, is particularly desirable. Experience has shown that there is indeed great interest!

Where there are known relatives, we ask that they be informed prior to the laying of the STOLPERSTEIN. In addition, in some communities the inhabitants of the houses are informed. This is, though, not compulsory since the pavement is city property. However, informing the public can help to avoid controversy.

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2. Inscriptions on the STOLPERSTEINE

a person - a stone - a fate

Each victim receives their own stone. With this project, all persecuted or murdered victims of National Socialism are commemorated: Jews, Sinti and Romani, the politically persecuted, the religiously persecuted, Jehova's Witnesses, homosexuals, the mentally and/or physically disabled, forced laborers and deserters – ultimately all people who had to suffer under this regime.
It is our objective to "lead together" the families in commemoration. Therefore surviving family members are to be involved: for example, children who were able to be brought to safety; youths who went to Palestine; relatives who successfully fled; survivors of the concentration camps and others. Also commemorated are those who because of the pressure of the circumstances at the time took their own lives.
We therefore ask you to submit as comprehensive as possible the family fates for the time spanning 1933 until the end of the war in 1945. It is necessary that the entire family's fate be documented. Please provide details on family members who were deported / murdered as well as those having fled / survived.

We request that you research the correct address for the laying and indicate it along with the inscriptions: if possible, the STOLPERSTEINE should be placed in front of the last self chosen residence – not at the place the victims were forced to move to. And, if possible, not in front of what the Nazis referred to as a "Judenhaus" (Jews' House). Exceptions can be made but must be discussed on an individual basis.

In most cases, the STOLPERSTEIN bears the heading: HIER WOHNTE (here lived). Further possibilities are: HIER LERNTE (here studied) or HIER LEHRTE (here taught); HIER ARBEITETE (here worked); HIER PRAKTIZIERTE (here practised); HIER LEBTE (for example, in case of having been committed to an institution). A stone with no heading is also possible.

The following data need to be researched for the inscription:

  • first name, family name (if applicable, name at birth)
  • year of birth
  • year and place of deportation
  • information on the fate of the individual.

As indication of the fate it is possible to put TOT (dead) or ERMORDET (murdered); for a fate unknown three question marks are used: ??? Instead of suicide we put FLUCHT IN DEN TOD (flight into death). We do not use the term "verschollen" ("missing"), nor the term "TOD" ("Death") since it suggests a natural death. Nor do we use the term "emigration". Instead, the stone will state: FLIGHT + year + the country of destination.

The details are stamped into the sheet of brass as registered upon consultation. 3 months prior to installation of the stone, inscriptions are to be sent to Karin Richert by e-mail as a Word document (continuous text). Before the STOLPERSTEIN is crafted, you receive drafts of the inscriptions for proofreading and correction. In case of questions or doubts concerning an inscription, Karin Richert will gladly advise you. The final decision on the wording of the inscriptions will be determined by Gunter Demnig.

For inscriptions please address yourself to:

Karin Richert
e-mail: inschriften(at)stolpersteine.eu
telephone: +49 – 221 – 42 48 077

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3. Appointments for laying the STOLPERSTEINE

There is great interest in the laying of STOLPERSTEINE and we try to accommodate all requests. However, we cannot meet every desired date.
Currently, you have to count on a minimum six-months waiting period. Please do not reserve a time for a laying until permission by the city / municipality is issued and inscription details for the STOLPERSTEINE have been researched. We try to avoid schedule changes. Please register any possible self-directed layings with Anna Warda as due to our limited work capacity these also need to be included into the schedule plan.

Please understand if on occasion a scheduled appointment needs to be changed. Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided; for example, if locations are cancelled at short notice or if due to weather conditions schedule changes are necessary. As a consequence, in most cases, the entire journey has to be re- planned.
We try to organize Gunter Demnig's laying itineraries as sensibly as possible so that they, as a rule, lead through a region and neighbouring destinations.

When placing an appointment request with Anna Warda, you will initially be given a specific month in which the laying can take place. The exact appointment (date, time and a possible overnight stay) will be issued to you once a tour through the respective country or federal state has been arranged. Karin Richert will clarify the organizational details with you once an appointment has been issued.

For appointment requests please contact:

Anna Warda
e-mail: termine(at)stolpersteine.eu

4. Mounting the STOLPERSTEINE

If at all possible, the stones are laid by Gunter Demnig personally – this is obligatory at the initial laying.

With the assistance or preparation by the city's building authority (Bauamt), Gunter Demnig as a rule needs a maximum of 20 minutes for each mounting of a stone. Travelling times between sites have to be included into the calculation.

During the mounting of the STOLPERSTEIN, a special use authorization for Peugeot Van BM-GD 2710 is necessary. Please apply for this permit at the regulatory agency (Ordnungsamt).

Please direct your request for cooperation or assistance to the building authority prior to the assigned date.

Attendance and assistance of the building authority:

The help of the building authority is now in most cases indispensable. Staff members of the builders' yard (Bauhof) should be present at the initial mounting in order to determine and prepare the sites together with Gunter Demnig. At subsequent mountings the sites can be prepared independently after consultation with Gunter Demnig.

Advance description of the potential sites with specific dimensions is very helpful so that the suitable equipment und the appropriate filling stones as well as other materials can be on hand. Issues of debris disposal should be resolved beforehand.

Preparation by the building authority:

In the preparation by the building authority, it has to be considered that the location for the laying is determined together with the initiators on site!

The STOLPERSTEINE are not placed directly in front of the wall of a building but approximately in the centre of the sidewalk – as a rule, directly in front of the entrance or underneath the sign with the house number. They may also be installed angular with the façade. This is recommended for tarmac surfaces. In these cases, please confer with Gunter Demnig.

The STOLPERSTEINE have the following dimensions: 96 x 96 mm and are 100 mm high. Please allow 5 mm each for the joints (not applicable with concrete pavement). Basically, the excavation for the concrete bed into which the stones are placed should only be 12 cm deep.

Please keep in mind that the STOLPERSTEINE for one family are arranged together – with joints next to each other (spouses) or on top of each other (family/generations). The arrangement is also dependent on the circumstances at the site, i.e. type of pavement, width of the sidewalk, etc.

In case of damage or removal of STOLPERSTEINE, please contact Karin Richert. The stones should be replaced as promptly as possible.

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5. Sponsorships and Costs

Installing a STOLPERSTEIN costs € 120.- which includes preparatory work, crafting and shipping/delivery. The stones are handcrafted by our sculptor Michael Friedrichs-Friedlaender (Berlin).

The STOLPERSTEINE are financed by donations and sponsorships. Sponsorships can be taken on by private individuals, institutions, educational institutions, private companies and associations or political parties.
We work by a principle of trust. It will not be until after the STOLPERSTEINE are laid by Gunter Demnig that an invoice will be issued and sent to you by post. Please do not transfer any money to the account indicated before receiving an invoice.

Prior to the laying, we ask you to provide us with a billing address, but please, only one per location. On the money transfer form, always indicate the invoice number and do not split billing amounts.
Overnight costs incur, depending on the itinerary for the stone laying tour. With an arduous schedule due to long driving distances, a share of the transport costs may be charged. All accounting is processed by Karin Richert.

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6. Conference talk by Gunter Demnig

Upon request, Gunter Demnig will give a presentation talk on "Stolpersteine – Spuren und Wege" (traces and paths) that will provide information on the history of the project. This can be organized for the general public and/or students as well as for the purpose of collecting donations for the laying of STOLPERSTEINE.

In his talk, Gunter Demnig presents his career as an artist and the development of his STOLPERSTEIN project. The duration of the talk is 50 minutes, followed by a round of discussion. Invitations to the local press are recommended.

As Gunter Demnig will hold his conference talk in German only, a simultaneous translation might be necessary.

The fee for a talk is € 200.- + 19% VAT + possible overnight expenses.

The talk will be given as a Power Point presentation. A projector and a laptop are required. The presentation (390 MB) is stored on a USB stick (DVD also available) and would have to be copied onto a hard drive.

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7. Requests for STOLPERSTEINE outside of Germany

Layings outside of Germany are coordinated by Anne Thomas. Please contact her with questions on dates, the organization of a laying or inscriptions. Correspondence can be conducted in the following languages: English, German, French and Russian.

Anne Thomas
e-mail: international(at)stolpersteine.eu

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8. STOLPERSCHWELLEN ("stumbling thresholds")

There are places where hundreds, maybe thousands of STOLPERSTEINE would have to be laid, however, where space is not sufficient or the dimensions would extend beyond all imagination.
On a STOLPERSCHWELLE it can be documented in a few lines what once occurred at this location: for example, in the mental institution in Trier:

VON HIER AUS WURDEN 542 PATIENTEN ABTRANSPORTIERT
3.8.1939 NACH BERNBURG-HAU 8.8.1939 NACH GALKHAUSEN 11.8.1939 NACH ANDERNACH
ERMORDET IM RAHMEN DER AKTION T 4

(From here 542 patients were transported off
Aug 3, 1939 to Bernburg-Hau Aug 8, 1939 to Galkhausen Aug 11, 1939 to Andernach
Murdered in the Action T–4)

The STOLPERSCHWELLE is based on the measurements of the STOLPERSTEINE and can be extended to up to 1 metre in length. Up to 5 lines of text are possible. The mounting is constructed like the STOLPERSTEINE, flush in concrete. Each STOLPERSCHWELLE is individually planned and elaborated.

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9. Contact information

Gunter Demnig
Artist

E-mail:   gunter.demnig(at)stolpersteine.eu
Mobil:   +49 -   177 - 206 18 58
Fax:      +49 - 2234 - 809 73 97

Karin Richert
Inscriptions, accounting, press photos

E-mail:   inschriften(at)stolpersteine.eu
Tel.:     +49 - 221 - 42 48 077

Anna Warda
Appointment requests and project coordination

E-mail:   termine(at)stolpersteine.eu

Anne Thomas
Organization and inscriptions of layings abroad

E-mail:   ausland(at)stolpersteine.eu

Jérôme Heuper
Website maintenance (www.stolpersteine.eu)

E-mail:   kontaktdaten(at)stolpersteine.eu

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Übersetzung: Cornelia C. Walter
Redaktion: Joel-Dennis Bienstock
Berlin, April 2013

Step by step

Photos: Karin Richert

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Laying examples STOLPERSTEINE

Please click to enlarge photos.

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Laying examples STOLPERSCHWELLEN

Please click to enlarge photos.

Foto: Hans Hesse