Ruth Preser


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    Achtung Stolpersteine

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    StolpersteineI am among those who did not notice the Stolpersteine – the stumbling blocks or stones paved  into Berlin’s sidewalks, at the entrances to buildings where Jews and other Others (Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, people with disabilities, communists and other dissidents) used to live prior to their expulsion and extermination between 1933-1945. I’ve heard about them, naturally, but ever since I came to Berlin,  over a year ago, I simply couldn’t trace the Stolpersteine. And then, one day, my younger son stopped and stared at the pavement, and asked, ‘Mom, what’s that?’ And there they were, a few golden stones, remarkably reticent,  the inscription minimal, starting with ‘Here Lived’ followed by name, date of birth, date of expulsion, destination, fate (usually murdered) and date and place of death (if known). ‘Ah!’ I said and stared for a while.

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