Critical Perspectives on Heritage from Below
Edited by Hamzah Muzaini and Claudio Minca
Chapter 7: Stolpersteine and memory in the streetscape
The Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) are small bronze plaques embedded in the pavements of many German cities – they are a purposefully implicit part of the everyday streetscape. Each stone recalls the fate of one person under Fascism; locating this individual’s history at the location of their last known residence in the city. This chapter draws from research conducted in Mitte, Berlin. A key research aim was to observe how the design and spatial orientation of the stones affect their interpretation as sites of memory. Combining participant observation, videography and vox pop interviews, the author examines how the stones ‘exist’ as part of an already heavily memorialised landscape where they are often unnoticed, stepped on, stepped over, or dirtied by a constant stream of foot traffic. The Berliners interviewed identified the small-scale, community-led and individualised aspects of the Stolpersteine project as giving the Stolpersteine a distinct place in the heritage landscape.
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