Please note that we cannot organise any more Stolperstein-laying ceremonies before 2020.
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, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine. In 2017, a STOLPERSCHWELLE was placed in Argentina. Next year, Stolpersteine will be installed in Sweden and Denmark.
In August 2018, there were almost 70,000 STOLPERSTEINE in almost 2,000 places in Europe. There are also 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 ENGLISH STEPS_092018.pdf
- Inscriptions on the STOLPERSTEINE
- Appointments for placing STOLPERSTEINE
- 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 or the local authorities 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.
In Germany, the laying of STOLPERSTEINE is often organized by local associations. We ask them not to request family members of victims to pay for the laying of STOLPERSTEINE. If at all possible, the costs should be covered by other sponsors. If family members insist on paying, nothing can be done against this. Unfortunately, outside of Germany there are not always the same sponsors and, therefore, it is currently usually the case that costs are covered by those who request STOLPERSTEINE even if these are the family members themselves.
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/or physically disabled people; people persecuted for their political views, their religion, their sexual orientation or the color of their skin; forced laborers; men considered deserters; people who were persecuted on grounds that they were “asocial” such as homeless people or prostitutes – anyone who was persecuted or murdered by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 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 for example, or for 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.
Inscriptions are in the language of the country in which they are being placed.
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.
If there are several requests from a certain village or town, it is easier for us as a team to communicate with ONE PERSON ONLY. If you are communicating with us, please make clear which municipality you are writing about (not the wider region or district - if there is a possibility of confusion, please always give precise details.
We try to announce Gunter Demnig’s timetable six months in advance. Once times and dates have been fixed, they remain subject to change. This might be because of last-minute cancellations or for reasons pertaining to weather, illness or production. Sometimes, Gunter’s tours have to be re-arranged entirely. Although we do our best to meet all requests, we reserve the right to postpone or cancel the installation of STOLPERSTEINE in case of emergency.
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.
Gunter Demnig always places the first STOLPERSTEINE in a new village, town or city. However, once STOLPERSTEINE have been placed in a given village, town or city, it is sometimes possible to organize installations without him. These are called Gemeinschaftsverlegungen (community installations).
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 be prepared to wait as Michael Friedrichs-Friedlaender, who makes all the STOLPERSTEINE by hand, has limited capacity. We would appreciate it if the organizers of community installations of STOLPERSTEINE would send us pictures of the event afterwards. Please send pictures to Karin Richert.
4. Placing STOLPERSTEINE
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. 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.
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 from the local authorities, 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).
Gunter Demnig can place STOLPERSTEINE in up to 12 addresses (maximum) per day. 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 (VB – GD 2710). In Germany, this can be obtained from the Ordnungsamt.
The STOLPERSTEIN team does not organize ceremonies or programs to accompany the installation of the STOLPERSTEINE. If you do plan such a program, please do not wait for Gunter Demnig to have finished placing the STOLPERSTEINE. Please bear in mind that he often has to go to the next place and might not have time to attend the whole ceremony or listen to long speeches.
If a STOLPERSTEIN is stolen or damaged, please contact Karin Richert (for Germany) or Anne Thomas (for outside of Germany). Everything will be done to replace the STOLPERSTEINE as soon as possible.
It costs 120 euros (incl. VAT) to install a STOLPERSTEIN. This includes the making of the stone and its placement or delivery if applicable, as well as its recording in our database. It does not include accommodation costs which might 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 would 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 onwards.
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. Gunter Demnig speaks in German. If necessary, please provide simultaneous translation.
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.
For STOLPERSTEINE outside of Germany, please be aware that you might have to wait for a year or two before obtaining an appointment.
8. Educational concepts
We have welcomed the interest of schoolchildren in the STOLPERSTEINE project for years. Thanks to active teachers and classes, the project is growing on a daily basis. Gunter Demnig’s new foundation will provide more support for school projects. We can help with research and give advice as to how to organize ceremonies that involve schools. We can also provide educational materials and put schools in touch with each other. Please contact Katja Demnig if you have any questions about school projects.
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
(Placed in Völklingen, 2014)
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'
(Placed in Leipzig, 2016)
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.
In 2016, we started working on a database for all the STOLPERSTEINE which is due to go online at the end of 2018. Our goal is to provide as much information as possible about the inscriptions of STOLPERSTEINE and about the lives of the victims for which they are placed, as well as photos. There will be a map and search function to help users find STOLPERSTEINE online more easily. If you have placed Stolpersteine before, we would appreciate your help in compiling the content for our database. If you have any information about previously- laid STOLPERSTEINE, please contact Katja Demnig: datenbank(at)stolpersteine.eu
11. Sponsors and donations
Stolpersteine in Germany are usually financed by sponsors. If you would like to sponsor a STOLPERSTEIN in Germany, please get in touch with the appropriate association (See CONTACTS page on our website).
It is of course also possible to support our project and foundation by making a donation, for which we are always very grateful. We can only issue receipts for non-binding donations.
Bank details for the foundation “Stiftung – Spuren – Gunter Demnig”:
|Bank:||Volksbank Köln Bonn eG|
|IBAN:||DE91 3806 0186 4518 0470 14|
|Reason for payment:||Donation for Stiftung-Spuren-Gunter Demnig|
12. Contact us
Mobil: +49 - 177 - 206 18 58
Inscriptions, invoices, press photos
Tel.: +49 - 221 - 42 48 077
Appointments and project coordination (for Germany) & PR
Cell phone: +49 - 176 - 31773607
Appointments, inscriptions and project coordination (outside of Germany)
Translation: Anne Thomas
Berlin, May 2018
Step by step
Photos: Karin Richert
Laying examples STOLPERSTEINE
Please click to enlarge photos.
Laying examples STOLPERSCHWELLEN
Please click to enlarge photos.