Diary note 25: Stolpersteine

Berlin, 2 October 2018

Our house next to Savigny railway station had 5 shining copper nails among the cobblestones at the entrance. These ‘Stolpersteine’ are the brainchild of a craftsman or artist not living there, who has produced thousands of them on demand. Each nail represents by name a known victim of terror. Sometimes they are marked by Flucht in den Tod, which I read as suicide out of despair. Most of the memorial pins name the place of the delict: Emordet in Auswitz. Or wherever. With a date. The people killed from our courtyard were mostly family. When one walks past neighbouring houses one reads other names, individually and singularly taken out of their dwellings and killed. These small monuments are not systematic or complete. They have been initiated by interested people and form a kind of scintillating graveyard spread over the city, like a firmament on the floor. These constellations frame the history of the city.