The German town of Plettenberg will receive several new stumbling stones (stolpersteine, in German) erected in memory of Holocaust victims, following the accidental disposal of the symbolic monuments by telecommunications subtractor Deutsche Telekom last spring. The incident occurred after Deutsche Telekom replaced several of the blocks as part of an urban renewal project, then discarding the stolpersteine in a town dump, according to news reports.
The stones were originally donated in 2015 by the trade union IG Metall and students from Gertrud Bäumer vocational college. These particular stolpersteine were installed in memory of the Heilbronn family, a family of five who were tragically deported from Plettenberg in 1942 and murdered by the Nazis. Deutsche Telekom will replace the blocks, at a cost of about $300 each.
Each stolpersteine commemorates a victim or multiple victims of the Holocaust outside their last place of residence. Inscribed on the stones are the names of the victims and the date of their deportation by the Nazis. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, there are around 75,000 memorials across Germany - 13 of which are in Plettenberg- with many more expected to be inserted across the country.
The stolpersteine project was launched by artist Gunter Demnig in 2003 and has so far spread to over 26 European countries. Ahead of this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January, Demnig installed 34 cobblestone memorials at various locations throughout Rome and replaced 20 stones that were stolen.