Stumbling Stones/Stoplersteine Memorials

To remember. Read their names.

As I was photographing one of these brass Stolpersteine, an elderly man came up to us and said in German “it’s important to remember the bad things that happen.”

Artist Gunter Demnig creates the Stoplersteines  and personally places them in the sidewalks, using a small trowel, in front of the residences where individuals and families were taken by the Nazis. They all say “here lived_______” , their name and their dates and the location where they were murdered.

Writer Megan King says in her article https://theculturetrip.com/europe/germany/articles/the-deeper-meaning-behind-berlins-brass-cobblestones/ “These cobblestone plaques that bear a tragic chapter of German history are the open-ended project first initiated in 1996 by the German artist Gunter Demnig. Not only is their message one of remembrance and of personalising the victims by honouring their names, but their purpose is also thought-provoking, aiming to initiate discussion and stimulate thought.”

(Link to another post about the Stolpersteine remembrance project)


The last photo taken at night illustrating how the light catches the brass plaques. Here are a few of the thousands of stolpersteines placed in Berlin but the project has expanded to other countries as well.

Dedication of “Keeping Tabs – A Holocaust Sculpture”- Pittsburgh PA

Sunday afternoon was the official dedication of the Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt  Keeping Tabs- A Holocaust Sculpture at the Community Day School at the corner of Beechwood Boulevard and Forward Ave.   The sculpture is a maze in the shape of the Star of David, created with glass blocks which are filled with six million pop tabs which took almost five years to collect , each tab representing a human life lost in the Holocaust.  Many people contributed time, money and effort to the creation of the sculpture and the  beautiful surrounding park.  Walking into the maze, one is struck by the magnitude of the horror of genocide, the number of victims is hard to fathom but the pop tabs in the glass blocks are a reminder of the millions killed.

The resident artist, Elena Hiatt Houlihan has been with this project since 2002.  Pop tabs were being collected since 1996 and Mr. Walter the History Teacher at Community Day School had aquariums filled with them when Elena arrived to help the student teams design the sculpture. Their original artist statement was read by her at the dedication ceremony today.

Elena had been a resident artist at Greenfield Elementary when I was the art teacher there and I remember her talking about the ongoing work of this sculpture and then funding and other circumstances delayed the completion.

It was a beautiful Autumn afternoon and there were speeches and prayers and an 8th grader played the violin.  A chill wind and shadows gave one a shudder and reminded those present of the significance of the memorial sculpture.   Never Forget.

Keeping Tabs Memorial (1)

I went up earlier in the day to photograph the memorial sculpture before all the people arrived.

Keeping Tabs2

Keeping Tabs close up

program

Violin Player

Bill WalterReceiving a standing ovation,  Mr. Walter comes to the podium to speakElena and Mr. WalterArtist in Residence Elena Hiatt Houlihan and  Social Studies Teacher Mr. Bill Walter who started the collection of the pop tabs when he was teaching the Holocaust to middle school students at Community Day School.

bill walter on Channel two

Elena and friends and family (1)

Article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the Keeping Tabs Memorial Sculpture Dedication, this time including Elena Hiatt Houlihan’s name

Keeping Tabs Memorial

One of the many many stones and bricks donated,
One of the many many, memorial stones and engraved bricks. each representing the accumulation of many donations, small, medium and large. I chose this one to photograph because for the inscribed words about “generations never born”- that message struck me.

Pop Tabs in Glass Blocks

filling the last blockThis block will be used for educational presentations.  I put a tab in and then asked the next woman if I might photograph her doing so and she agreed.