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Hidden Holocaust Memorials in Budapest - The Stolpersteine

There are a lot of Jewish Heritage Sites in Budapest to discover, among them the biggest Synagogue of Europe in Dohány street, the Synagogues in Rumbach and Kazinczy streets, hidden synagogues and prayer rooms, the Emmanuel Tree and the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park but there are also the REMEMBRANCE STONES which are probably not known by so many people.

Stolpersteine or stumbling stones are commemorative plaques honouring victims of the Holocaust. Each of them are individual featuring the victim's name, date of birth, year of deportation, and cause of death. They are paved into the sidewalk outside the buildings where they once lived. Families are reunited here, they come back and remember.

Did you ever think about , why is it called a stumbling stone? The artist said once about the stone: "You won’t fall, but if you stumble and look, you must bow down with your head and your heart.”

The artist is the german Gunter Demnig. The first art monument was installed in the early 1990s, but the inauguration is made almost always by himself. He insists on checking if the location of the place makes sence. Gunter Demnig works alone, about 50 hours a week. His work is traumatic, each plaque commemorates one's life, sometimes children at very young age, or complete families. It could be really hard to meet every day so sad fates. Friedrichs-Friedländer, his helper said : “If I ever get used to the work, if it ever becomes routine, I’ll stop.”

Gunter Demnig works with a team of six because he has so many orders from all over the world. The sculptor Michael Friedrichs-Friedlaender makes each stone by hand in his Berlin studio.

The project’s motto is ‘one victim, one stone’, referencing a teaching in the Talmud, the book of Jewish law, that ‘a person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten’.

I didn't know that there is 70.000 pieces of these stones around the world and more than 4000 in Hungary. The first Hungarian stumbling stone was placed in Budapest in 2007 in front of 5 Ráday utca in District IX, in memory of Béla Rónai, who died in labor service in 1945. In 2012 somebody has stolen one stone commemorating Magdolna Laub in the 12th disctrict one day after ist installation. There are stumbling stones in almost all districts in Budapest. I think now that I will organize a walk about discovering the remembrance stones in Budapest.

Stolpersteine are placed not only for people, who died but for the survivors or for those who committed suicide during Holocaust.

If you would like to have a Stolperstein placed, you can do it by sending an email to the project team. In generally the waiting period is minimum 9-10 months. Gunter Demnig and his team can produce and install about 440 STOLPERSTEINE per month. Each STOLPERSTEIN is made and stamped by hand by Michael Friedrichs-Friedlaender.

How much does one stone cost? The price is 120 EURO covering the material making and installation, the organisation, advice, research, accompanying of school classes, delivery, as well as the maintenance of a database which stores information about the people the STOLPERSTEINE commemorate, where they have been laid etc. The costs go to Gunter Demnig’s non-profit foundation.

New stumblingstone in Hungary on the 16th May:

A Stoplerstein was laid in Szeged, in Gutenberg Street 18. to commemorate the former leader of the salami factory, Móric Pick. His last known living place was here. He died in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen in 1945.

installed on 16th May 2019
Stolperstein for Móric Pick

You have to know that Gunter Demnig’s timetable for the next months is already full - unfortunately they cannot organize Stolperstein-laying ceremonies before 2020.

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