Stumbling Block and Last Address – remembering the past and its victims

In the 1990s, an initiative started in Germany called  the Stolpersteine project. Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) are brass plaques the size of a cobblestone laid into the pavements of German towns and cities, outside the houses where the victims of Nazi atrocities had lived. Each plaque bears the name of the victim as well as the place of their birth and death, where known. Since then, more than 50,000 Stolpersteine have been laid in about 700 towns and cities, across 22 European countries.

I have seen such plaques on visits to Prague and Rome.

This initiative inspired an idea to remember the Stalin era in a similar way. The project is named Last Address. Activists attach small metal plaques to the front of houses or buildings where victims of Stalinist persecutions once lived. The plaques include details about the person who was executed or died in detention: his or her profession, the dates of birth, arrest and death, and in many cases the date of posthumous rehabilitation.

You can learn more about the motivation for such initiatives in this article.


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