Stolpersteine in Mannheim

Stolpersteine have existed in Mannheim since 2007 to commemorate victims and persecutees of National Socialism. The Stolpersteine are a project of the Cologne-based artist Gunter Demnig that has been in existence since the 1990s. To date he has produced over 75,000 of these commemorative signs and laid them throughout Europe. The square brass plaques embedded in the sidewalk are usually laid in front of the last freely chosen home of people who were persecuted, humiliated, expelled, deported, murdered or driven to suicide by the National Socialists between 1933 and 1945.

In Mannheim, the Stolperstein-laying ceremonies are organised by a civic working group, which includes several individuals, groups, organisations and associations under the leadership of the NaturFreunde Mannheim, such as the Working Group Justice and History of National Socialism in Mannheim (AK Justiz), the Association of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime - Association of Anti-Fascists Mannheim (VVN-BdA), the Free Religious Community or the DGB. The MARCHIVUM supports the project Stolpersteine scientifically and organisationally.

The initiative to lay a Stolperstein sometimes comes from the working group itself, but often also from relatives or descendants of Nazi persecutees, from schools, associations, organisations, parties and religious communities, as well as from private individuals. Mostly these also take over the "sponsorship" for the respective Stolperstein.

Each year, usually on at least one day, several Stolpersteine are laid by Gunter Demnig in Mannheim. The installations are public events with short speeches on the biography of the person in question, sometimes with musical accompaniment, a minute's silence, prayers, laying of flowers or other forms of commemoration.

To date (as of October 2021), there are 191 Stolpersteine in the Mannheim city area. The majority (135 stones) commemorate Jewish victims and persecutees, 30 Stolpersteine memorialize political NS-opponents and persons of the resistance (including members of the "Lechleiter group"). In addition, there are three Stolpersteine in front of the Lauersche Gärten for Hermann Adis, Adolf Doland and Erich Paul who were executed for raising the white flag on March 28, 1945, one day before the invasion of the US Army. Eight Stolpersteine were laid in memory of forced labourers and prisoners of the Sandhofen concentration camp, seven in memory of people who were branded and persecuted as "asocials" or sentenced to death by the Mannheim Special Court for petty offenses as "Volksschädlinge". Six stones are dedicated to victims of the National Socialist "euthanasia" program ("T 4"), another Stolperstein commemorates Ilse Klußmann who was forcibly sterilised in 1936. In F 4, 17 there is also a stone in memory of Herbert Klingmann who was persecuted because of his homosexuality and died in the Dachau concentration camp in 1940.