Dear friends of the STOLPERSTEINE,
Gunter Demnig's foundation STIFTUNG – SPUREN – Gunter Demnig has been running and organizing the STOLPERSTEINE / STOLPERSCHWELLE project since January 2015. We're currently working on a website which will provide more information about the foundation. Since the STOLPERSTEINE art project develops daily, there are constant readjustments. Please read the following "Steps" attentively to prevent any misunderstandings.
Steps for laying a STOLPERSTEIN
There are already STOLPERSTEINE in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine.
In April 2017, there were over 61,000 STOLPERSTEINE in about 1200 places in Europe. There are already more than 25 STOLPERSCHWELLE. We continue to receive more and more requests and unfortunately the waiting lists are getting longer.
Download steps as PDF-File: STOLPERSTEINE_STEPS_2017.pdf
- Placing STOLPERSTEINE
- Lecture by Gunter Demnig
- Requests for STOLPERSTEINE outside of Germany
- Contact us
Before a STOLPERSTEIN can be laid, permission must be obtained from the local authorities. In Germany, please request a "Genehmigung für das Verlegen von STOLPERSTEINEN im öffentlichen Raum" ("Authorization for laying a STOLPERSTEIN in the public realm"). Outside of Germany, please contact the mayor and request permission - the success will vary according to the country, sometimes it will be a painstaking process, sometimes be warned that there might not be an answer.
Furthermore, we insist that everything be done to find and inform any living descendants or relatives before a STOLPERSTEIN is laid. They might well want to attend a STOLPERSTEIN ceremony. Alternatively, they might not want a STOLPERSTEIN, in which case none should be placed for their relatives.
It is also advisable to inform the current inhabitants of buildings in front of which STOLPERSTEINE will be laid. This is not compulsory, however, because the sidewalk is usually public property. Nonetheless, it can prevent problems or controversy.
If possible, we encourage involving school children in the process of laying STOLPERSTEINE and carrying out research. Experience shows that there is great interest among young people.
Gunter Demnig’s motto is: ONE VICTIM - ONE STONE. There are no collective STOLPERSTEINE (please see STOLPERSCHWELLE below). This project commemorates all victims of National Socialism - Jews, Sinti, Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled people, people persecuted for their political views, their religion or their sexuality, forced laborers, men considered deserters - anyone who was persecuted or murdered by the National Socialists between 1933 - 1945.
NB: STOLPERSTEINE are not only placed for people who died, but also for “survivors”. For example, in front of a house in Amsterdam, a STOLPERSTEIN might be placed for a woman who survived Auschwitz alongside two STOLPERSTEINE for her parents who did not. This “reunites” families. Stolpersteine can also be placed for people who were able to escape to Palestine or South America or survivors of concentration camps. The project also commemorates those who were forced by the circumstances to commit suicide.
Therefore, please try to find out as much as you can about the families of victims before requesting a Stolperstein.
We also recommend that you to do everything possible to find out as much information about a victim before sending us your proposed inscriptions. Please do not rely solely on information from family members but carry out further research.
Sources of information for research about inscriptions or addresses:
- the International Tracing Service (https://www.its-arolsen.org/english/)
- the Federal Archives of Germany (http://www.bundesarchiv.de/index.html.en)
- the Memorial Book (http://www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch/directory.html)
NB: We consider this a reliable source. Inscriptions for STOLPERSTEINE should tally with the information found in the Memorial Book. If your information does not tally, please inform the Federal Archives. They will do their best to amend their information even if this might not occur immediately.
- Yad Vashem (http://www.yadvashem.org)
- local archives and historical societies
- the Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime (VPN)
- trade unions
- groups and associations for Sinti & Roma
- groups and associations for homosexuals
- groups and associations for Jehovah’s Witnesses
- hospitals can provide information on the Nazis’ euthanasia programs
If possible, STOLPERSTEINE are always placed in front of the last residence of choice - never in front of places that people were forced to move to. Therefore, they should never be placed in front of what the Nazis called “Judenhaeuser” (“Houses for Jews”).
A STOLPERSTEIN usually bears the heading HERE LIVED.
Exceptions might be made if a street no longer exists or if there is a reason for placing a STOLPERSTEIN in front of a place of employment for example. In such cases it might bear the heading HIER LERNTE (HERE STUDIED), HIER LEHRTE (HERE TAUGHT), HIER ARBEITETE (HERE WORKED) or HIER PRAKTIZIERTE (HERE PRACTICED) instead of HIER WOHNTE (HERE LIVED). Sometimes, there might be a case for not having a heading at all.
The following information is required for the inscription of a Stolperstein, insofar it is known or applicable:
- First name, family name and maiden name (NO MORE THAN THREE NAMES)
- Year of birth (not full date of birth)
- Full date of arrest if applicable
- Information about internment in a camp (e.g. Westerbork / Drancy)
- Year (not full date) of deportation to concentration camp (e.g. Auschwitz / Dachau)
- Full date of murder
For Gunter Demnig, everyone who died in a concentration camp was murdered, and therefore the most common “fate” is ERMORDET (MURDERED). FLUCHT IN DEN TOD (FLIGHT INTO DEATH) is used in cases of suicide. The word EMIGRATED is not used, instead ESCAPE, YEAR and DESTINATION are preferred.
If a fate is not known, then the inscription SCHICKSAL UNBEKANNT (FATE UNKNOWN) can be used.
If somebody survived in a concentration camp, then please use the word BEFREIT (LIBERATED) instead of SURVIVED.
Once you have been given a date for the laying of STOLPERSTEINE, please send inscriptions in a WORD document per e-mail to Karin Richert (for Germany) or contact Anne Thomas, who will provide you with a template if they are to be placed outside of Germany. Anne and Karin need to receive inscriptions at least three months before the given date.
You will receive the inscriptions for proofreading before the STOLPERSTEINE are made. If you have any questions, Karin and Anne will gladly advise you.
Gunter Demnig has the final say on inscriptions. The STOLPERSTEINE are a "work in progress" and sometimes there will be changes to wording of inscriptions as the project develops.
As mentioned above, there is already a huge interest in STOLPERSTEINE, which is growing by the minute, and we do our best to accommodate all requests. However, we cannot meet every demand and certainly cannot grant all requests for STOLPERSTEINE to be laid on a particular day.
Gunter Demnig is on the road over 300 days a year and we try to organize his routes as logically as possible, which means that if he has already been in a particular region or country, it might be at least a year before he is able to return.
At the moment, there is a waiting period of at least nine months - sometimes more. In countries such as Poland or France, it is not always easy to obtain permission and therefore the wait can be much longer. The earlier we receive your requests, the earlier an appointment will be given.
Please do not ask for an appointment for STOLPERSTEINE to be placed in Germany unless you already have permission from the local authorities and until you have carried out all the necessary research for the inscriptions.
We try to announce Gunter Demnig’s timetable six months in advance. Once times and dates have been fixed, they still remain subject to change. This might be because of last-minute cancellations or for reasons pertaining to weather or illness. Sometimes, Gunter’s tours have to be re-arranged entirely.
Please be aware that Gunter places STOLPERSTEINE on all days of the week regardless of public or religious holidays - he suggests that people organize unveiling ceremonies on later dates if the laying of a STOLPERSTEINE clashes with a religious holiday.
If you want to place STOLPERSTEINE without Gunter Demnig’s help (NB This is only possible if Gunter has already placed STOLPERSTEINE in a given village, town or city), please expect to wait as Michael Friedrichs-Friedlaender who makes all the STOLPERSTEINE by hand has limited capacity and cannot make more than 450 per month.
4. Placing STOLPERSTEINE
A STOLPERSTEIN is a cube that is 96 x 96 mm big and 100 mm high. A hole should not be more than 12 cm deep.
Gunter Demnig tries to place as many STOLPERSTEINE as possible himself - he ALWAYS places the first STOLPERSTEINE in a new place.
STOLPERSTEINE are never placed on/in a wall but always on a sidewalk - usually directly in front of the entrance or underneath the house number. Gunter usually decides where exactly they should be placed at a given location on the day itself.
Gunter tries to keep families together by placing STOLPERSTEINE for them as a unit - stones for parents will be placed above those for children in this case.
Where possible, please request help from the local building authorities (with preparing the holes or removing rubble for example) well in advance of the given date.
In Germany, help is compulsory. In other countries, it depends on individual situations but it is preferable if there is help on hand.
If there is no help, please ensure that Gunter has access to electricity as well as a pair of extra hands to help remove rubble etc. It makes sense to provide information about the surface where a Stolperstein might be placed in advance if possible. Gunter can then prepare his work more thoroughly.
As a general rule, Gunter needs 20 minutes per address if he has the assistance of the local building authorities (Bauamt in Germany).
When planning his itinerary, please ensure you leave enough time for Gunter to travel from one address to the next.
Please ensure that you have obtained permission for Gunter to park his Peugeot van (BM-GD 678). In Germany, this can be obtained from the Ordnungsamt.
It costs 120 euros (INCL. VAT) to install a STOLPERSTEIN. This includes the making of the stone and its placement or delivery if applicable. It does not include accommodation costs which might sometimes be incurred (especially abroad) nor does it always cover travel costs.
All the STOLPERSTEINE are made by Michael Friedrichs-Friedlaender in Berlin.
STOLPERSTEINE are financed by private donations. Private individuals, institutions, educational establishments, companies, associations or political parties might choose to “sponsor” a STOLPERSTEIN.
We work on a principle of trust. You will only receive an invoice once the STOLPERSTEINE have been laid. Please do not transfer any money before receiving an invoice. Please indicate the invoice number when transferring money.
Karin Richert is responsible for issuing invoices. These are issued after STOLPERSTEINE have been laid. They are written in German.
If Gunter Demnig is timetabled to spend the night in the place where you are laying STOLPERSTEINE, we appreciate it if you reserve and cover the costs of hotel accommodation.
6. Lecture by Gunter Demnig
Upon request, Gunter Demnig will hold a lecture in the form of a PowerPoint presentation about his project. He will talk about his career as an artist from 1968 to now.
A lecture might be organized for the general public and/or for students or schoolchildren or to raise funds to lay STOLPERSTEINE.
Gunter Demnig's fee for a 50-minute lecture followed by a Q&A is 200 euros & 19% VAT.
Sometimes accommodation and/or travel costs will also be incurred.
Please provide a laptop and projector if you arrange a lecture.
7. Requests for STOLPERSTEINE outside of Germany
Anne Thomas coordinates Gunter Demnig's timetable and routes outside of Germany. She is also responsible for the inscriptions for all non-German STOLPERSTEINE. Please contact her with any requests or questions. She is a native speaker of English and French, but you can correspond with her in German or Russian if necessary.
There are certain cases when hundreds or thousands of Stolpersteine would have to be laid in a single place. This being almost impossible, Gunter Demnig has come up with an alternative, the STOLPERSCHWELLE (which can be roughly translated as “Stumbling Threshold”). A STOLPERSCHWELLE can record the fate of a group of victims in a few lines. These are translations of the texts that have been included on Stolperschwellen that have been placed in Germany:
ROECHLING'S IRON AND STEELWORKS 1941 - 1944
FORCED LABOR FOR ULTIMATE VICTORY
THOUSANDS WERE FORCED TO WORK FOR THE GERMAN ARMS INDUSTRY-
MALNOURISHMENT - ABUSE - ACCIDENTS - DISEASE
LEIPZIG-DOESEN SANATORIUM AND NURSING HOME
1933 - 1945
AFTER 1934, 604 PEOPLE WERE SUBJECTED TO COMPULSORY STERILIZATION
624 CHILDREN IN THE "CHILDREN'S SECTION" WERE MURDERED BETWEEN 1939 & 1945
860 DISABLED PEOPLE WERE "TRANSFERRED" BETWEEN JUNE & AUG. 1941
MURDERED IN PIRNA-SONNENSTEIN - 'AKTION T4'
Like a Stolperstein, a STOLPERSCHWELLE is 96 mm wide but can be up to one meter in length. It can hold up to six lines of text.
Like the STOLPERSTEINE, each STOLPERSCHWELLE is made by hand.
9. Contact us
Mobil: +49 - 177 - 206 18 58
Inscriptions, invoices, press photos
Tel.: +49 - 221 - 42 48 077
Appointments and project coordination (for Germany)
Tel.: +49 - 30 - 236 10 366
Appointments, inscriptions and project coordination (outside of Germany)
Übersetzung: Anne Thomas
Berlin, November 2015
Step by step
Photos: Karin Richert
Laying examples STOLPERSTEINE
Please click to enlarge photos.
Laying examples STOLPERSCHWELLEN
Please click to enlarge photos.