Stumbling Blocks

Anyone who has to stumble is - at least for a brief moment - stopped in his or her hasty or heedless way. Since November 2007, brass-coloured "Stumbling Blocks" have been embedded in the Ludwigshafen pavement at many places in the city centre and other districts. But nobody should worry about falling over them. The stumbling blocks are to make passers-by think for a short while, because on their surface are engraved the names and dates of Ludwigshafen people persecuted during the Third Reich. The idea and the concept come from the Köln artist Gunter Demnig, who has brought attention to the fate of forgotten victims in many, many cities in Germany and Europe with public "laying ceremonies".

Ludwigshafen setzt Stolpersteine e.V. ("Ludwigshafen Lays Stumbling Blocks") is a working group of representatives of the City Archives, teachers and other interested people who have taken up this idea. The launch event on 17th April 2007 in the City Museum, and the many Stumbling Blocks laid in the following years, have proved that there is a great interest in the Stumbling Blocks, and that young people especially can be motivated to engage with the stories of Ludwigshafen people who were murdered or expelled by the Nazis. Ludwigshafen setzt Stolpersteine is a project which makes an enduring reminder of their fate. This also includes doing historical research.

Markus Sternlieb, Georg Hüter, Pastor Caroli and Ernst Bloch are names that are also familiar to many present-day Ludwigshafeners. For example, a working group at the Carl Bosch Gymnasium has been able to gain new insights into Jewish teachers and students who "disappeared" during the Third Reich. The first installation with Gunter Demnig in Ludwigshafen took place on November 22, 2007. However, the accompanying series of events had already begun on 22 October - the anniversary of the deportation of the Ludwigshafen Jews to Gurs camp in 1940. Ludwigshafen setzt Stolpersteine meet about once a month in the City Archives to plan and prepare for the events and to research the fates of people. Ludwigshafen's Mayor Eva Lohse has undertaken the patronage for the laying of the Stumbling Blocks. Interested participants are welcome at Ludwigshafen setzt Stolpersteine. ​​ For the many stumbling blocks already laid, sponsors were found; the biographies of the names engraved on them are researched beforehand with the support of all the other participants. Stumbling Blocks are mainly laid in front of the former homes of the victims, and the instigators in Ludwigshafen endeavour to contact both the current homeowners and the descendants of the persecuted former fellow citizens. The organisation Ludwigshafen setzt Stolpersteine e.V. is very pleased to welcome all those who want to participate - with ideas, with donations or with their labour.

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